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The Future is in the Making: A Review of Literature on Dynamic Assessment in Second Language Education



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Jin, Can 


As a newly-introduced perspective and pedagogy in second language (L2) education, Dynamic Assessment (DA) disintegrates the long-standing dualism between instruction and assessment by unifying the simultaneous diagnosis and promotion of learners’ L2 developmental potential during the evaluation process. Aligning with a future-oriented and process-focused vision to achieve educational fairness, DA has been increasingly gaining attention and has ignited much research enthusiasm by both educational scholars and practitioners. However, little has been done to date concerning an up-to-date review of this prospective domain. This article aims to provide a thorough review of the developmental trajectories of L2 DA literature with a dual purpose. First, it seeks to comprehensively tease out the general trends and themes in L2 DA development spanning over 30 years. Second, it endeavors to critically comment on the methodologies and DA approaches employed in different studies to emphasize meaningful advances in the field. In so doing, this article first introduces the key concepts of Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory underlying the DA principle and then provides a review of empirical L2 DA works coded into three themes, i.e., the interactionist DA approach, the interventionist DA approach and the hybrid DA approach, with several sub-themes further added. Summaries and limitations of current L2 DA works are discussed and potential directions for future research are also suggested.



Dynamic assessment, sociocultural theory, second language education, literature review

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CERJ, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

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