Alternatives in Assessment or Alternatives to Assessment: A Solution or a Quandary

Ali Derakhshan, Saeed Rezaei, Minoo Alemi


The last few years have witnessed the introduction of assessment terminologies into the language evaluation research discussion, elucidating not merely a semantic change but a profound conceptual one, with ‘assessment’ construed to be an overarching term used to refer to ‘all methods and approaches to testing and evaluation whether in research studies or educational contexts’ (Kunnan, 2004, p. 1). Assessment fulfils the criteria for being the cutting-edge topic with which comes a recognition of the need for multiple forms of assessment for gathering information for various objectives in diverse contexts (Huerta-Macias, 1995). However, this paradigm shift exceeds far beyond notions of alternative assessment, alternative assessments and alternatives in assessment (Brown & Hudson, 1998), culminating in alternatives to assessment which regard the language evaluation process as a socially constructed activity embedded in the local context with teachers, students and other community members recognized as meaningful assessment partners (Lynch, 2001; Leung, 2004; Lynch & Shaw, 2005; McNamara & Roever, 2006). This paper tries to elaborate comprehensively on the consensuses and controversies of alternative assessments, alternatives in assessment, and alternative approach to assessment.

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)   E-mail:

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