Perspectives on the Cultural Appropriacy of Assessment for Learning in Chinese Context

Ying Zhan, Zhihong Wan


Assessment for learning (AfL) has been advocated by the government and educational agencies in Mainland China since the very beginning of the 21st century. However, its practice in Chinese classrooms is quite weak. Most teachers think that the practice of AfL is unrealistic in the present educational context, where Chinese examination-oriented culture is firmly embedded. The principal focus of this paper is on the cultural appropriateness of the implementation of AfL in Mainland China. The authors first elaborate the features of Chinese examination culture and its impact on teaching and learning and then link Chinese examination culture with AfL to identify the tensions between them. The tensions between AfL and Chinese examination culture include personal development versus competition with others, learning to learn versus rote learning and learning needs versus examination requirements. Finally the authors suggested some appropriate ways to promote the culture of AfL in Mainland China.


assessment for learning, examination culture

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