EFL Teachers’ Epistemological Beliefs and Their Assessment Orientations

Ammar Abdullah Mahmoud Ismail


Epistemological beliefs—beliefs about the nature of knowledge, where it resides, and how knowledge is constructed and evaluated—have been the target of increased research interest lately. Heretofore, emphasis has been directed to language teaching/learning aspects and strategies. Language assessment practices have not yet received due attention in epistemic research literature. The current study examined the relationship between pre-service EFL teachers’ epistemological beliefs and their assessment orientations. Dimensions of epistemological beliefs were assessed via a questionnaire designed and validated by the researcher based on Schommer’s work. Two assessment orientations were examined including: (a) transmissive surface- processing orientation and (b) constructive deep-processing orientation. The study involved 114 preservice EFL teachers enrolled in the Professional Diploma in Teaching Program in the Abu Dhabi University, the United Arab Emirates. Results of the study showed that EFL teachers’ epistemological beliefs have a direct bearing on their assessment orientations and practices. EFL teachers with naive epistemological beliefs tended more to adopt surface-level assessment orientations whereas those with sophisticated epistemological beliefs showed more tendency to adopt deeper level approaches to assessment in language settings. Results are discussed in terms of backwash effects on foreign language instruction, curriculum development, and teacher education. Suggestions for further research are also discussed.



Epistemological beliefs, assessment orientations, surface processing, deep processing

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.6n.1p.99


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