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Volume 18 Number 3, Autumn 2021, Pages 745-1070   

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Assessment Policy in Korean EFL Classrooms: An Ethnographic Exploration of Assessment Planning Practices

    Yunjung Nam

With the emphasis on the teachers' roles as assessors for accountability purposes, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and City Offices of Education (COE) in Korea have started to mandate regulations on assessment in EFL classrooms. However, little is known about how the policy and mandates are being reflected in local schools. This study explored how Korean EFL teachers interpret macro-level assessment policies and create their own micro-level classroom assessment policies as policy agents. Policy documents and teacher-created assessment planning documents were collected and evaluated through document content analysis. The data were triangulated with ethnographic interviews with four EFL teachers. Based on the qualitative analysis of documents and interview data, it was found that Korean EFL high school teachers included information ranging from assessment methods to sample items in their assessment planning document. Also, there seems to be a convergence among the teachers in following the government mandates, yet with variations in the details of assessment methods. Generally, the teachers found it helpful to create assessment planning documents and teachers' assessment expertise was considered as an important factor because teachers act as policy agents to critically interpret policies and creatively adopt relevant elements.

Keywords: EFL, classroom, teacher, assessment, policy, Korea