The Use of Dynamic Assessment for Group Learners in the Language Classroom: A Literature Review

Xiaotian Liu


The paper reviews the research on the use of Dynamic Assessment (DA) in the language classroom instruction for group learners. DA assesses learners’ abilities in a comprehensive scope of Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) from one continuum of actual independent performance to the other continuum of potential performance with external support, and DA also sees the external support offered as a driving force of advancing learners’ development within ZPD. With its unique view, DA sheds the new light to the ESL and EFL language teaching and learning, and most DA studies focus on its effectiveness in promoting the development of EFL and ESL learners’ language skills. However, most studies adopt DA in a one-on-one teacher-student model and address DA’s interplay with individuals’ ZPD, which discourages the implementation of DA in the language classrooms with group learners. This paper reviews the existing research on how DA mediates group learners in the language classroom. The review indicates that among the limited research, most studies follow from Group Dynamic Assessment (GDA) and few studies propose alternative DA approaches. All the studies reviewed confirm DA’s effectiveness of promoting group learners’ learning. However, given the dearth of research, it is insufficient to conclude on DA’s mediation of group learners in the language classroom, and more studies are needed.

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