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Dynamic assessment of L2 development:bringing the past into the future

Issue: Vol 1 No. 1 (2004) JAL Vol 1, No 1 (2004)

Journal: Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/japl.v1.i1.49


The present paper outlines a theoretical framework for the application of dynamic assessment procedures to second language assessment and pedagogy. Dynamic assessment (DA) is grounded in Vygotsky’s writings on the zone of proximal development (ZPD) and has been widely researched in psychology and education. DA distinguishes itself from other approaches to assessment by insisting that mediation of the examinee’s performance prompts, hints, leading questions etc. – during the assessment procedure is crucial to understanding his/her abilities and for promoting development during the assessment process itself. In this paper, the major approaches to DA are reviewed and some key studies are reported on. The few language-acquisition DA studies that have been carried out to date are then considered. Th e paper concludes with a discussion of some of the criticisms leveled against DA and recommendations for further research into DA’s potential contributions to applied linguistics.

Author: James P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner

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