On 27th-28th April I had the opportunity to attend the 10th FOAI (Forum on Assessment Issues) event at Eastern Mediterranean University in North Cyprus. FOAI is a platform specifically for representatives from assessment teams of a range of universities in Turkey and North Cyprus to come together to discuss assessment issues in university foundation EAP/preparatory programmes.
The themes of the events are chosen considering the responses of participants to the surveys conducted at the previous FOAI events. And the theme of this event was “Item Writing I: Assessing Language Use”. The event started with a plenary session about the major considerations in writing items to assess language use by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Sıdkı Ağazade. He talked about what should be understood from language assessment and item writing in general. The plenary session was followed by a workshop on item writing guidelines. The workshop generated a meaningful dialogue among the participants concerning the terminology of item writing while assessing language use.
After the workshop, we formed focus groups in which we discussed several questions on assessing language use. Each group focused on a different level:
Focus Group A: Lower Levels (A1-A2)
Focus Group B: Intermediate Level (B1)
Focus Group C: Higher Levels (B2)
On the second day of the event, each group prepared a presentation about the outcomes of their discussions and gave a 15-minute presentation to the whole group. The presentations were followed by a reflection session in which we reflected on our own practices and the suggestions offered. At the end of the event, we discussed the next event’s theme, but we could not reach a consensus on it.
Overall, this event gave me the opportunity to meet other professionals in the field of assessment and learn about the activities and approaches to assessment and evaluation of language use in other programmes. It was great to see that we, as Özyeğin University, are on the right track in terms of using appropriate assessment tasks to evaluate our students’ language use in different levels. Our practices here are in line with both the literature and what is expected in reality.