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ERIC Number: ED534037
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 170
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-3218-0
Group Dynamic Assessment in an Early Foreign Language Learning Program: Tracking Movement through the Zone of Proximal Development
Davin, Kristin Johnson
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
Although researchers have begun to explore the implementation of dynamic assessment (DA) with foreign language learners, few of these studies have occurred in the language classroom. Whereas DA is typically implemented in dyads, promising research in the field of foreign language learning suggests that DA may promote development with groups of students as well. The present study explored the implementation of group DA in a combined fourth and fifth grade elementary Spanish classroom as students studied interrogative use and formation. After a pre-test determined no student could use and form interrogatives independently, a DA program was designed to provide mediation attuned the zone of proximal development of the group of students as a whole. During this ten day DA program, the development of nine focal students was tracked as they participated in large group and small group instruction. Drawing on sociocultural theory, mediation provided by the teacher and by peers was transcribed and analyzed, as well as students' responses to that mediation. Development was further examined based on students' scores on a post-test, near transcendence task and far transcendence task. Findings suggest that while some students moved from assisted to unassisted performance during large group DA, other students required peer mediation provided during small group work to develop interrogative use and formation. Those students who could perform independently during large group DA acted as mediators during small group work for those who still required mediation. Still other students were never able to use and form questions independently, indicating that interrogative use and formation was not within their zone of proximal development. It was concluded that DA can be integrated into the language curriculum of early language learning programs without the sacrifice of effective language pedagogy. To that end, small group work is an essential complement to large group DA in that it provides students with the opportunity to request mediation, verbalize their thoughts, and provide mediation to their peers. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A