Adopting a multilingual approach towards comprehension in assessment in Higher Education Institutions in the UK amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

Meletiadou, Eleni (2021) Adopting a multilingual approach towards comprehension in assessment in Higher Education Institutions in the UK amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. In: AEA-Europe Conference 2021, 2-5 November 2021, Online.

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Abstract / Description

The multilingual approach towards comprehension in assessment focuses on the presumption that multilingual learners may face incredible challenges when they are assessed through the English language which is their second or even third language. De Backer et al. (2016) and Menken and Shohamy (2015) also stress the challenges of assessing content using exams with instructions in the target language. Shohamy (2011) reports a study in which students who received multilingual instructions achieved better scores than those who received instructions in the dominant language. The current study used a multilingual approach towards comprehension in assessment as an inclusive strategy for EFL/ESL students within foundation year study. 100 students from different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds took part in the current study at London South Bank University. These were encouraged to translate the instructions of their assignments and use their mother tongue to discuss their assignments with students coming from a similar background. The researcher, who also delivered the Module seminars, acknowledges the importance of students’ using their L1 for assessment purposes. This was also confirmed by several studies which have used translanguaging (Lewis et al., 2012). This is a way of working across languages by using one language for input and another for output. Similarly, in the current context, students were encouraged to use their mother tongue to overcome possible barriers to better comprehend the task they were asked to do. Baker (2011) claims that translanguaging provides many benefits to learners as it can enhance understanding of the subject matter and possibly promote the development of the weaker language. This can increase progress rates from one Level to another in HEI in the UK as due to the massification of HE and alterations to the demographic makeup of the student body in terms of ethnicity, quality of support during the transition period from school to HE is critical to student retention (Pitkethly and Prosser, 2001) and needs urgently addressing. The current study has indicated that the use of translanguaging can increase students’ writing performance and attitudes towards learning as well as support their well-being in HEI amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Recommendations for the successful use of translanguaging in FY courses as well as suggestions for future research will be provided.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: multilingual education; higher education; ethnic learners; multilingual learners; Covid-19 pandemic
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 370 Education
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
Department: Guildhall School of Business and Law
Depositing User: Eleni Meletiadou
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2022 09:58
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2022 10:00

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