The effects of dynamic assessment and gender on EFL learners' oral narrative task performance

Leila Ahmadpour, Hassan Asadollahfam


The present study is an endeavor to explore the potential of dynamic assessment (DA) as a way of scaffolding English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ oral production. Although the literature on dynamic assessment is rich with studies focused on language components and skills such as vocabulary, reading, and writing, very few studies have attempted to examine the role of dynamic assessment in fostering real-time oral production. It is assumed that assessment of learners’ oral production need not focus solely on evaluation; rather, learners need to determine their weaknesses and try to compensate for them with the help of a more knowledgeable peer. Therefore, the present study also focused on evaluating the role of DA in Iranian EFL learners’ oral narrative task performances in the classroom. Furthermore, an attempt was made to explore the role of gender in the production of mediated narratives. For this purpose, a total of 60 students from two private universities were assigned to two intact classes: One class served as the experimental group, which was exposed to teachers’ mediation in learners’ narrative productions, and the other group functioned as the control group and received no such mediation for their oral narrative language production. The overall speech quality of learners’ production from each narrative over the treatment period provided the required data. The results were analyzed through independent samples t-tests, which revealed significant effects of both group and gender differences. The experimental learners, as expected, were able to progress and cultivate their oral production abilities after having been exposed to DA. Regarding gender, male participants were more successful in terms of enhanced second language oral production. The study has significant implications for the integration of DA into learners’ oral production, suggesting that EFL narrative production is a skill that is highly anxiety-provoking for learners.


grammar; dynamic assessment; scaffolding; oral narrative tasks; gender

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