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The prospects for assessment for learning in higher education in Asian settings: The case of Vietnam

Nhat Ho, Lenore Adie, and Val Klenowski

International research has found that while Assessment for Learning (AfL) can positively impact on learning, its implementation in different national contexts presents a number of challenges. The integration of AfL in Confucian-influenced settings may be challenged both by traditional beliefs related to the hierarchy of the expert teacher and the passive student and by the dominance of examination-oriented learning. Researchers have now called for different forms of AfL which might be culturally appropriate to local contexts. This research uses a sociocultural lens to analyse the assessment practices of three lecturers in one Vietnamese teacher-training university to explore how AfL might be adapted to Vietnamese higher education. Although tensions emerged that were due to the differences between AfL principles and the sociocultural factors of Vietnamese higher education, it is argued that Vietnamese values such as respect for harmony and hierarchy can be supportive or inhibitive in the use of AfL for enhancing learning. The research suggests that individual teachers, informed about AfL and aware of their sociocultural context, can successfully implement AfL strategies that are situated and culturally relevant.

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