The emphasis on objectivity and results was expressed

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alike (KU-T2, KU-T3, NKU-T2, NKU-T5). The emphasis on objectivity and results was expressed in the excerpt from a focus group with NKU teachers below: Researcher: Then what do you think formative assessment should be like? NKU-T6: I wonder whether the grades from the process like quizzes should be integrated. That way, the assessment could be more objective. NKU-T5: Sure. NKU-T7: Yes, I think scores from the quizzes, mid-term exam and also the oral test should all be included to make it more objective. NKU-T6: Yeah, all those that make assessment objective. The emphasis on process and objective results as described in the excerpt indicates the teachers’ understanding of formative assessment, which could be more accurately described as progressive mini-tests. Such an understanding reflects cultural and institutional influences as discussed in Section 6.2.1. It also marks a departure from the existing literature on formative assessment – its purposes for ELL and its classroom realisation. The question, which I address in the following section, is how this culturally situated understanding was translated into classroom assessment practices in the two universities. 6.2.5 The role of CET4 The roles that CET4, the external test, played in the two contexts were regarded differently by the KU and NKU teachers. Given the high pass rate of the KU students in the test, the CET4 was seen as having little relevance by KU teachers in terms of measuring and motivating students’ learning. Moreover, because the test had been optional for a decade at KU, the changed status of the test exerted minimal impact on teaching practice, which was largely learning-oriented. The NKU teachers provided a contrasting position. They agreed that the choice of taking the external test should be up to the students . However, they also subscribed to the view that the test was needed for quality assurance and motivation and that the students needed good test results for practical considerations such as employment after graduation. It seems the teachers become very committed to existing practices,
208 Chapter 6: Cross-case analysis particularly those that have lasted for a long time. They accrue value and have an investment in them. Acknowledging the official status of CET4, they recognised the test was still an important benchmark in their teaching practices. The significant role of CET4 was echoed in the three teacher interviews (two individual and one focus group) and illustrated by NKU-T3 below. In my opinion the CET4 is just like a yardstick, which directs both the College English teaching and learning practice. Despite CET4 being disconnected from the qualifications, the mainstream practice remains the same. The teachers’ understanding of the role of CET4 in their teaching appeared to align with the institutional positioning of the test in the policy and relate to their understanding of the needs of the students. The data shows the teachers in the two universities exhibiting totally different views on the role of CET4 which followed through into their orientations to the test in their teaching. Specifically, in contrast to

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