Are teachers able to assess themselves accurately? Do they have the right assessment tools to do so? This research paper investigates these questions and takes a closer look at the British Council’s Self Assessment Tool (SAT) for teachers of English.

Teacher self-assessment is one of several options that are available to inform the broader process of teacher evaluation. One benefit of self-assessment is that it involves teachers more directly in teacher evaluation, giving them a greater sense of ownership in the evaluation process and in subsequent decisions about the areas of their work they need to improve.

It is common practice in English language teaching to reflect on your own teaching and assess the success of lessons. It therefore follows that a more general teaching practice self-assessment tool can provide useful insight into teacher development. However, very little research has been carried out on how accurate such self assessments might be.

This latest research describes the development of a self-assessment tool based on the British Council’s Continuing Professional Development Framework for teachers. The tool is part of an approach to the professional development of English language teachers called ‘Teaching for Success’. The SAT has 48 elements, each phrased in terms of teacher ability or knowledge and is available for free use online on the TeachingEnglish website. On completing it, respondents are presented with a visual summary of their results together with an automatically generated list of recommended British Council teacher development modules, some of which are free and others which can be purchased.

The authors analysed 1,716 response from teachers of English who completed the SAT. The study discusses what these results may mean for this specific tool and for the use of self-assessment in English language teaching (ELT) more widely. 

The authors of this research, Borg and Edmett, argue that, although teacher self-assessment is valued in English language teaching, and various frameworks exist to support it, this remains a largely unstudied area and much more systematic inquiry is needed into the development of such frameworks, how they are used, the results they generate, and the consequences of these results. They hope that this study will stimulate further examination of such issues.

The full report findings are available to read in Language Teaching Research

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