Authentic Assessment in the Listening Comprehension Classroom: Benefits and Implications

Keywords: authentic assessment, testing, listening comprehension, portfolio, weekly plans


This research paper discusses the benefits and implications of bringing authentic assessment into listening comprehension classes. The study was run in 2016 based on a QUAL-Quan model to research and included 38 college students enrolled in a listening comprehension class at an English Teaching Major (ETM) from the University of Costa Rica (UCR). Data collection instruments included plans of improvement, portfolios, self-assessment forms, teacher-student conferences, verbal calls, and impromptu reflections. Data were validated through several procedures and analyzed in the form of emerging themes from the information collected. Findings are that authentic assessment can and should be used more in listening comprehension classes to bring assessment and instruction together, as well as to provide opportunities for skills integration. The study yields implications for theory and practice, and it constitutes a proposal to move from traditional to process evaluation, and from norm-referenced testing towards more criterion-referenced assessment. Nonetheless, the aim should not necessarily be a radical ‘no’ to paper-and-pencil tests, but a more balanced use in combination with other strategies so that assessment becomes more reliable, valid, fair, and authentic for all EFL actors involved.

Keywords: authentic assessment, testing, listening comprehension, portfolio, weekly plans

Author Biographies

Henry Sevilla Morales, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

holds an M.A. in Second Languages and Cultures. He has been an EFL instructor for 13 years and currently works at Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica. His research has been presented in numerous national and international conferences and published in various journals and conference proceedings in Costa Rica and The United States. His current research areas include reflective writing, learner autonomy, authentic assessment, critical applied linguistics, and translation studies

Lindsay Chaves-Fernandez, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

holds an M.A. in Second Languages and Cultures from Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica. She has been an EFL instructor for over fifteen years and currently works at Escuela de Literatura y Ciencias del Lenguaje, Universidad Nacional. Her papers appear in different scientific journals and her research has been presented in national and international conferences in Costa Rica, Cuba, Canada, Spain and Switzerland. Among her research interests are composition and rhetoric, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in teaching, learners’ diversity and motivation, translation studies, approaches to EFL teaching, and accreditation practices in higher education.


Airasian, P. W. (2001). Classroom Assessment: Concepts and Applications. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

Ali, I., & Ajmi, A. (2013). Towards Quality Assessment in an EFL Programme. English Language Teaching, 6(10), 132-148.

Aliweh, A. M. (2011). The Effect of Electronic Portfolios on Promoting Egyptian EFL College Students' Writing Competence and Autonomy. The Asian EFL Journal, 13(2), 90-132.

Bailey, K. M., Curtis, A., & Nunan, D. (2001). Pursuing Professional Development: The Self as a Source. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Bers, T. (September 06, 2005). Assessing Critical Thinking in Community Colleges. New Directions for Community Colleges, 2005, 130, 15-25.

Brown, H. D., & Abeywickrama, P. (2010). Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.

Charvade, M. R., Jahandar, S., & Khodabandehlou, M. (2012). The Impact of Portfolio Assessment on EFL Learners' Reading Comprehension Ability. English Language Teaching, 5(7), 129-139.

Cohen, A. D. (1994). Assessing Language Ability in the Classroom. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison K. (2007). Research Methods in Education (6th Edition). New York: Routledge.

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches (2nd edition). Sage Publications, Inc.

Dewi, R. C. (2018). Utilizing Authentic Materials on Students' Listening Comprehension: Does it have Any Influence? Advancements in Language and Literary Studies, 9(1), 70-74.

Diller, K. R., & Phelps, S. F. (2008). Learning Outcomes, Portfolios, and Rubrics, Oh My! Authentic Assessment of an Information Literacy Program. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 8(1), 75-89.

Douglas, D. (2000). Assessing Language for Specific Purposes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Frey, B. B., Allen, J. P., & Schmitt, V. L. (2012). Defining Authentic Classroom Assessment. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation, 17(2), 1-18.

Gamboa, R., & Sevilla, H. (2013). Assessment of Listening Comprehension in Public High Schools of Costa Rica: The West and Central Pacific Case. Proceedings of the 11th Hawaii International Conference on Education, Honolulu, Hawaii. 1-24.

Gamboa, R., & Sevilla, H. (2016a). The Impact of Teacher Training on the Assessment of Listening Skills. Revista LETRAS, 57, 77-102.

Gay, L.R., Mills, G.E., & Airasian, P. (2009). Educational Research: Competencies for Analysis and Applications. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Ghaderpanahi, L. (2012). Using Authentic Aural Materials to Develop Listening Comprehension in the EFL Classroom. English Language Teaching, 5(6). 146-153.

Genessee, F., & Upshur, J. (1996). Classroom-Based Evaluation in Second Language Education. Cambridge: Cambridge Language Education.

Grant, W., & Educational Resources Information Center (U.S.). (1990). The Case for Authentic Assessment. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Educational Research and improvement, Educational Resources Information Center.

Herman, J. L., Aschbacher, P. R., & Winters, L. (1992). A Practical Guide to Alternative Assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Li, C. H. (2013). They Made it! Enhancing University-Level L2 Learners' Listening Comprehension of Authentic Multimedia Materials with Advance Organizers. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 22(2), 193-200.

McKay, P. (2006). Assessing Young Language Learners. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Miller, L. (2003). Developing Listening Skills with Authentic Materials. ESL Magazine, 6(2), 16-18.

Moya, S. S., & O'Malley, J. M. (1994). A Portfolio Assessment Model for ESL. The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students, 13, 13-36.

Murphy, V., Fox, J., Freeman, S., & Hughes, N. (2017). "Keeping it Real": A Review of the Benefits, Challenges, and Steps Towards Implementing Authentic Assessment. All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (AISHE-J), 9(3). Retrieved from

O'Malley, J. M., & Valdez, L. (1996). Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners: Practical Approaches for Teachers. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Pan, Zhixin. (2017). Assessing Listening for Chinese English Learners: Developing a Communicative Listening Comprehension Test Suite for CET. London and New York: Routledge.

Porte, Graeme. (2010). Appraising Research in Second Language Learning: A Practical

Approach to Critical Analysis of Quantitative Research. Philadelphia: John Benmamins.

Porter, D., & Roberts, J. (January 01, 1981). Authentic Listening Activities. ELT Journal (United States), 36(1), 37-47.

Rogier, D. (2014). Assessment Literacy: Building a Base for Better Teaching and Learning. English Teaching FORUM, 52(3), 2-13.

Rojas, O. (2004). El portafolio y la evaluación del proceso en traducción. Revista LETRAS, 36, 27-64.

Sevilla, H., & Gamboa, R. (2016b). Student Self-Evaluation and Autonomy Development in EFL Learning. Revista de Lenguas Modernas, 25, 199-222.

Tudor, I. (2001). The Dynamics of the Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Vandergrift, L. (1997). The Cinderella of Communication Strategies: Reception Strategies in Interactive Listening. The Modern Language Journal, 81(4), 494.

Yurdabakan, I., & Erdogan, T. (2009). The Effects of Portfolio Assessment on Reading, Listening and Writing Skills of Secondary School Prep Class Students. Journal of International Social Research, 2(9), 526-538.

How to Cite
Sevilla Morales, H., & Chaves-Fernandez, L. (2019). Authentic Assessment in the Listening Comprehension Classroom: Benefits and Implications. GIST – Education and Learning Research Journal, (19), 6-30.
Crossref Cited-by logo

More on this topic