Volume 20 (2017) Pages 76-89
Any discussion about English education in Japan is invariably bound up with a discussion about assessment. All too often, such discussions have focused on entrance examinations and other high stakes summative tests. However, language testing and assessment do not take place in a vacuum, but are deeply affected by broader social and cultural contexts, as well as individual features of the school and the classroom. In particular, perhaps more than any other factor, it is the teachers who have great influence over how tests are created, conducted and interpreted. In order for universities to foster an environment in which reliable assessment can take place, it is not enough to provide well-designed, rigorous tests. It is also imperative that teachers’ beliefs and practices concerning assessment be taken into account. This paper seeks to answer the question, what are the assessment beliefs and practices of EFL teachers working in Japanese universities? To answer this question, survey responses were gathered from English language teachers working in Japanese higher education. The results indicated some slight differences in belief and practice between native speaker teachers and non-native speaker teachers, as well as between full-time and part-time teachers. Despite these differences, it seems that most teachers have a learning-oriented approach to assessment. The findings provide support and direction for policy-makers and educational leaders seeking to promote better testing practice.