Resolving tensions caused by high-stakes assessment in an L2 classroom through mediation


  • Dmitri Leontjev University of Jyväskylä
  • Pirjo Pollari University of Jyväskylä


power of tests, matriculation examination, sociocultural theory, mediation, L2


The Finnish classroom assessment culture is considered that of assessment for learning. The situation in upper-secondary schools is different, however. While teachers in Finland appreciate assessment supporting learning, they feel unable to merge it with assessment of learning outcomes, and favour the latter due to the Matriculation Examination (ME; e.g. Leontjev, submitted), a high-stakes exam growingly used in university admission. Learners, likewise, expect teachers to prepare them for the ME (Lakkala & Ilomäki, 2013), the results of which play a significant role in their further studies. The tension between assessment for learning and exam preparation is, therefore, often resolved in the benefit of the latter. In the present study, we illustrate how this tension can be resolved for teachers and learners in the benefit of supporting learning both in praxis—a dialectical unity of theory and practice, drawing on a detailed analysis of two interactions with learners. We will discuss the implications for the development of teacher classroom practices and teachers’ professional development.



2022-06-21 — Updated on 2022-07-26


How to Cite

Leontjev, D., & Pollari, P. (2022). Resolving tensions caused by high-stakes assessment in an L2 classroom through mediation. Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies, 16(1), 155–174. (Original work published June 21, 2022)