Reconceptualizing Testing in Times of COVID-19 from an Activity Theory Lens: A Narrative Inquiry of a Test-designer’s Experiences

Güngör M. N. , Güngör M. A.

Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, vol.30, no.5, pp.1-9, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s40299-021-00627-0
  • Title of Journal : Asia-Pacific Education Researcher
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-9


This article explores the implementation of an online high-stakes language proficiency test during the COVID-19 pandemic through a narrative inquiry of a test-designer, Eda (pseudonym). Situated in the context of Turkish higher education, this study examines Eda’s narrative accounts with regard to the development of test adaptation and implementation, technology use, and the emerging contradictions for future language testing practices. The data are analysed based on Clandinin and Connelly’s (in Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research, Jossey-Bass, 2000) three-dimensional space narrative structure: interaction, continuity, and situation. First, personal and social interaction are analysed to better understand test-designers’ dispositions and views, and internal and existential conditions in testing practices in the pandemic. Second, continuity is dealt with in regard to their testing experiences, emerging needs, and implied roles and directions of stakeholders in online testing. Third, the situation is analysed to understand the new landscape where the online test implementation is bounded by pandemic rules and regulations. Third generation activity theory was used to interpret the results of analysis. The study concludes by recognizing how resolutions produce motives for high-stakes test implementation and how the dynamic relation between constructs of activity systems supports the continuity of online test beyond pandemic times.