In the Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Daneshfar and Moharami (2018) explain that Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory is a significant contribution in the field of language teaching, and consequently, in language learning assessment. Their study presents a review of a new form of assessment derived from Vygotsky’s theory, known as dynamic assessment (DA). Children interact in their environment that provides them with all the social, cultural and interpersonal experiences which represent a key element of their development. As children are still developing, they interact with different experiences according to their level of cognition development, which encourages them to exceed their current level and develop further skills (Daneshfar & Moharami, 2018).
The most highlighted notion of the mentioned theory is the concept of the zone of proximal development, which has been supported by research and put into use for the last three decades. According to sociocultural theory, children’s development is not linear as it develops on different levels which correspond with the child’s stage of cognitive development. Furthermore, children can achieve the tasks that are appropriately challenging to their level but can reach a higher level of development by the help of a more skilled peer a teacher or. The zone of proximal development is the distance between the two levels.
This theory applies more to western cultures where the focus of the parents is mainly on literacy and scaffolding different tasks to sharpen their children’s ability to read and write and occupy jobs in the future. However, in other cultures, parents raise their children to sharpen other skills related to their life, such as hunting or weaving (Galotti, 2017). To adapt the concept of ZPD, another term known as guided participation was suggested to refer to skills shared between experienced and less experienced individuals to allow more variation in different contexts and cultures (Berk, 2016).
Galotti, K. M. (2017). Major theories of cognitive development. In Cognitive development: Infancy through adolescence (2nd ed.) (pp. 18–45). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Berk, L. (2016). Development Through the Lifespan, 6th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions,
Daneshfar, S., & Moharami, M. (2018). Dynamic Assessment in Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory: Origins and Main Concepts. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 9(3), 600-607.