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Research project «ASSET - Assessing Students' English Texts»

Assessing student performances accurately is an essential competence of teachers and thus an important objective in teacher education. The project ASSET investigates the quality of prospective and experienced English teacher judgments of authentic argumentative essays written by students at upper-secondary level.

A project by «Professur für Englischdidaktik»


  • Investigating the quality of teacher judgments of English argumentative essays
  • Identifying factors which influence teacher judgments on different levels


Left to right: Thorben Jansen, Cristina Vögelin, Prof. Stefan Keller, Prof. Jens Möller, Nils Machts

Involved countries and research teams

  • Germany: Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institute for Psychology of Learning and Instruction, Prof. Dr. Jens Möller
  • Switzerland: School of Education, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Institute of Secondary Education, Chair for English Teaching and Learning, Prof. Dr. Stefan D. Keller

Research questions

The project investigates how teacher, learner and text characteristics influence teacher judgments of authentic learner texts written by upper-secondary level students (11thgrade, Gymnasium). The focus of ASSET is on diagnostic competence,which constitutes a central aspect of every teacher's professional knowledge.


Previous research has shown that teachers are influenced by various factors when assessing student essays. For example, spelling does not only negatively influence teachers’ rating of a text but also distorts the judgment of content-related aspects of writing, such as the understanding and synthesis of arguments.

In order to explore influencing factors on teacher judgments, we use an online survey instrument called Student Inventory ASSET(SIA). In this tool, participants assess four authentic argumentative essays using a holistic and an analytic assessment rating scale. Immediately after the assessment, students will be able to see their own scores in relation to benchmark scores.


ASSET advances previous research with regards to quality and accuracy of teacher judgments. Our findings provide benefits, since they …

  • make writing assessment fairer and more objective
  • help prospective teachers to assess English essays
  • support teacher education programs in Switzerland and Germany by introducing the online training tool ASSET-Practice