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Инфоурок / Иностранные языки / Конспекты / Purposeful Language Assessment: Selecting the Right Alternative Marks.
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Purposeful Language Assessment: Selecting the Right Alternative Marks.


Purposeful Language Assessment: Selecting the Right Alternative Marks.

Foreign language teachers are often faced with the responsibility of selecting or developing language tests for their classrooms and programs. However, deciding which testing alternatives are the most appropriate for a particular language education context can be daunting, especially given the increasing variety of instruments, procedures, and practices available for language testing. Language tests are simply instruments or procedures for gathering particular kinds of information, typically information having to do with students’ language abili-

ties. Tests may have a variety of formats, lengths, item types, scoring criteria, and media. We may differentiate among language test types according to such characteristics and the information provided by each. For example, a 20-item

cloze test, which asks the examinee to write single-word re-sponses to complete a reading passage, provides a very dif-ferent kind of information than does a 20-item multiple choice reading comprehension test, in which the examinee has only to choose the correct responses.But deciding which of these test types is better or more appropriate is not easy. Knowing that each uses a unique format to provide different kinds of information does not bring us much closer to selecting one or the other alternative. Indeed, attempting to select the most appropriate

among available testing alternatives on the basis of their characteristics alone would be like trying to choose between a hammer, a shovel, or a screwdriver based entirely on what these tools look like. We cannot distinguish between good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate, reliable or not reliable, valid or not valid tests based solely on characteristics of the test instruments and procedures. Rather, we must focus instead on language assessment.Language assessment, then, is much more than simply giving a language test; it is the entire process of test use. Indeed, the ultimate goal of language assessment is to use tests to better inform us on the decisions we make and the actions we take in language education.

Who are the test users?

An important starting point for specifying intended test use is to clarify who uses the test-based information. In many language programs, teachers are the primary users of such information, because they are typically faced with making decisions and taking actions within the classroom on a daily basis. However, it is important not to overlook others who may use tests to make decisions or take actions. This list may include students, students’ families, school administrators, curriculum planners, funding agencies, future employers, and university admissions ofcers.Each of these potential users will naturally have par-

ticular reasons for looking at the information provided by tests, and they may require very different kinds of infor-mation from a test. Who uses test-based information will also determine how this information should be reported, as

different test users may look for and understand different aspects of test score reports. Finally, different users will also attach varying degrees of importance to the outcomes of the language assessment process.

What is the impact of the test?

As test users go about gathering information and making interpretations, which then lead to decisions and actions, the use of language tests obviously affects a variety of individuals and the language classrooms and programs themselves. We should therefore specify what consequences, both positive and negative, are likely to occur as a result of the intended use of language testing tools. Individuals who

might be affected by using language tests include students, parents and other family members, teachers, employers, and others involved in the assessment process.

Teachers who assess ELLs must ask themselves a number of basic questions such as these: Who am I going to assess? How am I going to assess them? Why am I going to assess them? Whatspecific aspects of literacy am I going to assess?

When am I going to administer the assessment?

Can I evaluate my students in my own classroom?

In order to answer these questions, teachers should investigate their students’ prior schooling before assessment.

Teachers of ELLs should conduct multiple forms of evaluation, using a variety of authentic assessment tools (e.g., anecdotal records, checklists, rating scales, portfolios) to fairly assess the placement and progress of their students and to plan

instruction. Authentic assessment tools will provide direct insights on the students’ literacy developmentand showcase students’ progress and accomplishments. Assessments also serve as mechanisms that reveal what instruction needs to be modified to help the students reach the necessary standards and goals.

Self-assessments convey the message that students are in control of their own learning and theassessment of that learning. As students engage inself-assessment practices, they learn how their pastlearning is shaping their new learning. This type

of assessment practice helps students understand that they can direct their learning, which paves the way to teaching students to become independent readers and learners.As teachers use self-assessment with ELLs,they should keep in mind that ELLs vary in their linguistic ability and, by definition, are in the process of learning a language. Thus, teachers should be aware that ELLs might experience difficulties at first with self-assessments. In order to assist ELLs, teachers should provide them with support through substantial scaffolding activities. Teachers should model responses to self-assessment tasks and then provide students with group, peer, and finally independent practice.

In summary, purposeful language assessment in-volves the cyclical process of focusing on the jobs to be accomplished by language assessment, specifying the intended uses of language tests in accomplishing these jobs, selecting the appropriate language testing tools and designating how they are to be used, and evaluating the extent to which the jobs of language assessment are being accom-

plished with the help of language tests. Thus, to choose and use the language testing alternatives most appropriate for their language education contexts, language teachers need to keep in mind the purposeful nature of language



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Formative assessmentThe goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. More specifically, formative assessments:help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need workhelp faculty recognize where students are struggling and address problems immediatelyFormative assessments are generally low stakes, which means that they have low or no point value. Examples of formative assessments include asking students to:draw a concept map in class to represent their understanding of a topicsubmit one or two sentences identifying the main point of a lectureturn in a research proposal for early feedbackSummative assessmentThe goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.Summative assessments are often high stakes, which means that they have a high point value. Examples of summative assessments include:a midterm exama final projecta papera senior recitalInformation from summative assessments can be used formatively when students or faculty use it to guide their efforts and activities in subsequent courses.
Дата добавления 05.05.2014
Раздел Иностранные языки
Подраздел Конспекты
Номер материала 95142050549
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