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Editor's Note
Children's Domain
Who said young learners
   can't read?
Teaching Teens
Assessment through the
   school year
The Language Net
Blended learning
Special Contributions
Classroom Management
Great Teachers
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Pearson Longman  Going Green

 

Teaching Teens
Assessment through the school year
By: Sandra Isobel Hervey
      In the decade of the 1990’s a new current of thought about testing emerged in response to the decreasing popularity of traditional tests.
This new form of assessment was simple and yet, very effective. The main idea consisted in organizing and setting a systematic collection of different materials created by students.

This collection would be guided by the teacher and would be arranged in portfolios, journals, observations, self-assessments, and peer-assessments. These collections would allow the teacher to record the data about his/her students in a more efficient way.
Such a system would promote fairness when grading students and help the teacher keep a balance in the classroom. Today, here are a few relevant characteristics found in this kind of assessment, aptly summed up by Brown and Hudson: (1998, pp. 654-655)
  • It requires students to perform, create, produce, or do something.
  • It is no intrusive in that they extend the day-to-day classroom activities.
  • It allows students to be assessed on what they normally do in class everyday.
  • It focuses on processes as well as products.
  • It provides information about both the strengths and weaknesses of students.
  • It calls upon teachers to perform new instructional and assessment roles.



     Portfolios, journals and self-assessment are open-ended in time and format, contextualized to a curriculum, referenced to the objectives of that curriculum and probably build intrinsic motivation.
This way of assessment poses a challenge to the teacher because they all require considerable time and effort from the teacher and student.

"The goal would be to offer a reliable evaluation of students across a period of time and across teachers being very careful not to favor one or a group of students."
  • Portfolio: Is one of the most popular forms of assessment within communicative language teaching. According to Genesee and Upshur (1996), a portfolio is “a purposeful collection of student’s work that demonstrates their efforts, progress, and achievements in given areas”.
  • Journal: Is an account of one’s thoughts. Most classrooms have a dialogue journal which implies an interaction between the reader (teacher) and the student.
  • Observations: Whether teachers are aware or not, they observe their students in the classroom. Every response, question or nonverbal behavior is part of this perception.
  • Self-Assessment: Its theoretical justification comes form the principles of second language acquisition: autonomy, as one of the primary parts; the ability to set one’s own goals without the presence of an external prod and to independently monitor yourself. This will develop intrinsic motivation which comes from a desire to excel. This is at the top of the list of successful acquisition of any skill.
  • Peer-Assessment: Although it has the same principles, it is based on cooperative learning. It involves the students in their own destiny, encourages autonomy and increases motivation because they are involved. The drawbacks would be subjectivity: students may be either too harsh or too self-flattering, or may not have the tools to be accurate. Any of these forms of assessment, enriching your class, and motivate your students to try to do their best at all times.End of Article

  • Brown, H.D. (2004) LANGUAGE
    ASSESSMENT: Principles and Classroom
    Practices. United States: Longman
  • Burgess, S. and Head, K. (2005) Teach for Exams. England: Longman



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