Assessing learners' language skills: Activities

 

Getting to know your students

Part 1

Take a look at this languages tree and fill in your ideas. What do you know about the languages of the students in your classroom or in the learner profiles? How could you assess their language competences?

  • Think of the languages spoken by the students and insert them next to the roots.
  • Which language competences do you think can and should be assessed? Which competences are important for the students in your class? Are there language competences that are more important than others? Note down your ideas in the treetop.
  • Think of instruments for assessing language competences you are familiar with. Write them down next to the magnifying glass. Have you already used one of these instruments? Which experiences have you had with them?

Part 2

Think of one of your plurilingual students and take a look at the language cloverleaf.

  • What is the level of your student's language competence in each area?
  • Colour the leaves as indicated on the worksheet. Use the corresponding colour to visualise the language competences of your student.
  • What occurs to you if you look at the languages cloverleaf now? How do the competences of your student differ for each area?

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Guiding questions on language assessing

Take a look at the basic questions on language assessing.

  • Try to answer the questions based on your practical experience and your theoretical knowledge.
  • Now read the part guiding questions on language assessing and compare it to your answers.
  • What would you add to the guiding questions?

Read more on language assessing in multilingual settings (Lengeyl, 2010).

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Myths and misconceptions

about bilingual students' educational development

There are plenty of myths and misconceptions about bilingual students' development. They are often maintained by the media, authorities, teachers and parents. Read about the typical claims and counter-claims about:

  • academic language development
  • reading
  • bilingual instruction
  • assessment

Discuss

  • What claims are still common and exist in your country and possibly in your own thinking?
  • What can you as teachers do to spread information that is based on current research evidence?

Source: Jim Cummins: The Academic and Political Discourse of Minority Language Education: Claims and Counter-Claims About Reading, Academic Language, Pedagogy, and Assessment as They Relate to Bilingual Children’s Educational Development

 

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