ELL Language Assessment and Related Issues in the K-12 Classroom: An Introduction

This course explores the legal history and politics surrounding language assessment and the different test structures and methods used to assess English language learners. Participants will examine how standardized tests are used to measure language proficiency and academic achievement. With that framework in place, participants will explore how to specifically assess listening, speaking, reading, and writing, both individually and in an integrated fashion. Participants will also examine test taking issues and strategies and will look at how technology can be used in assessment. Special needs students will also be addressed. 

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ELL Language Assessment and Related Issues in the K-12 Classroom: An Introduction

Reviews

CaliforniaNew York | Washington 

California

I have learned a lot from this course. I learned about holistic and analytical rubrics that I can use to give students specific guidelines for optimal performance. I learned about different methods of testing, the strengths and weaknesses of each. This course gave a detailed description of Holistic, Analytical, and Primary Trait Rubrics and the types of assessments for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. It helped to understand the differences between Norm-Referenced and Criterion Referenced tests as well as the validity and reliability of the evaluation processes. CA, 2014

I learned a great deal more about rubrics, such as the difference between holistic and analytical. I tend to dislike a standard, generic 4-point scale rubric but realize that it can be very helpful to students to understand what I’m asking from them for the assignment/writing. I feel then that analytical rubrics can be more helpful than I felt before. I also provide one for my AP world history students now so that they can specifically see what is required in each aspect of the essay. Collegeboard has very specific requirements for their essays and its difficult for students to understand how to receive full credit without a rubric. I also learned a great deal more about my ELL students through these exercises and noticed that many more of my students who are not designated as ELL display a lack of skills. I would have assumed they were more fluent in English, but apparently that is not always the case. CA, 2014

New York (ASPDP)

“Some of the key points that I have learned through this course are the various ways to assess listening, speaking, reading, and writing. I have used many of these strategies in my classrooms and there are some that I will use in the future. Some of the things that i am planning to use are how to assess the micro and macro skills. This is something new that I have learned and hope to implement them in the fall. Another thing that I have learned from this course is how to create and organize portfolios. I have never used portfolios in my classroom before and with all the information that I have learned from this course, I hope to create portfolios for my students.” (APSDP, 2014)

“This class was a great reminder of the entry and exit requirements for the ELL students in my school. I have three ELL students in my class and I collaborate with the ESL teacher as often as possible. She has always informed me briefly about the assessments that the students are administered. However, I was not always sure of the purpose of each assessment and the process that the ELL students go through. I will use this information learned in this class to help me advocate for my students and understand what they need to be successful in my class. Now I feel more confident speaking about the results of assessments and the needs of my ELL students with the ESL teacher and in IEP meetings with parents.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“After taking this course, I definitely feel as if I have learned a lot about how to address and support ESL students in my class. The most valuable thing that I am going to take away is the backwards planning. When I create my plans, I try to plan backwards so I know where my students need to be at the end (what I’m expecting) and therefore, I need to provide them with the tools to get there. Additionally, I need to keep my students in mind when I am writing my lessons, as it is them that I need to touch and deliver the message too. Therefore, I need to effectively plan lessons that capture my students’ attention. To ensure that they have understood the material, I will continue to assess them (both formally and informally) on a daily basis. I will increase my use of rubrics for listening, listening and reading as well.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“There are a few key understandings from this course that stick out in my mind. I feel I learned most about the entrance and exit assessments that are required for ELL students. I have heard the ESL teacher talk about the assessments, but knew very little about the content, requirements, evaluation and purpose behind the exams. I have a much better understanding of these assessments now. I also learned a lot more about the types of rubrics, which are most helpful to me as a teacher and what purpose they each serve. Previously, I had just used rubrics without much thought as to which structure would be beset for each individual assignment. I now have a repertoire of assessment skills to use with all my students to evaluate all parts of literacy: reading, writing, speaking and listening. There were quite a few different assessment techniques that I had not tried before and this course brought to my attention a few new ways to assess students.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“This class was a great reminder of the entry and exit requirements for the ELL students in my school as well as the different assessments for my students. I have 4 ELL students in my class and I collaborate with the ESL teacher as often as possible. She has always informed me briefly about the assessments that the student are administered and the work that they do. However, I was not always sure of the purpose of each assessment and the process that the ELL students go through. I will use this information learned in this class to help me advocate for my students and understand what they need to be successful in my class. I also learned about how to better assess my students in my class for example; using holistic or analytic rubrics, role-playing or scenarios. Now I feel more confident speaking about the results of assessments and the needs of my ELL students with the ESL teacher and in IEP meetings with parents.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“I learned about entry and exit requirements for ELLs and the assessments involved, which I had very little prior knowledge of. This information we allow me to better meet the needs of my students and gives me insight into what the ELL teacher is speaking to me about my students. I learned about many different assessment tools, amongst the analytic and holistic rubrics. It helped me to decide what to put into student portfolios and to ask for student input. I have tried doing portfolios many different ways and I never found a way that worked great. It also made me reflect more on the process as well as the product and to place more emphasis on the process to better meet the needs of my students and to help them achieve a better product.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“As a result of this course, I became more familiar with the process ELL students (and their families) go through. It actually allowed me to UNDERSTAND their needs better and ultimately gave me a sense of ownership regarding assessments and my students. I feel more confident in my ELL students’ results because I now know what I need to do as their teacher. I feel as though this course allowed me to dig deeper and drive home the notion of data driving instruction.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“I wish I had taken this course prior to my first year of teaching. Being a push in ESL teacher, I rely heavily on the information that is given to me by the classroom teachers. I liked learning about LAF and the quadrants for collecting information. The sections of assessing listening, speaking and reading made me realize I wasn’t doing enough of that with my lower grade students and it will definitely be something I will focus on this school year. I am also going to create portfolios for the students I have so I can see the type of growth they are doing as the school year advances. This will definitely help me plan my lessons and also keep better records for them.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“This class was useful in helping me understand more about ELL learners. I have 30 kids on my caseload for speech and 6 of the students are ELL. What i really liked about the class was in the beginning how we learned about entry and exit information. I’ve been to several IEP meetings where parents have asked about ELL services and I never knew how to answer their questions, so now I have a bit of background information! I also learned more about using rubrics in assessment and how they can be holistic or analytic. As i knew before (but this is a good reminder), the writing process is just as important as the final product. I also learned that Portfolios are a great way to collect students work to see their development throughout the year.” (ASPDP, 2014)

“Great class. I will definitely be able to implement these assessments in my classroom. I liked that we could complete the lessons at our own pace.” (ASPDP, 2014)

Washington

This course was a good review on assessment. It’s always helpful to be able explain the importance of validity, reliability, difference between norm-referenced test and criterion based test. Also, being familiar with norm-referenced test helped me understand the value of the WELPA test. The Language Assessment Framework was helpful in order to have an outline of how to plan, gather information, analyzing and interpreting data, decision and reporting stage, and a return to the planning stage. Teaching is constantly evolving and it’s important to look at many different factors when plan and re-planning. I also thought the suggestions for preparing ELL students for norm-referenced test was helpful and will include them in my classroom. Finally, I also think that the guidelines for placing bilingual students with special needs was very helpful. I will be looking at those when there are concerns about ELL students being SPED. WA, 2014

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