I am a fourth grade teacher at a title 1 school in Fort Wayne, IN. I am currently working toward my Master's degree in English Language Learning and Teaching. As a part of my assignment in my Assessing ELLs course, I am required to initiate a discussion about a common issue with assessing ELLs.
I would like to address the issue of standardized testing for language learners and am seeking professional advice. Many of my co-workers are against high stakes testing and I too, find it extremely detrimental to all learners, especially ELLs. This is only my third year of teaching and first year working with ELLs in a general education setting. However in one short year, I understand how extremely challenging it is to meet the needs of ELLs and it is evident that alternate forms of assessments must be used to show reliable and valid results. I have been learning a lot about the deeper issues with standardized testing and the benefits of authentic assessments in my recent course.
I would like to receive input on the following questions:
1. As an educator, what is your stance on standardized testing for ELLs?
2. What pros have you noted for standardized testing if any?
3. What are some major cons to standardized testing that you have experienced first hand in your classroom?
4. What forms of assessment have you or your colleagues used to more efficiently evaluate ELLs?
5. How do you ensure that you are meeting the needs of your language learners?
Any advice is extremely appreciated! I am eager to learn from your experiences.
As an educator I feel that we will never get rid of standardized testing, so the question is how can we better accommodate the test for our students? One of my colleagues, who has a class of all ELL students, made sure her students understood the language that was on the test. One of the hardest things for our ELL students is they don't understand the language that is used in the test. There are some pros to the test. It gives us immediate results and the same test is given to all students, keeping the playing field the same. One of the major cons that I've come across in standardized testing is the students don't always understand how to take the test. There are many different options, drag and put, multiple, answers, etc. Some of our students don't understand how to even take the test. I know at my school especially at the Kindergarten level the students have often touched the screen thinking that it was a touch screen. This may be an option that could help with this con. One assessment I've used to accurately assess my students is putting them in reading groups. I've found these groups to be beneficial. I'm able to track their progress throughout the year. We also do something at my school called a running record which allows me to see the reading level that each child is at.