Assessment of English Language Learners

morganmb1234

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Hi! I am creating this forum as part of a course requirement for a Assessment and Instruction of English language learners class. For English language learners, how do you differentiate assessments for students from different backgrounds? For example, students from different countries, that speak different languages, have different cultures, or are on different levels of English? This could range from formative assessment, summative assessment, or any other type of assessment. Thanks!
 

jutfrank

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I really have no idea what you're asking, I'm afraid. The kind of assessment that you use depends wholly on your reasons for assessing.

Also, the learners' language backgrounds are irrelevant. It doesn't matter what a person's first language is—the target language (English) is the same for all.
 

emsr2d2

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Hi! I am creating this [STRIKE]forum[/STRIKE] thread as part of a course requirement for an "Assessment and Instruction of English Language Learners" class. For English language learners, how do you differentiate between assessments for students from different backgrounds? For example, students from different countries, that speak different languages, have different cultures, or are [STRIKE]on[/STRIKE] at different levels of English? This could range from formative assessment, summative assessment, or any other type of assessment. Thanks!

emsr2d2
 

jutfrank

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how do you differentiate between assessments

I should perhaps point out that the preposition between is not what morganmb1234 meant to say, and so it doesn't belong in this sentence.

The transitive verb differentiate as used here is teaching jargon. It means something like 'make something different, according to specific needs' rather than 'recognise the difference', which is what it means when followed by between.
 

emsr2d2

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Apologies. I read it too fast (even as I was writing) and thought he/she wanted to differentiate between assessments of students from different backgrounds and assessments of students from different countries.
 

Tdol

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A forum does not have to assign levels. Each post will be of its own level, and people will respond accordingly. If someone is asking a very advanced question, people will answer differently from someone asking a basic question. Forums are user- driven.
 

morganmb1234

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Let me ask this in a different way-
Do you give different types of assessments or tests to different students?
This could be for English students with different English proficiency levels, educational backgrounds, cultures, etc.
Please let me know how you create different assessments for English language learners.
 

Tdol

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Do you mean on the forum or in our day jobs? If you mean the former, we do no assessment- forums are free-for-alls.
 

Tdol

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We're not offering standardised courses- we discuss questions and other things raised by learners as they come in to us- we are a wholly learner-driven forum. I can't remember the last time I asked a question here.
 

jutfrank

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Do you give different types of assessments or tests to different students?
This could be for English students with different English proficiency levels, educational backgrounds, cultures, etc.

Yes, the proficiency level is almost always taken into account. The learner's educational background and culture are not accounted for as these things are considered largely irrelevant. Special educational needs, however, will usually be taken into account.

Please let me know how you create different assessments for English language learners.

It really depends what the assessment is for. If you want to do a weekly test on stuff they've learnt over the past week for instance, then you'll focus only on that particular stuff.

For an average teacher like myself teaching multilingual classes of 10 to 20 students, you really can't afford to try to differentiate for L1, let alone culture, if that's what you're driving at. If it's a 1-1 class, this might be possible.
 

morganmb1234

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Thank you for your feedback!
Tdol- Thank you for your feedback. I am asking about how/if you differentiate assessments for students that you work with in a school or online setting for English instruction. This should apply to English language learner students.
Justfrank- Thank you for your feedback. Do you find that you to not differentiate assessments because you do not have time to do so? If you had the time and resources, in what ways would you differentiate assessments?
Thank you!
 

jutfrank

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Do you find that you to not differentiate assessments because you do not have time to do so? If you had the time and resources, in what ways would you differentiate assessments?

Your second question presupposes a yes to the first. I think I've already answered quite clearly in previous posts.

Let me ask you now: In what ways do you think one could possibly differentiate for culture? How do you imagine such differentiation might improve reliability?
 

morganmb1234

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Your second question presupposes a yes to the first. I think I've already answered quite clearly in previous posts.

Let me ask you now: In what ways do you think one could possibly differentiate for culture? How do you imagine such differentiation might improve reliability?

Adaptations could be made depending on their prior schooling and literacy experience. Students might have learned literacy from a non-alphabetic language. This would that they might have more difficulty reading and decoding letters, meaning that they would need more instruction in that. There are also differences between student’s religion, sex, geography, and other cultural factors that could play into their differentiation. It is important to make content and assessments culturally relevant and important. For example, if you are teaching students from Switzerland, it would be appropriate to make lessons and assessments on mountains since students would have background knowledge on this topic.
 

Tdol

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And if you were teaching in rural Laos, the lesson on using the London Underground might not have much relevance.
 

probus

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Morganlamb1234, to aid you in assessing the response from jutfrank you should keep in mind that he is an IELTS examiner. He is highly expert in assessing the English skills of learners, but usually does so in a totally arms-length environment without face-to-face interaction.
 

emsr2d2

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And if you were teaching in rural Laos, the lesson on using the London Underground might not have much relevance.

I agree with that but I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that Swiss students will all know about mountains!
 

jutfrank

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I'm speaking here as a teacher trainer.

Adaptations could be made depending on their prior schooling and literacy experience.

Good. If I understand correctly, you're talking here about what I'd call educational background. This is an area that includes all prior educational context. Generally speaking, this context ought not to be a consideration for assessment, though you're right that these things do have a considerable bearing on how a learner performs in class. Educational background can have a cultural component, but much of it doesn't.

Students might have learned literacy from a non-alphabetic language. This would that they might have more difficulty reading and decoding letters, meaning that they would need more instruction in that.

Yes, this is very important to remember, and often constitutes a key part of differentiation when it comes to teaching methodology, strategies, and general practice. It's not clear how you're trying to link this to assessment, however.

There are also differences between student’s religion, sex, geography, and other cultural factors that could play into their differentiation.

In my my view, the two most important aspects of a learner's profile are age (not cultural) and first language (very much cultural). Sex has nothing to do with culture. The geography of the place the learner is from has no bearing on learning success. Religion, though it is cultural, is something that I believe should definitely not be accounted for. Any particular special educational needs are important to take into account, but have no relation to culture.

It is important to make content and assessments culturally relevant and important. For example, if you are teaching students from Switzerland, it would be appropriate to make lessons and assessments on mountains since students would have background knowledge on this topic.

Let's stick to the point here, which is assessment, not teaching per se. I don't think you've made a convincing case that culture needs to be a factor in differentiating for the purposes of assessment, though you have made some sensitive points concerning learner profiling.
 

Tdol

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Students might have learned literacy from a non-alphabetic language. This would that they might have more difficulty reading and decoding letters, meaning that they would need more instruction in that.
Yes, this is very important to remember, and often constitutes a key part of differentiation when it comes to teaching methodology, strategies, and general practice. It's not clear how you're trying to link this to assessment, however.

I studied the Lao language script, an abugida. It took a fair bit of work, but it wasn't an insurmountable problem and I could read texts after a few months. Mind you, I had private lessons- it would have been harder or impossible to acquire the skill alongside a class of native speakers/writers.
 

Sahar.saleh

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In a class about creating differentiated lessons and assessments for ELLs, we learned that every teacher should be able to develop differentiated instructions and assessments. However, every teacher needs to know each student's different levels and backgrounds.
 
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