Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Assessing Language for Progress - LISTENING AND SPEAKING
Assessing students’ academic learning is crucial in order to keep track of students’ on going progress. However, in a dual language classroom, we also need to remember that it is just as important to monitor the language proficiency progress. The question is how. How can we assess language progress throughout the year to ensure language acquisition is occurring at the rate expected?
You might be thinking, “How do I monitor or assess for listening or speaking?  These domains are not as concrete as reading and writing so how do we do that in a clear and concise way?”  The best advice I can give you is to remind you that assessments don’t have to be formal.  There is a great amount of information that can be collected simply by observing and really listening to your students. 
When assessing for listening and speaking skills, I like to carry around a clipboard while I listen and assess using a check off sheet that includes listening and speaking language descriptors for each of the proficiency levels. Or, I use sticky notes to make comments about what I hear from individual students. It is a very informal way to assess, but the key is consistency. I listen in on students’ conversations and determine their language proficiency based on my observation and the language descriptors. 
I try to assess several students daily to make sure to have everyone assessed by the end of the week. I do this weekly so that throughout the year I have ongoing documentation of my student's language progress, as well as an idea on how to accommodate instruction for each student in order to ensure progress.

After a read aloud or when discussing a particular topic, students will turn to a partner and one person will be the listener while the other shares their thoughts. I then have the listener share what the speaker had to share. After this, the listener becomes the speaker and vice versa. Listening becomes purposeful and meaningful. 
Tape Recording Questionnaire
During small groups, I have students listen to a tape recording of a conversation or perhaps a story being told. I then ask my students particular questions about what they just heard.
Checking for Understanding
During a read aloud, I check for understanding by asking questions about specific parts of the story or a quick summary just to see if they get the "gist" of what was read.
Giving Purposeful Commands
As you give purposeful commands such as: open your notebooks, get in line, hand me a pencil, hand me the stapler, write your name and date on your paper, fold your paper, cut out a circle, give your partner a high five, check for listening comprehension. Make notes of your observations.
During small/peer group activities walk around the room and listen in on your students’ conversations.
Asking Specific Questions
A great website I use for this particular activity is After the students watch an academic video, they are asked specific questions about what they just watched. It's an awesome way to assess listening and speaking skills.

Once you assess, what's next? The most important piece after assessing your students’ language proficiency is accommodations, accommodations, accommodations! Make sure that you accommodate for each students specific needs. ELPS at aGLANCE is a great resource that gives you the necessary tools to help you accommodate your students’ language needs according to the descriptor he/she falls under. It also includes strategies/activities specific for that level of NO need to reinvent the wheel!

How do you assess your student's language proficiency? Please share your ideas!


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