This assignment will introduce you to a wide range of low- and middle-stakes assessments of English speaking, reading, writing, pragmatics, and cultural knowledge. This week, you will focus on how these assessments relate to teaching goals and instruction. Most teachers of ELLs are more familiar with classroom-based informal assessment than they are with high-stakes assessments. You will begin by addressing the concepts of alternative assessment, portfolio assessment, and rubrics.
The concept of alternative assessment has become popular over the past few years, partly in response to problems created by the increase in high-stakes assessments. Alternative assessments are seen as ways for teachers to gather important information not available in high-stakes assessments. Alternative assessment requires students to perform, or produce something, to promote higher-order thinking and to allow teachers to assess students on what they normally do in the class. Among the informal assessments discussed are non-verbal responses, interviews, role-play, written narratives, presentations, conferences, and student self-assessments.
Portfolio assessment refers to an ongoing process of organizing information gathered from alternative assessments, involving both the student and teacher in selecting samples of student work for inclusion in a collection. With the portfolio assessment, students control their own learning conceptually. They can select their best work to present to teachers. Depending on the purpose, most portfolios generally include these items: samples of creative work, tests, quizzes, homework, projects and assignments, audiotapes of oral work, student diary entries, log of work on a particular assignment, self-assessments, comments from peers, and comments from teachers.
A rubric is a coherent set of criteria for students’ work that includes descriptions of levels of performance quality on the criteria. The genius of rubrics is that they are descriptive and not evaluative. Of course, rubrics can be used to evaluate, but the operating principle is you match the performance to the description rather than judge it. Therefore, rubrics are as good or bad as the criteria selected and the descriptions of the levels of performance under each. Effective rubrics have appropriate criteria and well-written descriptions of performance.
The purpose of this assignment is for you to apply the knowledge of informal assessments for ELL students that you have learned throughout the course so far. After examining language-learning goals in your own state/district, and using information from the course readings, you will select two to three specific learning goals appropriate for students at a grade/age/ability level you are currently teaching or would like to teach. Then, you will develop an informal assessment plan to match one of these goals.
You have won an Outstanding ELL Teacher Award. The editor of a major publishing company has chosen you to help design a new informal assessment plan and rubric for your class that will be featured in a new book on Alternative Assessments. The publishing company has sent you an outline below to use for this informal assessment plan report. The format of the report is as follows:
1. Learning Goal(s)
State the age, grade, and ability of the learners that will benefit from this report. Identify the learning goal(s) that will be used to develop the assessment plan.
Give a description of the situations in which informal assessments can be used. What sort of class? What sort of contact time? What resources are available?
3. Assessment Descriptions
Give a brief description of each of the informal assessments to be used in your assessment plan. What abilities, knowledge, or performance is each meant to measure?
Present the actual assignment, rubric, and informal assessments you plan to use. You may follow the steps of rubrics design suggested by Mertler (2001, p. 5), and then create an assessment plan with rubrics for your own classrooms.
5. Student Reflection
Include how you feel about this plan, advice, or recommendations or cautions for someone else to use your plan.
Length: 5-7 pages not including title and reference pages and appendices
References: Include a minimum of 5 scholarly resources.
Your paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your paper should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.
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