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How to evaluate and make assessments 
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:04 pm
Posts: 28
Post How to evaluate and make assessments
Anyone have tips or links on how to evaluate overall progress or assess
- elementary school children
- JHS students ?

I am a new ALT in Japan.

On a similar note, simply going back to a unit lesson, how does one evaluate how a lesson went ?

Any tips appreciated.


Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:53 am
This can be a very tricky area. Younger kids don't necessarily really get the concept of assessment. If you're very quiet and not feeling much like English in a lesson, it probably won't be a big deal, and so it's the same in a test, right?

We don't want to give kids bad test grades and make them feel they're failing. Even if they are quite bad at English, we still don't want to give them that big negative symbol of a bad grade. That can destroy motivation.

One way round this is to make test tasks for young learners quite easy in comparison with the course material. That way everybody does very well or quite well, and it's rare for anybody to fail. Then the grading should not be too obviously hierarchical. The Cambridge Young Learners English tests award 1 to 5 "badges". Now, kids aren't stupid - they know that 5 badges are better than 1 badge, but 1 badge is not like getting FAIL in red ink at the bottom of the paper.

This may sound a bit cynical, but in many teaching situations, testing is really to keep the parents happy. Teachers know the strengths and weaknesses of their students, and try to respond accordingly. The end-of-semester test often doesn't really add much to that process.

Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:06 am

Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:33 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Ibaraki, Japan
Hi there, welcome to Japan! I don't have any suggestions for JHS, but I'll give you my thoughts on the elementary problem.

If you're teaching in the average elementary school, you probably don't teach from a textbook or teach reading and writing, am I right? That makes it really difficult to assess how the students are doing, and I haven't found an easy solution, but here's what I do. I've adopted a very informal assessment approach, since we aren't required to assign grades, but I do want to know if the students are retaining what they've been learning.

Whenever we're reviewing, I pay attention to how many students yell out the answer before I give it to them.

When we're playing a game, I make an effort to play with each student, as time allows, and pay attention to how many say the language correctly. If the students are playing in groups, I circle and listen to them as they play.

I'll often add a rule to a game where in order to "win", students need to come play with the teacher. That way I can hear them use the language one-on-one.

I've instituted a rule that students can ask for help at any time when they've forgotten the language. If too many students are asking for help, it means they don't have it.

In these ways, I can keep an eye on how well the students are doing without actually ever giving them a "test". I know which students are likely to be ahead and which students are likely to need some extra help with a difficult point. If I had to write report cards, though, I'd have a hard time...

Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:14 pm

Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:27 pm
Posts: 191
Location: South Korea
I can't recall to many details of the actual contnet, but I read several articles last year by a Dr. Bob Kizlik ( maybe his wife as well.).

I do reacll that he wasn't an Eng;ish teacher and some of it was a little abstract, but you or others might be able to find some info. from his artciles

If you do a google search I 'm sure ou can find them.

Dare to dream. Dance through life!

Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:18 am

Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:35 pm
Posts: 36
I recently bought a book called Assessing Young Learners (Resource Books for Teachers) by Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou & Pavlos Pavlou by Oxford University Press. There are many great tips and worksheets organized by different English areas of study-listening, writing, grammar, etc.

The book has helped me assess elementary kids. But I think they can be scaled to assess middle school children as well. Hope this helps.

Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:03 pm

Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Hi! I'm teaching to young pupils in a elementary school in Spain. These pupils are about six and seven years old.
I usually evaluate two contents per unit -clothes and emotions for example-, a song -in which i also evaluate the grammar and fluency- and their attitude.
When I have to assess them, I like to call them one by one. The waiting pupils can be doing a quiet activity like coloring a mandala.
When I have the pupil in front of me, I make him talk using the target grammar. For example, 'What's this?' 'This is an apple.' 'Do you like apples?' 'Yes, I like apples.'. With this, I assess fruits and I like/ I don't like grammar. I can also make them a T.P.R. activity to assess oral understanding. With songs I can assess both grammar and fluency.
Well, I hope this message can help you. :-D

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:15 pm
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