Discussion onFormal and Informal Assessments in English Second Language Classrooms
Discussionon Formal and Informal Assessments in English Second LanguageClassrooms
Teachers frequently access their students’ academic progress.Different forms are used to assess. Tests help teachers to haveknowledge about student`s level of understanding. Besides,assessments direct teachers to plan what to teach in the proceedingclass and areas that will require emphasis. The paper will discussformal and informal assessments in English Second Language classes.
Informal assessments are also called alternative assessment. Theyinvolve the use of class projects, group activities, and individualpresentations. They allow teachers to follow the progress of theirstudents often. The regular assessments offer close check of thestudent`s progress in an academic year. Through the informalassessments, teachers can target specific problem affecting thestudents. After identifying the problem, they can intervene in timebefore it is late to help the student (Bailey,Allison & Heritage, 2014).
Formal assessments are carried by testing the students’ potentials.The type of evaluation provide teachers and a student with what hasbeen understood in class and areas that need to be reviewed. To makea balanced assessment, the teacher should avoid numerical or lettergrade which is a comparison of students` potentials. Numericalgrading negatively affects learners where those with low grades getthe perception of been academically inferior which lowers theiresteem. Instead, a student should be directed to areas that they needto improve and how to go about it (Salinas,Fránquiz & Guberman, 2006).
As a result, during grading, they should use rubric method whichensures the teacher is focused on the accessed areas. Rubric involvescovering all language skills. It should be modified according to thestudent’s competence in the language under study.
Different strategies can be used to teach vocabulary. The type ofapproach to be used should be based on the potential of the students.Some of the strategies include using dictionaries, introducing newvocabularies, giving weekly quizzes, have the students to do freewriting, use oral recitations among others ((Ulanoff& Pucci, 1993). I prefer the use of dictionaries tolearn and understand new vocabularies.
Use of a dictionary is effective in learning vocabularies as studentswill be in a position to understand different meaning ofvocabularies. Besides, the learners will get synonyms to the wordsthey are searching. Similarly, a dictionary will assist students onhow to pronounce vocabularies.
Sheltered English instructions (SEI) is a case where teachers useinstructional approach for English language learners and who areabove the beginners level. The aim of SEI is to develop content-areaknowledge, improve academic skills and expand the Englishproficiency. One of the strategies used in SEI classroom is bymodeling and cognitive approach (Bailey,Allison & Heritage, 2014). The method gives timefor repeated practice where students get procedural understanding,one strategy at a time before another is introduced.
The strategy worked as it allows the student to have a background ofwhat they are learning. Similarly, the strategy ensures there is nooverlapping of ideas hence students do not get confused. Besides, therepetition of ideas ensures the learners have mastered the conceptbefore another one is introduced (Bailey,Allison & Heritage, 2014).
The teaching concepts were tied to the student’s background. When astudents have good background information, they will have an easytime understanding new but related concepts. The knowledge istransferred from what students learned in the introduction, and theycan relate with other concepts.
In conclusion, proper assessment methods should be used to accessstudents. The educators should learn the potential of their studentsbefore assessing them. The form of giving feedbacks should ensurestudents are not graded in a way that they will feel academicallyinferior when compared with others. Instead, the feedback shouldindicate the weak areas of the student and help them to handle theproblems.
Bailey,Allison L., & Heritage, M. (2014). Therole of language learning progressions in
improvedinstruction and assessment of English language learners. TESOLQuarterly, 48(3),480-506.
SalinasC., Fránquiz M. & Guberman, (2006). Introducinghistorical thinking to second
languagelearners: Exploring what students know and what they want toknow. TheSocial Studies, 97(5),203-207.
Ulanoff& Pucci (1993). IsConcurrent-Translation or Preview-Review More Effective in
PromotingSecond Language Vocabulary Acquisition?.