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Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

  • 1.  Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

    Posted 15-01-2017 09:04 PM
    Does anyone have experience creating an assessment tool for a teacher who does not have formal training on language learning and teaching? For example, a faculty member is overseas to teach a course in computer science and meets potential students for our Intensive English Program. We are looking for a simple way to guide the faculty member in completing an assessment of the student's English language level and learning needs. It would not be used for placement or acceptance but as part of the student profile to inform our planning. 

    Thank you for anything you can share!

    ~Meghann
    Buffalo, NY

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    Meghann Perry
    Asst. Director of IEP
    D'Youville College
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  • 2.  RE: Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

    Posted 17-01-2017 08:50 AM
    Dear Meghann Perry,

    In the situation you describe where you need some baseline data for the student's file I would recommend that you have your educator w/o TESOL training gather a writing sample on a topic of your choice (one that is easy enough for a true beginner to write something, that will still give plenty of leeway for an advanced writer to show their command of English).  I would recommend something like "My goals for learning English".  You would also want to get a sense of their reading ability.  You could send a variety of short, but different level readings ranging from very beginning texts to university level texts.  The students could write choose which text to write a summary of based on their confidence level.  I would encourage you to get a speaking sample (digital if possible) and a listening response.  Finally, you could do a vocabulary size test on them.  You can find some here:  TESTS HOME     

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    Randi Freeman, MA TESOL (Monterey Institute of Intl. Studies)
    Online ESL High School Teacher
    Online Ed.D. TESOL student, Anaheim University
    USA
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  • 3.  RE: Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

    Posted 17-01-2017 08:50 AM
    Hi Meghann Perry,

    I would recommend creating a small assessment tool that includes a short survey in the student's first language to get a sense of their own ideas of their language level and why they want to learn English.  Next I would ask students to write in English about the topic "My goals for learning English" because this is open ended enough for a wide range of students to answer and demonstrate what they are able to do.  I would create a small reading section with very short texts of a variety of levels and ask the students to choose one they feel is at their reading level and summarize it.  I would also recommend using one of Paul Nation's vocabulary size tests available online or on paper at www.lextutor.ca/tests.  There is a version of this online vocabulary  test that you can have send the information to an account you set up; however, it is rather long so it can take a long time for low level students to finish this, creating a potential time problem, and if they don't finish and close the test, it does not record any of their answers.  A couple work arounds for that is to give the paper test OR to use the same test, but use your own computer system to record their answers as they go.

    You may want a digital speaking sample and to have the students complete a listening test as well.  Getting this baseline information could help you with planning for the students' needs better.  Many students have unequal skill levels in various skills due to previous contact with English.

    I don't think there should be a problem that the teacher gathering this information (raw data) does not have a TESOL background if you create the "assessment package" yourself.

    Hope this is helpful!
    Cheers,
    Randi

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    Randi Freeman, MA TESOL (Monterey Institute of Intl. Studies)
    Online ESL High School Teacher
    Online Ed.D. TESOL student, Anaheim University
    USA
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  • 4.  RE: Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

    Posted 17-01-2017 08:50 AM
    I think, if you're just trying to get a general idea, you could work on these components:

    - Write a list of oral questions of slowly increasing difficulty.  As long as the student is able to answer the question clearly, move on to the next question.
    - Take a reading from the beginning of each level of reading text you use, starting with your lowest level.  As with the oral questions, see how the student does before giving the next one.
    - Create some composition prompts - be sure to include enough information in the prompt for the student to understand clearly what is expected.

    Remember, the teacher can always scan and email you the results.

    Also remember that, whatever is used, word will spread like wildfire among interested students, and may as a result not consistently reflect the students' actual levels of English proficiency.

    Karen

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    Karen Stanley
    Professor, Academic ESL
    Central Piedmont Community College
    Charlotte, NC USA
    karen.stanley@cpcc.edu
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  • 5.  RE: Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

    Posted 17-01-2017 08:50 AM
    Hi, Meghann,

    One assessment to consider is the Test of Written English developed by the Educational Testing Service, which can be found at https://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/TOEFL/pdf/tweguid.pdf. By itself, it can provide a rough measure of English proficiency (excluding spoken). Depending on the country, the foreign university may be able to provide students' scores on the English portion of the country's college entrance exam. I found scores on the test given to Chinese high school students to be a good indicator of English proficiency, except for spoken English, which was not tested. If the TWE is used, at least two scorers need to grade the writing sample with a third scorer in case the two primary scores are 2 or more points apart. Finally, if the student has taken the IELTS or TOFEL (even if they didn't pass), a copy of the scores could be requested. 

    Hope this helps. 

    Dayna

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    Dayna Foster
    Adjunct Instructor
    Indian River State College
    Okeechobee, FL
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  • 6.  RE: Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

    Posted 19-01-2017 10:41 AM
    In keeping with Ms. Perry's comment about an easy writing prompt, here is one that I think is a simple prompt but retrieves complex information about the student: Write 3 paragraphs that describe 3 apps that you regularly use on your phone. First, what is this app for? Second, how does this app enrich your life?

    The first question allows the teacher to assess students proficiency in describing (using descriptive vocabulary, adjectives, and verbs.) The second question probes more deeply to assess if they have critical thinking skills, including self-reflection and connections to intrapersonal domains. (For some rhetorical cultures, this is outside of a normal writing task, thus a deeper awareness of metalinguistic structures presents itself if they respond coherently. Beginner and intermediate writers will not be able to do this well.)

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    Robert Bohning
    Research Instructor
    Zayed University
    Abu Dhabi, UAE
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  • 7.  RE: Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

    Posted 18-01-2017 09:21 AM

    Hi Meghann!

    “…who does not have formal training on language learning and teaching?”

    I privately taught a female adult student one-on-one who was born and raised overseas with very little knowledge of English language.  I had developed her learning curriculum from scratch—including language assessment for all four areas of English acquisition domain, (i.e., reading; writing; speaking; and listening). 

    For Reading assessment:  I had her read a very short story I know she will have some control expressing the information back to me without great difficulty describing the material—orally.  After the reading, I gave her my own teacher’s prepared [reading with comprehension] multiple choice answer sheet—based on the story she had finished reading.  I collected this assessment and was returned to the student for Informative Assessment.   

    Writing:  I asked my student to write a short response from the short story she just read and was returned to her for Informative Assessment. 

    Speaking:  My student was asked to respond to a Q&A learning format, orally—derived directly from the same story she had just read, (i.e., tell me what the story says how Cinderella handled the difficult situation with her step-mother and sisters—who forbid her from attending the ball at the prince palace).   

    Listening:  A tape-recorder was on—to record the student reading-rate or voice—as she slowly read the short story and was replayed for comprehension emphasis and foreign accent refinement.  I had also utilized the online English language listening websites as supplemental.   

    The above assessments were used to measure her proficiency—as well as for mastery and ease.  I taught ESL in public school in my county [part-time] while I was completing my master’s program in TESOL—for professional studies.  Please note that in public school the students’ learning materials are all provided by the school themselves and must be closely followed due primarily to end-of-the-year higher grade level passing promotion students’ assessments—per statewide law in my state.  I was not permitted to create my own ESL curriculum development or ideas. 

    There are also countless language assessments now available that can be ordered—designed for ESL educators for purchase.  Please click this site for sampling:   https://www.casas.org/about-casas



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    MerriLee Leonard
    ESL Adult Students Instructor
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  • 8.  RE: Assessment Tools for educators w/o TESOL training

    Posted 18-01-2017 09:21 AM
    https://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/TOEFL/pdf/tweguid.pdf

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    Sheri South
    Canada
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