Critical Thinking

After or in my case, assessing their English

After reading about the different types of assessments used in classrooms and school settings, I have determine that I use diagnostic, formative, both informal and formal, and a year-end summative assessment with my ESOL students. The diagnostic assessments help me to identify a student’s strength and/or weaknesses as I prepare and plan what and how to teach a skill. “Every Teacher’s Guide to Assessments” states, “Additionally, this kind of assessment helps teachers provide instruction to skills that need more work.”  Being able to recognize how much background knowledge a student has about a particular subject or topic is very beneficial in planning, preparing and differentiating instruction, or in my case, assessing their English language proficiency level. The types of diagnostic assessment I use are interviews, observations, checklist, teacher/student conferences, WIDA screener and Next Steps in Guided Reading.

            I use formative assessments to monitor a student’s progress in English proficiency, assess their strengths and weaknesses and provide individual instructional support. I utilize both formal and informal types of assessments to aid in planning appropriate instruction and meeting the individual needs of my students. “Every Teacher’s Guide to Assessments” states, “Teachers use formative assessment techniques to monitor student learning so that they can provide feedback or help along the way.” I use formative assessments to help identify areas that may need improvement. Some formative assessments, both informal and formal I use in my classroom include observations, checklist, writing journals, reading with a partner, turn and talk, retelling, and using visuals, realia or sentence frames to increase their knowledge of a particular topic.

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             I also administer an annual Summative assessment, WIDA ACCESS for ELL 2.0 for accountability purposes under Title III. This federal assessment is given annually to students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The main purpose is to monitor a student’s progress in acquiring academic English and determines when a student can exit out of the ESOL program.

Some of the most effective formative assessments used in my ESOL pull out classes that aid in developing reading, writing, listening and speaking domains of English proficiency and enhance my instruction is visuals, pictures and realia, sentence frames, turn and talk or discussions. Visuals, pictures and realia supports students understanding of the language used in instruction, builds background knowledge, increases vocabulary, it aids in making connections through concrete objects and provides me with immediate feedback while checking for understanding with vocabulary or comprehension. Sentence frames allow me to assess learning by providing a model for constructing sentences and developing the writing and speaking process. Each students has a folder with a variety of sentence frames they use with writing and speaking activities. After a writing activity, I will conference individually with the student to check for understanding and provide supportive observations. Turn and talk or discussions allows me to hear and assess the speaking language a student is using to communicate a topic, I can provide instant assistance or help correct misused words or grammar. After having read “Difference between Formative and Summative Assessment,” “It is a continuous process that observes student’s needs and progress, in the learning process.” I realize all of the assessments I use provide me with valuable information needed to modify instruction and serves as a guide to check for student understanding during the learning process.

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