Purpose of ESL Assessment
According to Alberta Learning, the purpose of ESL assessment is to:
• identify strengths and weaknesses of individual students,
• adjust instruction to build on students’ strengths and alleviate weaknesses,• monitor the effectiveness of instruction,
• provide feedback to students and parents or sponsors, and
• make decisions about the advancement of students to the next level of the program.
Purposes of Assessment of ESL Learners
There are five main purposes of assessment of ESL learners:
(1) screening and identification for Alberta Learning’s funding, district tracking and monitoring,
(2) placement of ESL students in appropriate programs,
(3) program evaluation at school, district and provincial levels,
(4) monitoring of attainment of expected goals and standards and
(5) monitoring of student progress with respect to language development and the learning of content.
Screening and Identification
Screening and identification involve formative assessment techniques. To complete a formative assessment, teachers should:
• ensure that students’ required documents are complete, including school registration, immigration/study permit papers, immunization and medical history, education history and family profile;
• be aware of the child’s first/home language, transience, educational gaps;
• determine the potential for post-traumatic stress, which is common in children from war torn countries;
• be aware of the student’s original culture and also of gender issues related to that culture; and
• administer formal and informal assessment to obtain a broad sample of the student’s proficiency in oral, reading and writing skills. To do this, the teacher should interview the child, collect and examine English writing samples to determine level of English proficiency and collect writing samples in the student’s first language and have someone familiar with the educational system in the student’s country of origin examine and score the samples.