Plenary 1 presentation alexis a. lopez


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Plenary 1 presentation alexis a. lopez

  1. 1. Assessing Language Skills: Trends and Challenges Alexis A. López Congreso de aprendizaje y enseñanza de idiomas Universidad ICESI “ Las cuatro habilidades: ideas prácticas para profesores innovadores”  Cali, Noviembre 25 y 26, 2011
  2. 2. Effective Teaching <ul><li>What makes our teaching effective? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we know that we are effective teachers? </li></ul><ul><li>What do effective teachers do? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Voices from Teachers <ul><li>“ I’m an eclectic teacher.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ My class is very communicative.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I use task-based teaching.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I always support my students.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I use authentic activities and materials.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ My classes are student-centered.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I promote autonomous learning.” </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>“ My activities are very engaging.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I never use Spanish in my classroom.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ My students like my classes.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I teach my students learning strategies.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ My English is very good.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I always plan my classes.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I studied at Universidad [Insert Name].” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key Questions <ul><li>Are my students learning? </li></ul><ul><li>What do my students know? </li></ul><ul><li>What can my students do? </li></ul><ul><li>What are my students’ strengths and weaknesses? </li></ul><ul><li>What can I do to help my students learn the language? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Language Assessment <ul><li>Language assessment is any process used to gather information about student learning to improve or facilitate language learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Standardized assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Classroom assessment </li></ul>
  7. 7. Role of Language Assessment <ul><li>Assessment plays a key role in the teaching and learning of a second or foreign language. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the only means teachers have to verify that their students are actually learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Through classroom assessment we can: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrate teaching and learning. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve student learning. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve teaching. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Usefulness of Language Assessment <ul><li>Language assessment is a very useful process that has the power to inform and the power to influence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They provide information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They can generate changes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They can guide the decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>process. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Information <ul><li>Language assessment provides valuable information about different aspects of the education system: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Program </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Changes <ul><li>Language assessment has the potential to generate changes in individuals’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>perceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>behaviors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>attitudes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>motivation </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Decision-Making Process <ul><li>Language assessment provides guidance on the decisions teachers need to make in the classroom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>who passes/fails </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what to do next </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what to reinforce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>when to move on </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Assessments are even more powerful if they are the only criteria used to make critical decisions that could have an impact in the educational system and its stakeholders. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Abuses <ul><li>Tests and testing systems are subject to abuse because test scores and test interpretations are put to a host of different uses. </li></ul><ul><li>Tests are used unethically for other purposes than they were originally intended for. </li></ul><ul><li>To avoid abuses, the purpose of any test should be made explicit and public. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Misuses <ul><li>To exercise power and control </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to control attendance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to control discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to punish </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to threaten </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. The Nature of Assessment <ul><li>Assessment of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment for learning </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment as learning </li></ul>
  16. 16. Assessment of Learning <ul><li>Assessment is summative in nature. </li></ul><ul><li>It is used for accountability purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>It documents how much the students have learned. </li></ul><ul><li>The main goal of assessment is to assign a grade </li></ul>
  17. 17. Assessment for Learning <ul><li>Assessment is formative in nature. </li></ul><ul><li>It is used to improve the language learning process. </li></ul><ul><li>It provides information about what students have to learn, how much they have learned, and what they need to do to improve. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Assessment as Learning <ul><li>Assessment is an integral part of the teaching-learning process. </li></ul><ul><li>Each assessment provides the learners an opportunity to continue learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment provides students with an opportunity to use the language in “real-life” tasks. </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Assessment Process <ul><li>Gather information about what students know and can do. </li></ul><ul><li>Use different ways to collect information. </li></ul><ul><li>Quantify the information if needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Interpret and judge the information. </li></ul><ul><li>Make decisions based on these interpretations. </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat process. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Key Terms <ul><li>Assessment : to gather information about students, about student learning </li></ul><ul><li>Testing : one way to gather information </li></ul><ul><li>Measurement : quantify the information </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation : judge the information </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul>
  22. 22. Persistent Problem <ul><li>There seems to be a disconnect between theory and practice when it comes to assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>What teacher believe is not exactly what teachers practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Most language assessment practices are not appropriate. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Colombian Context <ul><li>There is a lack of teacher education and teacher training in language assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a lot of emphasis on language teaching, but not necessarily on language assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a generalized negative perception about assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a tendency to simply equate assessment to grades. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Recent Events <ul><li>National Bilingual Program </li></ul><ul><li>2008: The year of evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Decree 1290 </li></ul>
  25. 25. Invitation <ul><li>Reflect on how you are currently using language assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Make an effort to train yourself on using language assessment appropriately. </li></ul><ul><li>Make language assessment </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>General Recommendations </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>The assessment process is democratic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Democratic assessment is an assessment process in which all stakeholders participate actively. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s a process that is people-centered. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s a way to empower stakeholders. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s a process where students have control of their own learning. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s a process that allows students to reflect on their own learning (i.e. self-assessment and peer-assessment) in order to improve. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>The assessment process must be clear </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The purpose of the assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What to assess </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How you assess </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When to assess </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to score the assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to interpret the assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How the assessment is used </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>Give appropriate instructions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructions should be clear. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The language of the instructions should match the language level of the students. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All students must have a clear understanding of what they have to do to demonstrate their knowledge, abilities or competence. </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Make assessment an ongoing process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers assess at the beginning of the teaching-learning process (diagnostic assessment). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers assess during the process (formative assessment). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers assess at the end of the process (summative assessment). </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Assess using different criteria </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different assessment instruments. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different types of tasks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different ways to interpret assessments. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Assessment Options (1) <ul><li>Formal Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Informal Assessment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Observations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions and answers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher-student conferences </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Assessment Options (2) <ul><li>Teacher-made tests, self-assessment, peer-assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Selected-response tasks, constructed-response tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>Performance-based tasks (portfolios, essays, presentations, debates, info-gaps, role-plays, projects, etc.). </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>Use “authentic” assessments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It allows teachers to make valid inferences about your students. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It will enhance the students ability to transfer skills. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Authentic Assessment <ul><li>A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform ‘real-world’ tasks or ‘real-classroom’ tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Examples
  37. 37. <ul><li>Contextualize assessments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It gives the assessment task a purpose. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It will allow students to make connections. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It will allow students to apply their knowledge. </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Example <ul><li>Decontextualized : Write three sentences about Colombia. </li></ul><ul><li>Contextualized : The school wants people to get to know our beautiful country. For this reason, the principal is asking students to write sentences to describe Colombia. Write three sentences about Colombia and post them in the bulleting board . </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>Use appropriate tasks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The level of the tasks should be appropriate according to the students’ needs and interests. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tasks should reflect the students’ language level, age, interests, and cognitive development. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The tasks should give all students the opportunity to demonstrate all their language knowledge and abilities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tasks should be engaging and fun for students. </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. <ul><li>Use integrated assessments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not assess skills (e.g. reading, listening, writing, speaking, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation) in isolation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use tasks that require students to use more than one skill or sub-skill in order to complete it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s more authentic. </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>Have clear scoring procedures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers must have a clear systematic scoring scheme. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These scoring procedures should allow teachers to consistently score students’ performances. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This scoring scheme should inform teachers and students where the students should be, where they are, and what they need to do get there. </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. <ul><li>Align assessments to instruction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment tasks should aligned to instruction. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tasks should be similar to the tasks that are done in class. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The cognitive level of the assessment tasks are similar to the ones on the classroom tasks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This allows students to transfer what they are learning in class during the assessment. </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. <ul><li>Empower your students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students are the central part of the assessment process. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students should accept this responsibility and take control of their learning process. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make assessment a democratic process. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use self-assessment and peer-assessment. </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. <ul><li>Provide feedback to your students (formative assessment) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>immediate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ongoing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>relevant </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45. Feedback <ul><li>Teachers should provide guide and feedback that will allow students to enhance the learning process: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback is immediate and ongoing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback highlights the students’ strengths and limitations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students should make sense of the feedback. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide qualitative feedback (descriptive). </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. <ul><li>Assessment should be fair. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The assessment should provide all students an equal opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment items or tasks should be free of any bias and should not offend anyone. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The items/tasks should not favor any specific group of language learners (female/male, old/young, etc.). </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. It’s Fair <ul><li>The assessment should provide all students an equal opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment items or tasks should be free of any bias and should not offend anyone. </li></ul><ul><li>The items/tasks should not favor any specific group of language learners (female/male, old/young, etc.). </li></ul>
  48. 48. Examples <ul><li>Describe your favorite basketball team. </li></ul><ul><li>Write a paragraph describing your last vacation trip. </li></ul><ul><li>Describe what you do with your father on Sundays. </li></ul><ul><li>Write an essay explaining why men are better than women. </li></ul>
  49. 49. Your Challenge <ul><li>Make sure that you are trained on how to use language assessments appropriately. </li></ul><ul><li>Contribute changing the negative perceptions that people have about assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Start first by making sure you have a positive perception about assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Use an assessment system that is truly democratic. </li></ul>
  50. 50. Thank you! Alexis A. López [email_address]