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Lector dr.

Monica Oprescu Evaluation and assessment


I.Definitions II. Aspects of evaluation 1.Assessment: formative, summative 2.Feedback and correction 3.Testing 4. Self-assessment; I.Definitions Evaluation and assessment are two terms sometimes used interchangeably, but there are clear distinctions between them which have been revealed by many methodologists. Evaluation is a broader term, which refers to a wider range of processes (Nunan 1995: 183), including assessment. According to James Dean Brown, evaluation is the systematic collection and analysis of all relevant information necessary to promote the improvement of a curriculum, and assess its effectiveness and efficiency, as well as the participants attitudes within the context of the particular institutions involved. (1989: 223) Assessment is just a part of evaluation, concerning certain aspects of the process. It refers to the processes and procedures whereby we determine what learners are able to do in the target language (Nunan, 1995: 183). It is important for the teachers to assess the students work, their progress and performance. II. Aspects of evaluation: 1.Assessment: formative, focussed on the process, and summative, focussed on the product;

The two types of assessment - formative, focussed on the process, and summative, focussed on the product - are both used in ESL classes. These two approaches are complementary and the methods used are both traditional and modern. The traditional means of assessment (tests, oral assessment) and the modern ones (portfolios, interviews, journals, project work, self/peer assessment, mentioned by Penny Ur(1996), should be used complementarily. The reasons for which assessment is used are the following: identifying progress, identifying if the objectives have been achieved by the students and diagnosing the success and failure of the process. The information obtained should be used in a positive manner, to help the teacher adapt the methods, techniques, activities, plans and materials to the requirements of the class. A very important element is the orientation towards the positive aspect of assessment, which should be done in a non threatening way, in an objective manner. This approach leads to an efficient learning and teaching process devoid of stress and negative feelings. Both learning and teaching are processes that need to be assessed. The traditional approach is centred on the teacher who is the assessor of the students performances. The focus should be on language and on content, according to the types of activities used. Students feelings should be taken into consideration because they need to understand what their mistakes are in order to work harder and to improve their language. The assessment ought to be done with a lot of tact because: Jeremy Harmer and other methodologists consider that the role of the student is very important. The involvement of the students in the assessment process is a key element which leads to the improvement of the learning process. Becoming aware of their mistakes and flaws, students will reflect upon the way they learn, this leading to learner autonomy (Harmer 2004: 103). There are two strategies

that can be used: the assessment of the students by other students and selfassessment, these being achieved through comments, grades, and reflections. 2.Feedback and correction are other important aspects during ESL classes, which should also be done with subtlety, in a positive manner, with the purpose of teaching. Harmer (2004) divides feedback into: -feedback on oral work; -feedback on written work. Correction and feedback should concern both form and content and they should take into consideration the nature of the activity (oral, written) and its purpose (accuracy or fluency). 3.Testing Types of tests: Placement tests are used in order to place students in the right class, according to their level. They are based on a syllabus /coursebook used and test grammar, vocabulary and the 4 skills. Diagnostic tests are used to expose learner difficulties, gaps in the knowledge and skill deficiencies in a course. (Harmer, 2004:321) Progress/achievement tests are used to determine the learners progress in relation to the syllabus/coursebook they are following. They are reliable only if they contain test items students are familiar with. At the end of a semester such tests should reflect progress, not failure. They should also be used to determine the following steps in teaching. Proficiency tests give a general picture of students knowledge and ability (Harmer, 2004:321), being useful if the students want to be admitted to a foreign university, get a job or obtain a certificate. Characteristics of a good test

Validity a test is valid if it tests what it is supposed to test. Reliability a good test should give consistent results. Types of test items Indirect test items meant to test grammar and vocabulary. They measure knowledge and ability in language. Indirect test item types: multiple choice questions, cloze sentences, transformation and paraphrase, sentence re-ordering. Direct test items they ask the students to perform the communicative skill that is being tested. They are used to test the four skills and they try to replicate real-life language use as much as possible. Assessment criteria (see Hughes, 1989): -speaking - grammar and vocabulary, fluency, pronunciation and interactive communication. - writing - the content, the accuracy, register, cohesion and organisation of the text, the range of vocabulary and the target of the text. -listening and reading - understanding specific information, grasping the main ideas, identifying discourse markers. The main skills tested are skimming, scanning, predicting, deducing meaning from context. Assessment tehniques: 1) assessing grammar and vocabulary: -fill-in exercises; -matching exercises; -multiple choice exercises; -rephrasing exercises; 2) assessing speaking -an interview with the candidate; -describing pictures;

-role play activities; -monologue on a given topic (school, job, family, friends, hobbies, interests). 3) assessing writing -writing compositions on different topics; -writing stories; -writing formal and informal letters; -writing articles. 4) assessing reading and listening -multiple choice exercises; -fill in exercises; -answering questions; -completing charts; -matching exercises; -summarising exercises in the case of reading; -identifying speakers or attitudes in the case of listening. 4.Self-assessment Jeremy Harmer and other methodologists consider that the role of the student is very important. The involvement of the students in the assessment process is a key element which leads to the improvement of the learning process. Becoming aware of their mistakes and flaws, students will reflect upon the way they learn, this leading to learner autonomy (Harmer 2004: 103). There are two strategies that can be used: the assessment of the students by other students and selfassessment, these being achieved through comments, grades, and reflections. These are some essential elements of the evaluation process, concerning teaching and learning. These are achieved through the use of methods specific for the teaching of English as a foreign language.
Bibliography:

Hughes, A. 1989. Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Harmer, J. 2004. The Practice of English Language Teaching. London: Longman. Scrivener, J. 1994. Learning Teaching. Oxford: MacMillan Heinemann.