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~i', AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT


I:,':,:. FOR
I'.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE
.
LEARNERS
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PRACTICAL APPROACHES , .
FOR TEACHERS
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'. J. MICHAEL O'MALLEY
LORRAINE VALDEZ PIERCE

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Vice PrtsiMnt nnd


DiredOT uf Product Dt1.!elopmrot:
Judith M. Bittinger . ~
£,xeculive Editor.
Elinor Chamas
Editorial:
Clare Siska
", Urotr Design, .1nll!TioT Design. and Production:
Will'rVinslow. Graphic Associates t
Photography: !
" Kathy Berry, Polly Colwell, Carmen Danies, '
.Ellen Egan, Ben SweCKer
_,Production and i\fanufacturing: .
.James W. Gibbons I

VJe would like to thank th e following teachl,;


.-.;fot agreeing to appear in photographs or for. . tJ.;, ~.: :
akeeing to let us: take picmres in their clasS-
rooms. In Arlington County Public Schools; the
teachers are Barbara Fagan. Kate Kane, Robin
pten.Tejada, Laura McDermott, and Elizabeth
'Varela; in Fairfax County Public Schools, the
teacher is Kav Huston; in Prince William Count\-"
~:Ptiblic Sch~ls. the.teachers' are Merrille Bittle.'
. Ginette Cain, Kate Dail, v"'mcent DiPaolo, Alice
'..Dzanis.]ennifer Foust, Heverly Hartung, Paul
Jacobs. Becky PatonelZ.John Robinson, and
Maria Yackshaw.
We would also like to express our. appreciation
to the parents of students in the follo\\ing I:!
.. \',
Virginia schools for permitting a photograph of
i
their children to appear"in the book: Gunswl1
Middle School, Wakefield High School, and
WillianiS~j,r-g Middle School (Arlington County
Public Sch'ools); Rolling Valley Elementary ..';
School (FamaJl County Pubiic Schools); and
Beville'Middle School, Fred Lynn Middle
School, Henderson Elementary School,
McAuliffe Elementary School, and Woodbridge
High School (Prince William County Public
. , Schools).

'Copyright@ 1996 by Addison-Wesley Publishing


'Company, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of
this publica:9on may be reproduced.. stored in a .
.'reirieva1 system, or transmitted in ~y form or
by any means. electronic, "mechanical, photo-
.;,'
copying, recording. or otherwise, ""ithout the
prior written permission of the publisher.
t'~L;~,:~~~nted
in the United States. of America
Ii J~?J>:.ISBN: (}-201-59151'{)

"-:;:);~X' 15 16 17 - eRS -~0706

See'th<Il),<!eJ<ofFigures and Reproducibles,


,page vii!;:~o.••a list of pages .that may be repro-
duced'for d3SSroomuse. ' " .

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During the past 15 years. !Wothemes have


dominated public discourse on education in
North America: (1) the perceived need for public
schools to demonstrate more accountability to the
societies that fund them, and (2) wavsin which
schools should accommodate to the rapid growth ,""' ..'
in cultural and linguistic diversity in urban centers;.,.
and, specifically, ways of addressing the persistent
educational underachievement of many students
from culturally diverse backgrounds.
Debates on these issues have been volatile and . .1
frequently confused. (See Cummins and Sayers,
1995,' for a review). Not surprisingl\'. policy initia-
tives have often been contradictory. For example, "..,
in SOlliestates calls for greater accountability have .,':;
been translated into increased use of standardized'
tests, while in others authentic assessment approach- ',!:.
es have been vigorously pursued. Similarly, in' J1

some contexts we find examples of innovative and '-';;. ' ..,i ~':~. . ~
visionary approaches to the instruction of English ..d.'
language learners (ELLs) at the same time as poli-.;f.
cy-makers in other contexts are reverting to dis- . ."11
credited "sink-or-S',im" programs in response to •..•.1.
.the renewed xenophobic rhetoric against all forms >'•• ~~
of diversity. .;;
Issues of diversity and assessment have intersect- .,',/: '-~

ed frequently throughout this century. In the early.


decades, standardized IQ tests were mobilized by',
eugenics advocates in order to weed out and repa- .)
triate what they called "feeble-minded aliens. " .;.)
. ;j"

Standardized tests, together with ineffective educa- "


tional programs, were also responsible for the mas-
sive over-representation of cultura1ly diverse stu-
dents in special education programs which came ..'f
to public attention during the 1960s and 1970s. '1
More recently, the concern has been that because
it usually requires at least five years for ELL stu-
.~.
1. Cummins.]., and D. Sayers. 1995. BraueNtw Sdwols: ChaJlirigi~
CulJ.uralllliteracy thruugh Global uarning NdiL'OTIu.New York: SL ~j .

Martin's Press. '

iii
dents to catch up academically in English. stan. •• that are not specilic ti, the cllrrict,hun of a'l" class- ""
dardized achievement tests are likelyto underesti. rOOIl1 and certainly

ELL studen ts,


.'nor 10 tht, learning- histories of
,
;mate students' academic progress and prJtential to
a very significant extent. This form of inappropri- "'bat many teachers and administrators h'I\'e not
ate assessment can distort both program place. realized up to this point is that authentic assess-
ment and teachers academic expectations for ELL ment is highly ~ost-eflectiveboth from a time per-
srodents. spective and fro~, the perspecti,'e of maximizing
When these specific concerns about the uses of the impact of instruction. As the authors point out,-,
standardized tests with culturally diverse students assessment and instruction are two interlocking
, are added to the more general concerns that such and interdependent components of any education-. , ,t
tests focus primarily on lower-levelcognitive skills al progtanl. Thus, the assessment procedures
and tend to squeeze higher-order thinking and described in this volume are not e"ternalto the
creative writing out of the curriculum, the ratio- instructional process: they are an integral part of
nale for exploring alternatives is compelling it. They'formalize and organize the monitoring of
indeed. Teachers have welcomed the possibility of I student progress that many teachers do intuitively
assessment strategies that permit students to and in a non-systematic way.This permits teachers
demonstrate the entire scope of what thev have to discover much more about their students' prior
,learned and that provide guidance to both teach. knowledge, language needs, and learning progress
ers and students about effective directions for con- and greatly incn,ases the effectivenessof feedback
tinued learning. Howe,'er, they have also been thev give to students. Bycontrast, most standard- '",
concerned and sometimes frustrated by'the fact ized assessment is an "add-on- process that takes ~'
that authentic assessment procedures have time awayfrom and frequently conu'ibutes ,'ery lit.
tle [0 instruction apart from a score \'llhose :lccura-' ..~",-:
. 'appeared time-<:onsuming and cumberS"Jmeand
in some cases overly subjective. cy for ELL students is questionable.
This volume, I believe, is the answer to the prayers An additional wavin which the authentic assesS-:
of many teachers and administrators. J. \1ichael ment approach ad~ocated by the autl]O'rscon-
"';' O'Malley and Lorraine Valdez Pierce ha,'e synthe- tributes to instruction is through the creati,'e involve-
sized in a lucid, practical, and theoretically sophis- ment of students in all phases of the proce,ss. .',
ticated way the major strategies for implementing Students are respected as parmers in a learning y", ,
authentic assessment in the classroom and the relationship. They are active constructors of their'C "
school as a whole. Procedures for ensuring reliabil- own knowledge and do not have to be coerced
"ityand validity are clearly outlined in language and into learning. Establishment of this kind of collab-
,content areas across the curriculum, therebyaddress- orative relationship between teacher and student is
ing concerns that authentic assessment entails sac- fundamental to generating a sense of trust and !1,l".

rificing objectivity. In fact, it is very clear from the .~ belonging among all students, but especially so .
procedures and examples discussed throughout among ELL students. Many ELL students are try- , :~t
'
,this volume that it is only through authentic assess- ing to find their wayin the borderlands between,
ment that real validity can be attained. This is par- cultures and tile collaborative teacher-student rela-
ticularly the case for ELL students. Authentic tionship established in the context of authentic
assessment is tied directly to the curriculum that asseSsmentgenerates a sense of confidence, trust, ',~
students have experienced within the classroom, and power that fuels students' classroom participa-,
thereby permitting students to demonstrate the tion.
,linguistic and academic progress that they have Aswe move towards the next millennium in an
made and the extent to which they have attained ,age of information explosion, it is common to
cUrricular goals that are realistic for the time peri- hear educators, business leaders, and policy-mak-
od they have been learning English. Bv contrast, ers stress the need for life-long learning. Schools ,,'
most standardized tests assess knowledge and skills should be producing students who know how to
,I

IV
't their own learning goals and who are capable
nd motivated to pursue these goals dficiently.. ,_,',
he authors of this timely volume have provided a f .

lueprint for how educators can guide.r:LL stu-


lents to take control of their own learning and
come independent thinkers and users oflan-
age. They have also shown hO',' schools can
espond to calls for accountabi~i~' in ways that aug-
ent and enhance the learning process rather
'.
han subtract from it. .'"
.'.J'~ l: .

im Cummins
roJessar,Curriculum Department ,
lario Institu!e Jor Studies in Edlication ;" 1-",

ece1ilber 1995 '" ".'-~


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Foreword iii
Index of Figures and Reproducibles "Ill

Preface x

1. MovingTowardAuthenticAssessment I • Assessment of English Language Learning StudentS


• Definition of Authentic Assessment 4 " ,
• Purposes of this Book and Target Audience 6
/~:...
't~-." ., Overview of the Book .7

, 2 DesigningAuthenticAssessment 9: • Approaches to Teaching and Learning 10


• Types of Authentic Assessment 11
• Awareness of Authentic Assessments 14
• Designing Authentic Assessments. 17
• Technical Quality of Authentic Assessments 19 .
• Issues in Designing Authentic Assessment 27,
• Conclusion 31 .
• Application Acti\ities 32

.3 Portfolio Assessment 33 o Instructional Context 34


• \\lnat a Portfolio Is and Isn't 35"
o Self-Assessment: The Key to Portfolios 38
• Teacher Assessment 42
• Collaborative Assessment 43 -j-'
..~-"f~,:
.
• Getting Started with Portfolios 46
. 0 .Managing Portfolios 51
..
.• Using Portfolio Assessment in Instruction 52
• Conclusion 54.
, • Application Activities 56

4 Oral LanguageAssessment 57 • Nature of Oral Language 58


• Authentic Assessment of Oral Language 63
o Using Oral Language Assessment in Instruction
o Conclusion 91
• Application Activities 92
. ,
5 Reading Assessment 93. • Nature of Reading in School 94
: 0 Authentic'Assessment of Reading .98
• Using Reading Assessment in Instruction I27'~'•
-":..:
• Conclusion 132 . . \-".
o Application Acti,ities 133 "

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6 Writing Assessment 135 • Nature of Writing in School 136


,. • Authentic Assessmentof Writing 139
• UsingWriting Assessmentin Instruction 156
• Conclusion 160
• Application Acti,ities 161

I
,
I 7 Content Area Assessment 163 .• Content Area Instruction in Schools 164
,
• Authentic Assessmentin Content Areas 174
• Using Content Area Assessment in Instruction 197
• Conclusion 197
.':-- ".' • Application Aeti,ities 199

8 Examples from the Classroom 201 • Talk Show 204


• Geoboard 209
• Magner Experiment 211
• Interpreting Portfolio Entries 215
• Reading ResponseTime 217
• Anecdoul Records 220
• Book Tdks: Integrated Reading Assessment 223

Appendix 229 Sample Entries from Roxana's Portfolio

Glossan- 237
References 241
Index of Classroom-basedAssessmentTechniques 253
Index 255

Il vii.
~. _"C'; __~_.'.~ ... ~_.e,_.__,,_ .... .'~~.-.---_~~~' ...~,..._~,.... .-_'1

C:INDEX OF FIGURES
AND REPRODUCmLES

Those figures designated by a • may be repro- 4.12., Oral Language AsseSsment Activity
duced for classroom use. Matrix
4.13" Video Clip Student Response Sheet
.2.1 Types of Authentic Assessments 12 4.14 '. Oral Language Scoring Rubric:
2.2 • Authentic Assessment Inventory for Information Gap 8f
15 4.15. Self-Assessment for an Oral Report 88,
Goal Setting
2.3 • Checklist for Designing Authentic
Assessments , 16. 5,1 ,'Reading'AssessmentMatching
2.4 How to Identify Student'Reactions to ,,'Purpose to'Performance Tasks ,98
Authentic Assessments ' .. ,20 '.' 5.2: i;ReadingAssessment Planning M,atrix 100
Sample Holistic Scoring Rubric for 5.3 • Self-Assessmeinof Emergeln 'Reading 101
2.5
22 5.4 • Self-Assessment Reading Survey 103
Writing Samples
2.6 • Rater Scoring Record 24 5.5 • Self-Assessment of Reading Activities 104
5.6 • Self-Assessment of Reading Strategies 105
What a c;;ood Writer Can Do 40 5.7 - ' Developmental Reading Rubric 107
3.1
Portfolio Partners 41 5.8 ESL Reading Rubric 1Q8
3.2
Setting Improvement Goals 42 5.9 Story Map 109
3.3
'3.4 • Portfolio Conference Questions 44 5.10' Story ReteIIing Checklist 110 ,
45 5.11 Reading Log: Books 1 Have Read 112
3.5 • Portfolio Review Guide
48, 5.12 ,Literature Response Scoring Rubric 113
3.6 • Portfolio Summary Sheet
3,7 • Sample Parent Letter .' 50 5.13' Self-Assessment: Literature
3.8 • Portfolio Evaluation Summary 53 Discussion Group 115)
3.9 • Portfolio Review Notes 55 5.14' Literature Discussion Group Teacher '" ..~
Observation Checklist 1i6
'- '. 4.1, ," Communicative Language Functions 61 . ,,5.15 'Sample ClozePassage 111,
.4.2 Academic Language Functions 625.16 SarnpleReading Text with
4.3 Oral Language Assessment Planning' . .,'''-'''.ComprehensionQuestions, . • 119
I' ., Matrix, 64; 5.17' Think-Aloud Checklist 12i
4.4 " HolisticOral Language Scoring Rubric 67' 5.18' ,Reading Skills/Strategies Checklist 122
. 1.5.," .;An.i1y1;ic.QraILanguage Scoring Rubric 68 5.19' Emergent Literacy Checkli.st 123
4.6 •. Self'-~ent of Oral Language 70 5.20' Anecdotal Record 1~6
'. '.4.7' Self-~ssinent of A~ademic Language 5.21 • Emergent Literacy Portfolio 128
F~ctions , '.' 71 5.22' Elementary Reading/Writing Portfolio
4.8 • 'Self-Assessment of Corrimunication Cover Sheet 129
. Srrategie~'in~UngJage ,72, .5.23+.Middle School Reading/Writing , f. r

4.9 • Self-Asse;sm~ntoiSpeakingAbility .73 . '.Portfolio Cover Sheet , , 130


,4.10' Self-Assessment ofPiirti~pationin ' ' " ,5.24 t, High Sc'hooi'Reading/wriiliiit •
Groups .' '";;:':~~:;' 74 '. Portfolio Cover Sheet '
4.11. Peer, Feedbacl;<Fo~:'~laining' a ;,c,"
Process' 75
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6.1 HolistingsCoring Rubric for Writing 8.1 Overview of Authentic ~ent"
Assessment with ELL Students 143 Examples,." 202
6.2 Analytic Scoring Rubric for Writing 145 8.2 • ReadingJourmiI:, )\'- ':. ':d!'.:"'<;;;;':'" ::e',""
6.3, • Developrilental Descriptors of Writing 146 What Do You Feel, Think, ana Like?, "205,,
'6,4:., Process Writing Checklist 149 8.3 • Talk Show Rating Scale- h,~,~,~:t'1!~*:~,:'",206 '
i 6:5' • Summary Evaluation Guidelines 152 8.4 • Self-Assessment of Speaking q.t"'&f*~:207
16.6 • Survey of Writing Interest and 8.5 • Group Report Form: -;t.,,,,c.c'-;'~.~''''''
Awareness 154
6.'7 ,. Self-Assessment of Writing Strategies i55 8.6 • ~~~~~~:;~~;::r~~st?~JJ~:.2}:~~'\:"
6.8 ..• Self-Assessment of Writing Dimensions 157 Which Magnet is Strongest? ,'.,' 213, ,','
6.9 • Peer EvalUation and Editing Form for 8,7 Reading Response Form 2i8
Writing , 158 8.8 Anecdotal Records Report Form 221 ,
8.9 • Sample Questions for Book Talks 225
7.1
";,
Assessment with/without Scaffolded 8.10. Reading Comprehension and
167 Strategies Checklist 226
Prompts
7.~' Standards of Performance in the
. 170
Content Areas
7:3 Procedures for AssessingWhat
" .. ~ 176
Students Know in Science
7.4 Semantic Maps for Content Area
Assessment 178
7:5 J , Sample T-List 179
7.6 Definitions and Examples of
,i:
Thinking Skills in the Content Areas 182

". •
17:7" Thinking Skills Development
Questions 184
'';'.8,
'.~
PrompiS"fof-Writing:Acrossthe
,
Curriculum 186
, 7.9', • Scoring Rubric for Science Problems
",f
I or Experiments 189
'-tiC> General Scoring Rubric for
Mathematics 193
I 7,,11• Self-Assessment Inventory for
ProbIem~Iving in Mathematics 194
17.12 General Scoring Rubric for
it! Social Si:ildies J .'
"
196,'
17.13 • Guidefules for Self-Assessmentin,.
.:' . 198
Social Studies

'=
---------------,---~- I'_J,),
" 1 " •

, • Assessment is authentic when it corresponds to


PREFACE and mirrors good classroom instruction. When stu- ':

dents participate in authentic assessment, neither


• • • • • • . .' • • they nor an observer in the classroom should be
able to tell any difference between the assessment
and other interesting and engaging instructional
acti,;ties. A key element in authentic assessment is
We have written this book to provide teachers informed teacher judgment, or judgment in which
of English language learners (Elli) I with your professional evaluation of the results is valued
approaches for using authentic assessment and for and respected. The assessment is also au then tic
applying the results of assessment to instruction. when the results can be used to improve instruction
The book emerged out of numerous requests from based on accurate knowledge of student progress.
teachers of ELL students who identified the need This is essential in ~ng assessment authentic
for informative assessment procedures that are because both you and your students should.find
sensitive to the .needs of students and reflect cur- •assessmentto be important for improving teaching
rent approaches to instruction. These teachers .' and learning. Authentic implies that tasks used in
wanted to have access to observation procedures assessmeilt are valued in the real world by stu-
and ways of assessing student work that would dents.
strengthen their ability to provide effective instrl!~- In responding to a need for improved assess-
tion and prepare ELL students for grade-level ment procedures, we have attempted to link the
claSsrooms. This book is an effort to address the assessments to major changes occurring in
need these teachers identified and to provide you, research and practice. We did not feel that it was
the teacher, with a broad range of interesting and enough to present you with a book of formrt>r
useful assessment techniques. Our intent is to offer observation procedures for rating student p'erfor-
an array from which you can select authentic mance without also describing their connection to"
assessment approaches that are most suitable in innovative instructional approaches. We have' found
that teachers see more ways to use authentic assess-
your own classroom.
The book is written on behalf of ELL students. ment in their classrooms and to apply assessments
We believe that the educational strengths and needs in meaningful wayswhen they have a larger pic-
of these studen ts can be iden tified most effectively ture of how the assessments relate to major innova-
through multiple forms of assessment. The use of tions in curriculum and instruction. Because we
authentic, multiple assessments should provide were selective in what we presented as context, this '".
these students with varied opportunities to demon- book gives us an opportunity to show teachers
strate what they know and can do. ELL students what we think is important in instruction as well as
are often asked to demonstrate their knowledge and in assessment In this regard. we have presented a, ':..
Skillsin a limited variety of ways that do not enable series of vignettes in the last chapter to illustrate,
.them to communicate successfully with their teach- the close connection between assessment and .. , ,
ers. By offering an extended menu of authentic instruction and to illustrate what we believe to be
.assessment techniques, we hope to enable students good assessment practices. Some teachers may
wish to read these vignettes before reading the rest ,
.'.,:'.tobecome more effective in assessing and convey-
of the book to get a picture of authentic assess-' .'
<::);:iingtheir own knowledge, skills, and strategies. This
/!;'_ ••
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.~" ..,should support seJfllirected learning, increased
ment in action. We have also provided a series or'..;,;
suggested application activities at the end of other, ,i'
~:C::~motivation.and learner autonomy.
Jj1f~;~i~":-.,';" . chapters that give continued opportunities'to'try
out some' of the. procedures. '.
. The assessment techniques in this book origina~,:
-:.
'.
.<:,~h~medic."'''? English "'nguogr1emnm or E.g/Uh /mrgtuJgoIt=Ji'g
~;;~i:,:,t~ stUdents instead of the more custom~ limlttd E~h /J!Ofi-
ed from a series of workshops and presen~tions

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'~'r.i6:'k";:.amt (UP) because we prefer the more poSlbve emphasis. .
.•• '-" - ',.,~': :'::"AO<:;~:'j_~"':~~:~~1:f({:~~~~~~~ill1~~\i"l~'_i:~:i'~',;ff'~:'T~\~~SHr;'\~/}.t~;,~r<:~~,j:~
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.on authentic assessment we have conducted over a suggestions with the chapter on assessmentin the
period ofvears for teachers of ELLstudents. The coment areas. We are alsograterullO teachers and
.topics of these presentations in,cluded'assess~.ent staff develope~s:fl;~m:\'(j!~!?!nia's
public schools who
in all four language skills-listening, speaking" }'"'''''''' read and.coijlmented on'\-ariouschapters. In
reading, writing-and covered integrated assess-' Arlington Public Schools.Virginia,these included
ic. ment oflanguage and content in mathematics,sci- ':J:\;u"baraFagan and Lee Gough. In Fairfax County
ence, and sodal studies. We.gavethese presenta- Public Schools, Virginia, the teacherswere Carol
lions and workshops at conrere!1cesand special Beck, Fran Dixon, Man' Lou Kulsick,Beck};\1iskill,
sessions on assessment held for.,t~achersand Diana Poodiak, and C1.tireWaller,In Prince William
administrators in English as a ~~ond Language . County Public Schools, teachers who read selected
(ESL) and bilingual programs:~Jheseactivities "chapters were Kate Dail, KristenMisencik,and
were conducted as part or the Ge<!rgetown.:~Rhonda Shaw,VaryaTrueheart, from Montgomery
University Evaluation Assistancecenter (EAC)- County Public Schools. Maryland,also sen'ed as ;i' .:'.
East, a technical assistancecenter funded by the reviewer.
U.S. Department of Education ,under Title VII of • Despite all the excellent assistancewe received
the Elementary and Secondary,EducationAct. . on the initial drafts or this book, the possibility
Through the EAe-East,we wen; able to meet with :,' ,remairis for errors of omissionor commission,
and prO\ide technical assistanc~,.toadministrators which are solely the responsibilityof the authors.
and teachers in programs for ELLstudents in We would also like to thank the teachers who, as
numerous states in the .eastern h# of the country .graduate students in Dr.ValdezPierce's assessment
as well as at meetings and conferences across the .and curriculum development courses, de"e1oped
states. _",' sample formats for their ELLstudents and allowed
We appreciate the time taken byJim Cummins us to use them. These teachers include: Steve
and Joan Herman, whosewritingswe greatly Copley,Jennifer Eury. Donna O'NeiIL Lisa ~lorse, '
respect, to read the manuscript and provide us . "- . Mark Crossman, Karen Harrison, and Claire Waller. ~,'
with their comments, Cummins's viewson educa- A special thank you to NancyRomeo of Rolling
tion and asses~mentfOLELLstudents are reflected ValleyElementary School, Fairrax County Public
in the foreword to this book. Herman's comments. Schools, Virginia, for prO\iding us "ith her stu-
add'a perspective from research on authentic .dent's portfolio.
assessment, policy,and practics' with native speak- We would also like to acknowledge a number of
ersofEnglish. '. others who contributed to this project in ,-arious
We are grateful to the many teachers who pto\id- ways,most especiallyour familiesand close friends, .'j
ed us with feedback on the assessmentapproaches whose support and patience enabled us to main-
we introduced in the presentati,Rpsand workshops lain the semblance of a social life in the midst of
we havecond\,cted. Weare especiallygrateful to isolated evenings and weekends working. Wewish
teachers and teacher superviso~swho commented ','•.to thank our editor, Clare Siska,who assisted us
on drafts of the manuscript, an~-wishto give a.spe- ..,through weeklycyclesor editing, re-ising, and for-
cia! note of appreciation to th~following:Margo matting. The support and enthusiasm of Evelyn
. Gottlieb of the Illinois Resource Center for her Nelson, Manager for ESL/Bilingual Marketing at
detailed reading of the full manuscript, Sandra Addison-Wesley,were particularly important when
Fradd of the Universityof MiaIl}iand Toni .the book was in the early conceptual stages.We are
Ogirnachi of CTB/McGraw HilVor also reading: : also indebted to Elinor Chamas, Executive Editor
the draft manusc,ript.We thankj.~ary Helman of . . for ESL/EFL at Addison-Wesley,for her continuing' ,
Fait'fax County Public Schools,-Nir~a and Mary ..support and most particularlyfor lhing with unfore-' .
Ellen Quinn, Visiting Professor of Mathematics at .seen delaysin writing, and toJudith Bittinger, Vice"
'Our Lady of the Lake University,San AntonIO; President and Director of Product Development,
Texas for their careful reading and m~y helpful' for her support and interest in the project.

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';:.,'.We are alwaysinterested in new experie~ces in '. .',,'"
;riii~:i\ assessment and in your own examples describinR ""I',
~;~!i;cthe link between assessment andinsLruction, We
,l~'i,t;:"'.encourage "ou to contacL us "iLh "our ideas so LhaL
I ~')';',i~;f.;;'; -,,' •
! J::~ij\~;'wecan continue LOexpand the contributions good
£J1Cj2 •. assessment practices can make to other teachers
-??J"';::<f' . ..
j~~;g;!and to ELL students.:

fN!~{tJ.
-::~t'{;~.,
MichaelOiWaUey
OJjU:eof Assessment and Evaluation ,
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. "',, :Prinu William County Public Schools
14800 joplin Road
l';,y ;, 0 & 389
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\i"k,J;;. Manassas, ~rirtrinia22110
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Lurrazne Valtkz P,erce
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'~,.,'r;eorge,Hason University ,
<~{i.'.US V 4 B3 .

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,,' ',' Eai1fax, Virginia 22030-4444

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I

MOVING TOWARD II
AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT
••• • •• • • • • • •• •• • • •• •• ••• •• • • • •

Over the past decade we have seen a rapid expan- are seeking alternatives through multiple forms of
sion of interest in alternatives to traditional forms assessment. These educators are also seeking
of assessment in education (Aschbacher 1991; assessments that more closely resemble instruc-
I Herman, Aschbacher, and Winters 1992). The tional activities in classrooms.
form of assessment used for both standardized test- Alternative assessment consists of any method of
ing and classroom assessment for as long as most finding out what a student knows or can do th.at is
educators can remember is the multiple-choice intended to show growth and inform instruction,
test. While this type of test has been a mainstay of and is an alternative to traditional forms of testing,
educational programs, educators from all back- namely, multiple-choice tests (Stiggins 1991).
grounds have raised concerns about its usefulness Alternative assessment is by definition criterion-ref-
as a primary measure of student achievement and erenced and is typically authentic because it is

M0\1NG TOWARD AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT I



., integrative language and content knowledge
• >to ~ ..based on activities that represent classroot:Jland
real-life settings. We use the term authentic asspss- rather than isolatecl;pieces of knowledge and skills'.
ment throughout this book to describe the multiple '';bat teachers gain from daily contact with :;tu-
forms bf assessment that are consistent with class- dents is an understanding of the processes by
room goals. curricula, and instruction. whichstudents learn as well as the products of
The Increased intere~t in authentic assessment is their learning. Thev also rely on multiple waysof
based on two major issues: current assessment pro- collecting information that prO\ide them with the
cedures do not assess the full range o(essential stu- type of feedback they need to monitor student
dent outcomes, and teachers have difficulty using progress and to plan for instruction.
the information gained for instructional planning. In addition to the issues raised bv teachers,
Educators have questioned "filUn the bubble" or administrators and education policy analysts have
multiple-choice tests because these forms of assess- been concerned that the knowledge and skillsstu-
.ment are not adequate to assess the full range of dents "ill need to function effecth'ely in a future
.higher-order thinking skills considered important technological and complex society are inadequate-
in today's curriculum. Further, these types of tests lyrepresented in multiple-choice tests. Because
do not represent recent improvements in our ' " teachers tend to focus instruction on the skills
understanding of what and how students learn emphasized in testing, multiple-Choice tests have
(Resnick and Klopfed989). Multiple-choice tests, had the long-term effect of limiting the curricu-
while objective and highly reliable for most stu- lum to isolated and lower-level skills (Resnick and
dents, have emphasized the assessment of discrete Klopfer 1989). The ability to accurately select one
skills and do not contain authentic representations of a number of options to brief questions does not
of classroom acti\~ties. The tests therefore lack the reflect what students "ill be called on to do in Solv-
content validity considered important to ensure ing complex problems, communicating significant
student interest and motivation during assessment. ideas, persuading others on important positions; "
In their classrooms, students read interesting liter- organizing information and managing human '
ature, write papers. integrate resource information resources, and working cooperati'"elv with others.,
with personal viewpoints, work on projects cooper- in the workplace (Wiggins 1989. 1993), Policyana-
atively,share information while"summarizing their lystsand administrators are looking for e\idence' of
conclusions, and use information from one con- accountability that schools are successful in pro-
tent area (like mathematics) to solve problems and ducing a new generation of students with skillsthat
display information in other content areas. Little willbe required in the decades to come. Because
of the knowledge and strategic processes needed teachers and 'administrators both 'sense the need
to accomplish these tasks is captured in multiple- for new forms of assessment, the development of
, "

choice or single-answer tests. .. new measures has become all the more importarit
Teachers question the overdependence
,
on 'a sin-~~ana is likely to thrive as an important component'
gle type of assessment because test scores some- of instructional programs.
times disagree with conclusions;they have reached While there has been a high degree of interest in
from observing how students actually perform in authentic assessment in general education, as evi-
classrooms. Teachers need information to gauge denced by the number of articles and books
whether students are making p~ogress, if they appearing on the topic, there are relativelyfew
respond to instructional appro~ches and materials, articles and monographs on alternative assessment
and if they accomplish the kin~ "ofcomplex learn- . with language minority students (students who "
ing expected in today's curriculum. The informa- ' speak:a language other than English as their first.
I
tion teachers need for instructi?nal planning con- language and/or co"mefrom an emironment';--
cerns the very type of complex ~d varied student where a language other than English is spoken);-
learning that is difficult to asSesSwith multiple- The more general articles and books on alterna-
choice tests. Teachers need infqrmation about tive assessment,while often useful, do not focus.on
,

;
- I
AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH lANGUAGE LEAR1'"ERS

. '.::i:~.
~L'"....,: •
-.~.~iir;:~!y~~~.
,:-",,'~~'/~<-,<~
the. specific needs of language minority students. ments, inadeq~ monitoring;Df.stuclBitj "
and often failw provide specific examples that . and the long-term failure of instruction! (C"". '.<;~
teachers can use in classrooms. Thus, schools must. 1984L~n~c;~iy, appr~priateassessment!J.las:~~i,iP,('
search deeply to find the information they ~~edto ' potenttal to ensure that these students are on .~.~S,' ,
~ss these students and,to monitor their eduea- course to becoming literate and able patti. ' r{ .e
,tional progress. In addition t6 these instructional in English language classroom settings.' IX "th
needs in assessrpe~t, schex,'1districts continually With ELL students, assessment is far moTe co
have difficulty in making effective decisions about plex and challenging than with native speakers on;..\'7l'--
the level of Eng\ish language proficiency necessary English.Assessment is used for at least six purpos--, ; :~J!-
es WI.th ELL stu d ents: . ' ~.,
. ...."'::s::JIh;:";:,,"i'
for theparticip,ation of English language learning'
'.i
1. Screening and identification: to identify studeri~ ~'" ~"!f~
. J, '.~.

(ELL~ students in district or statewide testing pro-


" grams (O'Malley and Valdez Pierce 1994). eligible for special language and/or con'tent:,,~it •.:oJ.""!'i.~~1't•.. • 'f .

area support programs .;t; .


2. Placement: to determine the language proficiencY .~
Assessment of English Language and content area competencies of students in "';.. .-
Learning S~dents order to recommend an appropriate education- . .'.

• .. al program
. . ' .• 3. Reclassification or exit: to determine if a student.
For at least three decades, teachers and program
, .' h~ gained the language skillsand content area
administrators have struggled to identify appropri-
competencies needed to benefit from instruc-
ate procedures to assessthe knowledge and abili-
tion in grade-level classrooms', (i.e., froin all-
ties of ELL students. The path has been difficult in
English programs not specificallydesigned to
part because of the need to identify varying levels
address the needs of ELL students)
of knowledge and proficiency in English and in
part because the purposes of assessment with lan- -- ..4. -Monitoring student progress: to review student lan'-" ....-' 1
guage minority students are so varied and com- guage and content area learning in classrooms
,
plex. Assessment information is needed by admin- 5. Program evaluation: to determine the effects of :i"
istrators, teachers: staff developers, students, and federal, state; or local instructional programs ~
parents to assist in determining appropriate' pro- 6. Accountalrility: to guarantee that students attain.
'gram placements and instructional activities as well expected educational goals or standards, includ-
as in monitoring student progress. ing testing for high school graduation __
':-..4:ccurate and effective assessment oflanguage
niinority students is essential .to ensure that ELL Many schools assessskillsin the student's native
~'~"

students gain ac::c~ssto instructional programs that language as well as in English, thereby expanding
meet their needs. The failure of assessment and the range of assessment with ELL students. "
.instruction to int;ract e~c~vely is most evident, .' Because of these varying purposes and audiences, .
when inappropriate assessment approaches lead to consensus on the appropriate procedures for ','.,
inaccurate identification, improper program place assessment of language minority students hasbeeil ' . "
difficult to attain. ~
In spite of this general lack of agreement, most" . ,;
1. The rem> IimitLtlEngWhprofitiem or lEPis typically used to describe
non-native speakers of English who 'experience difficulty in profiting educators do agree that standardized, norm:~efer .., >;'.,
from instruction inf.nglish, We prefer the lerm English languagt Imrn~ . -if;,'. ~--..:!{.",,"~j,~~.~~:
.-.-::.~
•••.(El.W) or EngWh~I=ning(EU)studen •• because Of the . , .•
'" ....• if •.
IllOI'epositive emptdsis on what the stUdents are learning rather than
2. The term grtJiWnJel classroom.J is borrowed from Enright ~.d ,,:):;~,
on their suppoSed liniitations. Ell.. studenlS are part of a larger popu-
McOoskey (1989) and reren to classrooms with grad""'l'propria!eWJ.:'
lation oflanguage minority students who speak a language other than
English as their fust language and/or who come from a background content materials. In grade--level classrooms. reclassified. £hL ~~.
learn along with native English-speaking students. We prCfC'fthe:_~.
~ a language other.than English is used. We use the tenilltJn- .
graM-lnJd over mainstream,. which has connotations from"special edu- "c
, ~ miTrLJrity because-of its broader implications in the United States
population even though language minority groups may be dominant
cation and may be inappropriate where the local student pop~Qon,
-~;t?' ..•.•• '~...'~:~J;~:-'

l
is largely from language minority backgroynds.
in some local ochool distri<... I . 'ri

I
MOVING TOWARD AlITHENrICASSESSMENT ,3

'-
,,,,-"f '-7
"':':;:. -4'_~~~
enced tests are inappropriate for ELL students.
Tradii:iOnaUorms or'assessment such as standard
.,dents, standardized tests can be used for account,
'

abilityto ensure that these students are progress-


ized' ~'~ inappropriate for ELL stude~ts'fo; a ing effectivelyin grade-level classrooms once they
, ,~,vari#.tyc:ifreasons; Standardized tests use multiple- no longer need special language and/or content
,"'2~~ii~; ;:'.format that may be unfamili;rr to , area supports (O'Malley and Valdez Pierce 1994)..
"studentS With limited experience in U.S. public Ai we have noted, however, these uses of standard-
schools. Moreover, multiple-choice items ass,umea ized tests do not cover the full range of assessment
,leVel of English language proficiency that ELL stu- needs"for ELL students.
dents may not have acquired. The subtle distinc- Past critics of standardized testing with language
",':' tions made on various items for vocabulary,word minority students have had limited success in,
'r,:', aDalysis,reading, and listening subtests may pro- proposing acceptable alternatives, exceptlo sug-
',' duce information on what the student does rwt gest administering tests in the student's native lan-
know but little information about what the student guage. Unfortunately, the same type of tests have
, , does know.This gives the teacher an incomplete been recommended in the native language as are
picture of student needs and strengths. The lan- ' " ':' typicallyadministered in English, thereby not "
guage components of standardized testsn'1ainly ," extending the argument into new areas of assess-
assess reading and vocabulary knowledge and ,ment aitdnot allowing for multiple waysof assess-
ignore progress in written and oral language, ing kriowiedge and skills: Recently, educators have
important components of language-based instruc- offered more varied suggestions for improving the
tional programs. Standardized tests i; content assessment of ELL students (e.g., Fradd, McGee,
areas, such'as math and science, may not assess and Wilen 1994; Garcia and Ortiz 1988; Navarette
what ELL students know because of the complexity et al. 1990; O'Malley and Valdez Pierce 1991;
of the language in which the questions are asked. Valdez Pierce and O'Malley 1992; Short 1993).
These tests have not been effective in assessing the
higher-order thinking skills students use in solving
problems, analyzing texts, or evaluating ideas
,Deftnition of Authentic
(Resnick and Klopfer 1989). Virtually all schools Assessment
adrniniste{ standardized tests mice a year, leaving ,
teachers without regular information throughout
We use the term authentic assessment to describe the
the school year on what students have learned.
multiple forms of assessment that reflect student
,Even formal language testing for oral proficiency
,,';.learning,.achievement, motivation, and attitudes
'is typically conducted 'only once annually-,"Without
.on instructionally-relevant classroom activities.
additional assessments tailored to the needs of
EX3Inplesof authentic assessment include perfor-
ELL students, teachers are unable to plan instiuc-
, mance assessment, portfolios, and student self-.
'tion effectively or make accurate decisions about.
student needs and progress., assessment. ."
Pcrfurmance assessment consists of any form of
The previous discussion does not suggest that
assessment in which the student constructs a '
there is no role for standardized testing in school
response orallyor in writing (Feuer and Fulton,
, district or state assessment programs or In the
1993; Herman, Aschbacher, and Winters 1992).
assessment of former ELL students. Standardized
The student response may be elicited by the .'
tests have an important role in at least four compo-
i teacher in formal or informal assessment contexts
nents of an overall testing program: (1) to com-
or may.be observed during classroom instructio~al
pare individual or group performance with an
. or non~lnstructional settings. Performance assess,-
external normative group, (2) to identify relative
ment requires students to "accomplish complex .
, '.' strengths and weaknesses in skiDareas, (3) tornon-
and significant.tasks,while bringing to bear prior'
.~:,J; .itorannual growth in skills, and (4) for program , knowledge, recent learning, and relevant skills to,
:e ;.:i:i"~'evaluation (Hoover 1995). With former ELL stu-
l"rJiji :;~~~:-::.: ), '
:~!t;~;'~i.,~~~FOR EN~H ~GUAGEu:ARNERS
.~~ '~'~J
.i'/ :"<.J;;J;-yl::-\f-_~I')'~.
~,"""\il' -4-"1-.':f;~"
.,:'~
" ,~~ .
.•,. ~~i",l~;;~i,l;-:rr'-;!~"~':.
:.' .'',.:,-.-
-.• t,:l:-~t~!''''~I~:~J:lI':
. It,,;,.-

"""'i"-
olve realistic or authentic problems" (Herman, , ting and using the criteria in self-assessment of
hbacher, and Winters, p. 2). Students may be their own perfo;~~'}~S ••, ,
called on to use materials or perform hands-on' " Portfolio asseSsment is'a SYstematiccollection of stu-
activities in reaching solutions to problems.';'" , dent work-thin.is analyzed to show progress over
EXamples are oral reports, writing samples, individ- time v.ith regard to instructional objectives
ual and group projects, exhibitions, and demon- (Valencia 1991). Examples of portfolio entries
include writing samples, reading logs, drawings,
strations.
Some of the characteristics of performance assess- audio or videotapes, and/or teacher and student
meilt are the foJlowing (adapted,from Aschbacher comments on progress made by the student. One
1991; Herman, Aschbacher, and'Winters 1992): of the defining features of portfolio assessment is
the involvement of students in selecting samples of
1. Constructed Response: studen IS' COnstruct a' their own work to show growth or learning over
response, provide an expanded response:
time.
e'ngage in a performance, or crtate a product
Student self-assessment isa key element in authen-
2. Higher-urder Thinking: the student typically uses tic assessment and in self-regulated learning, "the
higher levels of thinking in c~nstructing motivated and strategic efforts of students to accom-
responses to open-ended quc::stions plish specific purposes" (Paris and Ayers 1994, p.
3. Authenticity: tasks are meaningful, challenging, 26), Self-assessment promotes direct involvement
" ,'and engaging activities that mirror good instruC- ~n learning and the integration of cognitive abili-
tion or other real-world contexts where the stu- ties with motivation and attitude toward learning.
dent is expected to perform In becoming self-regulated learners, students
make choices, select learning activities, and plan
'4: Tntegrative: the tasks call for integration of lan-
how to use their time and resources. They have the
guage skil1s and, in some cases, for integration
freedom to choose challenging activities, take
of knowledge and skills across content areas
risks, advance their own learning, and accomplish
5. Proass and Product: procedti~~;:indstrate~es for desired goals. Because students have control over
deriving the correct response or for exploring their learning, they can decide howl0 use the
multiple solutions to complex tasks are often resources available to them within or outside the
assessed as weJl (as or sometimes instead of) the classroom, Students who ate self-regulated learn-
.product or the "correct" answer ers collaborate with other students in exchanging
6. Depth Venus Breadth: performance assessments ideas, eliciting assistance when needed, and pro-
'", provide information in depth about a student's viding support to their peers. As they go about
.' skills or mastery as contrasted with the breadth learning, these types of students construct mean-
of coverage more typical of mpltiple-choice tests.' '. ing, revise their understandings, and share mean-
"'.?C' "

",Performance assessment often requires teacher ing with others. These students take pride in their
judgment of student responses. To aid in making efforts and in the new meanings they construct
the judgments accurate arid relillble,a seanng because they see the connection between their
.scale referred to as a romc is used, in which.,..' , efforts and learning success. Finany, self-regulated
'numerical values are associated with performance learners monitor their own performance and eval-
levels, such as 1 = Basic, 2 = Proficient, and 3 = uate their progress and accomplishments (Paris
I Advanced. The criteria for each:performance level and Ayers 1994). Self-assessment and self-manage-
. mfist be precisely defined in termsOfwhatthe stu e ment are at the core of this type oflearning and _'
dent actually does to demonstrJ;.te,-"1-",""
~kiJlor profi-
.f(4._ .
should be a regular part instruction. of
ciency at that level. One of the.dlaracteristics of Because we believe assessment is inextricably tied,.: , ...
. performance assessment is thattlui criteHa:'are . to instruction, our suggestions for using authentic ~~..
made public and known in advance (Aschbacher assessment imply changes in instruction. For ,.,:':c:~
1991). Accordingly, students cari participate in set- example, you cannot use portfolios without chang- '.

MOVING TOWARD AUTHENTIC ASSESsMENT 5


-.:, .
ing }YJ!r_phil~pm\of teaching and learning from English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual
one'Whi(IIlS"~n~j.m<in~riented to one which is programs. and in grade-level classrooms. We
learrier<enterecLStudent input and ownership are describe assessmentprocedures for second lan-
'de@!'-iI)g~lements hi portfolios and in authentic guage learners in language arts and in the content
.,.~... -.'~ent in_generat In learner<fntered class-
areas. The examples we use are largely K-12,al-
',.;i:j,,,o("t:Oo~!~deUts;JJavejnput not only into what they
..~.oTt:?'--;::~.'"~c...:
-, .,.. ...
'jF:.' 0' - . .. though the assessment procedures are often
:~~Tleam;"bUiaisointo how they willbe assessed.
applicable to early childhood and adult settings.
, Student self-assessment and reflection are critical
We have tried to introduce a variety of assessment
io:'tlieview of assessment and learning we propose,
procedures and a number of waysof looking at stu-
,,-,Authentic assessment is important for ELL stu- '
dent performance that will provide teachers with a
:ttdentsas well as for students in grade-level class-
balanced viewoflearning. We also describe assess-
~T':, 5:;~mS; Teachers of language minority students
ment procedures that can be used for identifica-
" ~, "nave benefited from the interest of the general tion and placement of English language learners,
.',;*'" education community in authentic assessment and monitoring of student progress, and reclassifica-
,.," are adding to this repenoire of new assessment tion of students who are ready to exit special lan- '
procedures, With ELL students, teachers using. • guage props and enter grade-Ie~el classrooms.
authentic assessment can assessstudents at all lev- .The assessment procedureS described in this
els of proficiency for language and content knowl- book will benefit'a11teachers working with students
edge in both English and in their native.language. who need to strengthen their language skills, In
The use of authentic assessment places greater addition to ELL students, these include students in
demands on teachers than me use of single-answer any second language context and Title I students.
tests, Time and management skillsare needed to Teachers may use these assessment procedures
design and use these assessments, and judgment is whether they work in their own classroom, on
required in reaching conclusions about student interdisciplinary teams, or "ith Content area teach-
learning and student progress. Because authentic ers in collaborative settings.
assessment is relatively new, few teachers have had While teachers spend as much as 20-30 percent
sustained professional development Opponunities of their professional time involved in assessment-
on the design, creation, and use of these assess- related activities (Stiggins 1988), pre- and in-ser- '
ment procedures. The changing models of student vice programs to date have not familiarized teach-
learning and instruction also require teachers to , ers with issues in authentic assessment, nor have
understand the reasons for the new directions in they prepared them to design and use this type of
assessment and how to link assessment with ,assessmentfor instructional planning. Teachers in
instruction,
. ,some ,states'are not required to take an assessment
course, and most college and university courses'in
assessment tend to be very traditional. Such cours-
Purposes of This Book es cover the different types of tests used in educa- ,
.,and Target Audience tion, various standardized tests, different types of
• tes't items, the meaning of test scores, test construc-
tion in classrooms, some rudimentary statistics
This book is designed for teachers, teacher train- necessary for classroom testing, and grading prac-
ers, administrators, and assessment specialistswho 'tices. These courses do not cover the design, con~
work with ELL students. Wepresent an overview struction, and use of performance assessments,
and rationale for authentic assessment and a student portfolios, anecdotal records, reading logs,
framework for the assessment of ELL students at running. reco~ds, and other types of assessment dis-.
-, all grade levels. The book focuses on portfolios cussed iIi the performance assessment literature
,
and practical examples of assesSmentprocedures
' ,

and covered in this book. Furthermore, these


,,'C,': '. used to collect information on 'ELLstudents in
. . cou'rses for the most part do not address the assess-

,I~~
: AirrnENTIc ASSFssMENr FORENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERs

"
~~~,~~~<"
"'
.,:.,'_';~' -T'
'ment of language minority and ELL students in assessments and contains suggestions for staff
any significant manner. ..\ +;, , {-~.N;~''''''''
development .• ",.,.,{J.~"I.>
, .•••.••
""",•• :f~"'~' ' ,",' •. •

Authentic assessment places heavy demands on. In chapter '3 we present a more detailed
teachers' professional skills. In-<:omparison to mul- oven;ew of portfolio assessment and explain how
tiple-<:hoice testing, where judgments are made to integrate the information collected from class-
based on a curve or on the percent of correct room assessment in a portfolio. We describe differ-
items, these new assessment procedures call for ent types of portfolios, the purposes of portfolio
more independent judgment and interpretation of assessment, issues that are relevant to the use of
student performance (Herman, Aschbacher, and portfolios, specific steps in portfolio design, and
Winters 1992). Furthermore, authentic assess- , suggestions for using portfolios in instruction.
ments take time and careful planning to be used Throughout,tl,ris chapter we describe the changing
effectively. Teachers need staff development and role ofteachets and students in using portfolios.
support to design and use pelformance assess- We also discuss procedures for communicating
ments that effectively address multidisciplinary information about portfolios to parents so that
understanding and critical thinking skills (Khattri, portfolios are useful in helping parents under-
Kane, and Reeve 1995). Without opportunities to stand their children's progress.
collaborate ,with other teachers. to tryout new Chapters 4-7 discuss assessment approaches that
assess!"e';;ts: aild to discuss th~' assessments they have special relevance to teachers of ELL students
are using,. teachers will almost certainly have prob- ,and show how these procedures can be used in
lems in advancing beyond rudimentary uses of conjungion with portfolio assessment in class-
these new approaches. rooms. These chapters focus on assessment of oral
language (Chapter 4), reading (Chapter 5), Writ-
ing (Chapter 6). and assessment in the content
,Overview of the Book areas (Chapter 7). Teachers looking for assessment
.
- . , at the different grade levels will find examples
addressing their needs throughout these chapters.
- We have introduced this book by presenting some The use of separate chapters on the language skills
. background information about general assessment is a convenience only, and does not imply that we
ikues, about authentic forms of assessment, and believe these skills should either be taught or
about specific issues in the assessment oflanguage assessed in isolation.
minority students. We view assessment and instruc- We begin Chapters 4-7 with an overview of the
tion as interlocking parts of educational programs instructional context in each area and highlight
and believe that assessment must be an integral advances in thinking about instruction that urge
part of instruction.
"1' ~. _
the use of authentic assessment. We review the pur-
, We contiilUe in Chapter 2 by presenting an poses of assessment in each subject for administra-
overview of authenti<; assessment, including per- tive or instructional applications. We then define
formance and portfolio assessments. We describe specific assessment approaches, give examples that'
specific types of authentic assessment and issues in teachers can use, and provide sample scoring
designing these assessments, and bring essential rubrics for various assessment procedures. In each
assessment concepts of reliability and validity' , of these chapters we point out the importance of
together with authentic assessment procedures. We self-assessment and indicate methods teachers can
also disCuss how to design authentic assessments use to support student self-assessment. We include
and lay o~t a"Series of steps that teachers can apply
I

'in worki'ii~th other teachefS to design and use


numerous tables and figures containing scoring,
rubrics and assessment techniques throughout the
I , performance ~ents and portfolios. This
I chapter is partial1arly important for teachers work-
book. At the conclusion of each chapter we discuss
how teachers can use,the assessments in instruc-
\ ing in grade-level or school teams on authentic
"\
tion. While teachers use performance assessment

I MOVING TOWARD AlITHENTIC ASSESSMENT 7


f.j.;~'._.'i::'i' '. (; {' . ~;- , :;.
:," •• C -_~t'-.-,' - -~,:' '''. .; .",
during ili~truction in a varietyof ways--to share
performance expectations \\ith students and to' .•.•• , I
intrOchice project;based tasks (Khattri, Kane, and
Re~'e 1995)-we also emphasize uses to m6nitor'
student progress and to assistin planning for
v."
•< . fUture fnstruction. .<
The final chapter prO\ides examples from the
classroom in'which teachers have used allthentic'
assessment. In these examples, teachers have'
embedded assessment in instruction so thauhe.'
_ result appears to the students (or to an observer)
.as nothing more than an interesting instructional
activity.From these activities,however, teachers
and students derive feedback on student perfor-
mance from self-assessment,from peer evaluation',!'-,
.and/or from .the.teacher's assessment ofthe stu- . • "', '' ~
dent. These examples illustrate that settirig time
aside to conduct authentic assessment in class-
rooms requires the creative integration of assess-
ment "ith an instructional activitythe teacher had
already planned. The teachers in these examples
relied on their professional leadershIp qualities to
introduce and use innovativeapproaches to assess-
ment when their background inay not have pre-
pared diem lor-using authentic-assessment,when
other teachers in their school held to moretrad'i.
tional assessment approaches, and whencareful.-
preparation and sustained commitment were
required to communicate student performance on
the new assessments to parents.

...

~
.. . ~. , . ~ -.'-" "<,,"
...
~"

.',.. .-

. ~-- I~'

II

~~.l~~MENT_.~ .._. _~~_O~R_E~.~_'G_US-,,-H-,,-LA!'l-,,-G_U_A_G_E~LEARN;..'


•••••
' _ERS
•••.•••••__ •••.••••.•__ ••••••• ...;. J
DESIGNINGAUTHENTIC
ASSESSMENT
......'. .................. .. . . .
This chapter lays the groundwork for designing, rubrics and how to score performance assess-
developing, and using authentic assessments and ments, an important consideration with open-
introduces a variety of these assessment approach- ended questions. As in the design of any assess-
es. We begin with a description of teaching and ment, two issues that need to be addressed in
learning models that underlie authentic assess- performance assessment are validity and reliability.
ment and note their implications for assessment Reliability is particularly important when scoring
a
procedures. We continue with general review of depends on professional judgment. We review pro-
various types of authentic assessment and the cedures to ensure that the performance measures
unique advantages of each-.We then describe steps you design are Validand reliable. We conclude this
teachers can use to design authentic assessments chapter by identifying important issues that are o£'
I for Classrooms. We include a description of scoring concern in all assessment practices, such as clarify-'~..

. .
. . . ",."
DESIG:-'"INGAIJTHL'ITlcAssEssMENT 9

\"
I
';",illg ~e,purpose of the ~ent, fairness in Students learn most effectively through integrative
assessment, and grading practices. • 'experiences in programs that reflect the interde-
pendence of listening, speaking, reading, writing,
thinking, direct experience, and purposeful stu.
.
dent interaction. As students listen or read, thev
,

,question what they need to know, select informa,


tion of importance, relate it to what they already
• • • • know, retain what they consider to be important,
",--. ,
':0' ; .,?~In the first chapter we noted that one of the rea- : and apply the information under appropriate cir-
~~i1~.$on;:for the increasing attention to complex think- cumstances. Students also reflect on what they
~l~-,;~g skills in educational curricula has been have learned and relate it to their original learn-
..~'~improvements in our understanding of what and ing goals (Le., they use metacogrtitive processes in
!"l'; -""'haw srudents learn. Until recently, education has planning, monitoring, and evaluating their own
~:_," been based on a "transmission" model of instruc' learning). Basically.learning does not proceed by
tion, in which it was assumed that knowledge con-. the accumulation of a common set of basic skills
sisted of discrete facts to be learned 'by studen~.'lh but can follow multiple strategies and pathways.
this model, teachers and curriculum designers Students vary in how they learn, among other
were presumed to possess the knowledge. and skills ways, by establishing differen t goals for learning,
students needed to learn. The role of teachers was by selecting different information to use in con-'
to transmit this information to learners, and the structing new knowledge, and by using different
role or students was to acquire this information strategies to aid in learning (Gagne, Yekmich, and
rapidly and thoroughly. Students needed to learn a Yekovich 1993; O':\1alley and Chamot 1990;
common set of basic skills in reading and compu- Pressley and Associates 1990; Weinstein and Mayer
tation as a foundation for learning more complex 1986).
skills and applications of information. In this view
learning is linear, and once the basic skills are IMPUCATIONS FOR ASSESSMENT
learned, students should be able to combine sub-
This analysis of learning has direct implications for
skills in order to perform more complex forms of
authentic assessment. If students construct infor-
school learning. Textual information is presented
, mation as they learn, and apply the information in
to students on the assumption that students will lis-
classroom settings, assessment should prmide the
ten to or read this information and be able to
, students with opportunities to construct responses
•answer questions about it accurately. Assessment
and to apply their learning to problems that mir- '
fusing multiple<hoice tests was considered appro-
ror their classroom activities in authentic ways. If
priate because there was always one correct answer
students acquire both knowledge and procedures,
and srudents should be able to select this answer)
they should be called upon to demonstrate famil-
from among a number of alternatives.
iarity with new knowledge and to exhibit the prob-
. In more recent views of teaching and learning, '
lem-solving and other skills they have acquired. If
referred to as amstructivism, all individuals are
complex thinking and academic language skills are
thought to learn by constructing information
important components oftoday's curriculum;
about the world and by using active and dynamic
assessment'should reflect these emphases. And if '
mental processes (e.g.,Jones et al. 1987; Marzano, , students learn complex procedures most effective-
.Pickering, and McTighe 1993; Resnick and Klopfer
,Iywhen they have opportunities to apply the skills
1989). Students learn to read through these active in meaningful -ways,-thenassessmen'ts should be '
mental processes, and they learn information in
authentic reflections of these kinds of meaningful
the content areas by constructing personal mean- .
learning opportunities.
ing from new information and prior knowledge.

10 ,.AlJIlIENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH lANGUAGE Lf.AR,-;ERS


.Types of Authentic Assessment responding to the questions, both of which can be
used for insU:t)Fg~p<lli,plal:ming. In this type of
, _ .••.~.. ;,""Jo.~ ,.<.' ~ .'-'''1-. -.~. -";.' . .
assessmentneachers can ask probe quesnons to
There are numerous types of authentic assessment determine student comprehension or command
used in classrooms today (Feuer and Fulton 1993). over specific aspects of the language. Teachers of
. The range of possibilities is sufficientlybroad that ELL students in one school systemtold us they did
teachers can select from a number of options to not provide instruction for oral proficiency
meet specific purposes.
or adapt
----- , .. ~, approaches to "because it was not being tested bythe county."
meet instructional and student needs, Teachers You may listen regularly to students' oral language
already use many of the~etyp~s of assessments but but may not have a systematicprocedure for ana-
do .'"
so in a relatively inf~r~;U
~... ~ ,
~y that does not pro- . lyzing oral proficiency or for recording growth in
.<~desystematic information about student learning oral language over time. The procedures we.
or about the goals ofinstruction. As you read ' describe in Chapter 4 enable teachers to establish
through the types of assessment,we encourage you oral proficiency assessment as part of their ongo-
to think of the waysin whic,hyou already use some ing instruction.
of these assessment procedun,s and to ~eculate
on waysin which you can make these types of STORY OR TEXT RETELLING
assessment better serve ~our rie,edsin instruction.
In this type of assessment, students read or listen
We list a range .ofauthenti~ 'aSsessmentsin
to text and then retell the main ideas or selected
Figure 2.1, describe e.ach,.and note.some oft,!:J,eir
details. As with the other assessment acti\ities list-
advantages. In later chapters we describe in detail
ed here, this type of assessment is authentic
how these procedures can be used for specific pur- .
because it is based on or closelv resembles actual
poses, such as assessing language proficiency or •
classroom acti\ities. V\'hatmakes it an assessment
content-area learning. In Figure 2,I we include a
approach is the systematic collection and record-
variety of p~rformance. assessments-oral inter-.
views, text retelling, writing samples, etc.-plus ing of information about the performanceofindi-
'teilcher observation of student knowledge and vidual students. Students respond orally and can
be rated on how they describe the events in the
skills in the classroom. The last item listed, portfo-
lios, is often used to integrate the results of individ- story (story structure), their response to the story
.rial performance assessments and to monitor or text, and/or their language proficiency.
learning over time. We have not listed self-assess- Teachers or other students can ask probe ques-
ment as a separate category because it should be tions about the text. Students at all levels of
. ,involved in all of the types of assessment identified English proficiency can participate in story or text
'retelling. For example, students who are more pro-
(ap;infrom teacherobse~tion).
.

"i
'~"~'''';;:
ficient in English can read a story to a less profi-
••}"f'

cient peer, who can then retell the story in English


ORAL INTERVIEWS .or the native language, if preferred. In iliis way,..
The oral proficiency of Eli stUdents should.be . students who have'little proficiency in English'are
. -". - \
aSSessedregularly, ~speciallywith very young stu- able to participate in -the assessment, even in ESL
. dents or when students have yet to acquire sUffi- classrooms where the teacher is not proficient in
cient command over . the
. .
language for written each language spoken by the students. (See
assessments to be appropriate:.Students can Chapter 5 for more on.reading assessment.)
rewond orally to questions about a range 'of topics
that might inclll<:l~theit:.pIjo(-;!mowledge,activi- .
'.'~" ". ,""': -,f .•
._,., .••••,••••-•... ~ ."'t', •••• WRITING SAMPLES
"."M

ties, and interests or preferences. The teacher may


be'interested either in the substantive inforination As part of instruction, sttidents are often 'asked to
collected orinJudgmgthe student's proficiency in generate writing samples to.meet a number of dif-
ferent purposes. These may include expressive or
i, ""
,
DESIGNING AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT 11'

-
Figure 2.1 Types of Authentic Assessments

Assessment Description _ Advantages

Oral Interviews Teacher asks student ques- • Informal and relaxed context
. tions about personal back- • Conducted over successive days with
ground, activities, readings, each student
and interests' • Record observations on an interview
guide

Story or Text Students retell main ideas or ' • Student prOduces oral report .
Retelling selected details of.text experi- .• ,Can be scored on content orJanguage
.
enced through listening or components
reading , • Scored with rubric or rating scale
• Can determine reading comprehension,
reading, strategies, and language devel-
-I , opment
-;

Writing Samples ,Students generate narrative, ' • Student produces written document
expository, persuasive, or ref-, '. Canbeseore'don content orlanguage
erence paper . components
.• Scored with rubric or rating scale
• Can determine writing processes

Projects/Exhibitions Students complete project in • Students make formal presentation,


content area, working individ- written report, or both
ually or in pairs • Can observe oral and written products
and thinking skills
• Scored with rubric or rating scale

-Experiments / Students complete experi- ,. Students make oral presentation, writ-


Demonstrations ment or demonstrate use of ten report, or both
materials • Can observe oral and written products",
and thinking skills .
• Scored with rubric or rating scale

. Constructed- '., -'. , "' ',J'Students'respond'in,writing to ,;t;:;;


",'-Student.produces written-report
Response Items open-ended questions ..• Usually SCOredon substantive informa-
"'lion' andttiinking skills" ',", ..
I ~
• Scored with- rubric or rating scale

Teacher Teacher observes student • Setting is classroom environment


Observations attention, response to instiUc- • Takes little time
"

tional materials, or interac- • Record observations with anecdotal


. tions with other students notes or rating scales

Portfolios .
Focused collection of student .• Integrates information from a number of
work to show progress over sources
i :
time " .Givesoverall picture of student perfor-
mance and learning
_ • Strong student involvement and com-
..
.~' mitment
:"," . • Calls for student self-assessment
narrative writing (a personal eXperience. story. or Iy effective when ELL students are taught to com-
. ,,:$;
l~''r.'~.•..• •
poem). exposi!ory or int:0flT\ativ~0"iting (;'Vri\ing,' m~T!l<;~~~~:t~p;bycs(epproceduresor project ,
to explain or clarify a concept or process. often in "descl;ptions that are supported by diagrams or
a content area), perSuasive reports (to convince realia. (See Chapter 7 for additional ideas on
another of a particular position), or some combi- assessment in the content areas,) ,
nation of.the different purposes. Students can also
be asked'to write in different genres, such as a let-
; ,~..... • d EXP~NTSORDEMONSTRATIONS
tel', a journal'entry, an' essay. a newspaper report,
Students might conduct an experiment in science
or a research paper (a paper requiring use of ref-
using actual materials, or illustrate how something
erence materials, critical judgment, and citations),
.. '~~"~.'. -<'••..,- •• works (like a microscope). The experiment or
Students might 'produce the writing on demand in
demonstration is presented through an oral or
a fixed period of time or might be given the time
written report which describes the steps and mate-
to 'generate it after completing some readings ona
rials necessary to reproduce the experiment and
subject, discussing the reading with peers, and
any hypotheses that were tested. methods or obser-
editing and revising a draft of the product.
vations used. or conclusions drawn. Students can
Teachers often have their own criteria for judg-
•• ;".1-
be rated on their understanding of the concept.
ing student'~r'Jf};,,~_,
writingari(i:assigning grades, Grades
;' ~": ,\. explanation of scientific methods, and/or the lan-
will tend tovary'from' teacher to teacher unless
guage used in the explanation (see Chapter 7).
they are ,1;>~d(m specific performance criteria,
The assessment procedures we suggest include the
use of scoring rubrics for both holistic and analytic CONSTRUCTED-RESPONSE ITEMS
scoring in specific domains of writing, such as ' This is a type of performance assessment in which
vocabulary, composition, style, sentence construc- students read or re\;ew textual materials and then
tion, and mechanics. With ELL students, as with respond to a series of open:ended questions elicit-
other students, self-evaluation of writing promotes ing comprehension and higher-Qrder thinking.
a reflective approach to learning,and contributes The assessment often focuses on how students
to"an understanding of effective writing processes, apply information rather than on how much they
(See Chapter 6 for additional information on writ- recall of what has been taught. The student might
ing assessment.) produce a graphic depiction of the substance and
organization of the readings (e.g,. a semantic
PROJECTS AND EXlllBmONS map), a brief comment on one or two points made
in the readings, or an extended essay discussing or
, St~d~;tsfiJ.ay 'complete a project on a specific
evaluating the text materials. Thus, students are
topic and;;;f;?hibit~eir work. An exhibition can
able to respond in a variety of different ways
include displays or models of buildings or objects
appropriate to their level of English proficiency.'
appropriate to an instructional setting, role-plays,
Constructed-response items can be used in all of
simulations, artistic creations, videotaped seg-
the content areas. In math and in the sciences,
ments, charts, graphs, tables, etc A project may be
these types of questions are often used'to ask'stu-
conducted individually or in small groups and is
dents how they solved a problem or rea~hed a con~
onen presented through an oral or written report.
clusion. This type of assessment is authentic in that
",Projects an4.,exhibitions presented orally tan be
it draws on the kinds of thinking and rc;asoning ,
reviewed bya'panel of judges rating the content
skills students use in classrooms"p~ese~!S pioh-
presented,'ilS.organization, and/or the language
. ~'.'" .....•..• - , lems or questions that are typicaI'ofCJaj;'Sjo.:im
used, Teachers often 'aSkstudents to develop a pre-
instruction, and encourages students t,:{apply
sentitio;'; ()~ ~'particular historic period and to
,generate dI'awirigs and written products appropri-
classroom learning in real:lif~ se~gs (see '
Chapters 5-7). ", ,."~'}:;t!'f7-,..:,_
ate to the period, This approach may be particular- -~:,,;

I
1,
DESIGNING AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT 13
2.1, each of these techniques has its own advan-
. TEACHER oBsERVATIONS
tages. The one major limitation that some of the
Teachers often obsen'e students' attention to tasks,.
techniques have is the amount of time required for
responses to different types of assignments, or the teacher to collect the information or to score
interaetions with other students while working
the students' performance. We discuss various "dY-S
;r.., coopecitively toward a goal. Both spontaneous in which teachers can deal with this limitation in
-., events and planned classroom activitiescan be the
the appropriate section as each form of assessment
subject of these observations. Especiallywith
is described. Wejustify the extra time involved
planned classroom activities, teachers can observe
because we believe that authentic assessment is an
.students' use of academic language and higher-
integral part of instruction rather than a separate
--.~'order thinking skills in task-oriented discussions
piece that imposes on instruction or draws time
with other students. Most likely,you already
awayfrom instruction .
. observe daily student interactions to ensure that
the students are on-task and working productively.
To tum your observations into assessments,you
Awareness of Authentic
need to record observations systematicallyover
time to note changes in student performance. Assessments
These changes should be summarized in personal
notes for communicating with the student, with
Teachers in different schools have various levelsof
parents, or with other teachers. With ELL stu-
a"dreness and interest in alternative assessments.
dents, this type of obsendtion is particularly
Some teachers will already have tried some form of
important because we need to document what
authentic assessment or may have attended work-
these students can do and build on existing areas
shops on authentic assessments or performance
of strength in addition to noting their response.to
assessment. They may even be using portfolios
various curriculum or instructional approaches,
containing representative samples of student work
(See Chapters 4-7 for more on teacher observa.'.
to show growth over time. Some of these teachers
tion.) may have already designed scoring rubrics and
provided feedback to students on their perfor-
PORTFOliOS mance. On the other hand, there may be others
A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student who have only heard abOl,ltperformance assess-
work that is intended to show progress over time. ments and want to know more. Because of these
Th~ pOrtfolio may include samplesof student different levels of experience, teachers may find it
work, usually selected by the student or by the stu- . difficultto reach agreement on the type of profes-
dent and teacher to represent learning based on .sional development needed in a school or district.
instructional objectives. Although portfolios have The Authentic Assessment Inventory for Goal
become popular over the past decade, we know Setting shown in Figure 2.2 will assist in engaging
that most teachers are not using them to their best other teachers in a dialogue about authentic
advantage: c~ilecting information purposefully assessment and in setting personal goals for staff
and systematically over time to reflect learning development. The Inventory contains questions
with regard to instructional objectives. Each port- that.can guide discussions with other teachers
folio entry may be scored using a scoring rubric or about goals to set in a school or district and about
checklist. The overall portfolio can be scored as . the development of authentic assessments.
well, based on the extent to which instructional . The questions in Figure 2.2 are divided into six
goals have been met (see Chapter 3). (unlabeled) sections. The sections foncern level.of
In the following chapters we'describe these interest in authentic assessments (questions 1-2),.
fonns of assessment, provide e~ples of each, practices related to authentic assessment (ques-
and illustrate how to use them. As seen in Figure tions 3-6), concerns about authentic assessment
,
:~~t.[:o:'~
-

:~Y~~~'4
'", AurHENnC ASSESSML'I." FOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

.~J1;;:;.~~::-~;.;;'"
'.:.
Figure 2.2 Authentic Assessment Inventory for Goal Setting
•. -'"
Teacher Date _
----.,.----------------------------
Purpose: This inventory Will help you establish goals for fur1herdevelopmem and use of authen-
tic assessmems in your classroom.

Direction,~: Afteq~ading each statement. circle the appropriate number in bOlt) columns 10 indi-
cate (I) h0~ you ,are using authemic assessment approaches. arid (2) your ideal Jevel of use.

1 2 3
Not atall "'.' . SOmewhat A great deal

To Whal Extent 0.0'1: Where I am Now: Where 1Would


Like to Be:

. '.'f4 ~1•

I . want to use authentic assessmems? . 2 3 2 3


2.' wani t; use authentic assessments more effeclively? 2 3 1 2 3.

3. clearly define levels of sludent performance~ 2 3 2 3


4. plan scoring rubrics before using assessments? 1 2 3 2 3
5. compare studenl performance to a standard? 2 3 2 3
6. inform students about scoring-criteria before judging? 1 2 3 I 2 3

7, find authentic assessmems difficLilt to use? 2 3 I 2


8. feel concem about the time required to use Ihem? 2 3 2

9. talk to other teachers about authentic assessment? 2 3 2' ~\:'"


"\k;7.. '
10,. sl;lare my assessment strategies with olher teachers? 1 2 31 2 3
11:.share teaching strategies for authentic assessments? 1 2 3 23
.'\~":" 1~~."

12. ask students tOTate their own performance? 1 2 3 I 2 3


13. ask students toirate each other's performance? 1 2 3 1 2 "3
-~.4; ".-~i)',..:,/~. '.>":.
14: give students feedback. about their performance? .1 2 3 2 3
IS, give parents feedback about their',child'sperformance? I 2' 3 1 2 3

.Use: Re"iewthe.two right-hand coltn:nns to identify differences ','


. belWeen,where.,you are now and where you would like 10 be,
,'Items fo~iWhichlflere is a difference ()f~ne or two iJointscan '
'become target areas to establiSh goaisforaUlhentic assessment.'
. Circle the:statement forthose:areas\",;~
--'j;.-
Adapted from Sliggins (1992) .

.• O~ri-Westey. Authentic AsseSsi'nent for EJwfISh Languilgs L.eamers. O'MaIleyNa!dez Pierce.


- _ ....-l'IliS""'page may be reproduced forcfassroom use. .- ". ~.- _,," ~. _~
DEStGNING AuTIfENTIC ASSESSMENT 15
J. ..~
'--.'
Figure 2.3 Checklist for Designing Authentic Assessments

Design Step Description Completion (-i)

1. Build a team I. Create ern assessment team of teachers,


parents. ernd administralors .
.

2. Determine the purpose 2. Determine the purposes of the assess-


.
ments for use in planning instruction or
for other purposes.

3. Specify objectives 3. Spectiythe instructional objectives to be


. evalualed with the assessments.

4. Conduct stalf development 4. The stalf development is for the design


team and other teachers on the purpos-
es, use, ernd development of the~-
men!.

5. Collect sample assessments 5. Review the sample asSessments for suit-


ability in your school or district to meet
local purposes ernd objectives.

6. Adapt existing assessments 6, Where possible, adapt existing instru-


menfs to meet local purposes by cherng-
ing the item content. formal, or scoring
rubIic.

7. Try out the assessments 7, Give the assessments to students, score


the papers, ernd discuss the assessments
with students ernd other teachers,

8. Review the assessments 8. Discuss the assessments with other mem-


bers of the team ernd make final adjust-
ments to the assessments or the rubrics.

Adapted from Baker (1993) and Hennan, Ashbacher, and Winters (1992) .

• @Ackfison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners. O'MafleyNaldez Pierce. This page may be reproduced for classroom use.
,.1

questions 7-8), collaboration with other teachers attend district-level workshops on assessment. to
(questions 9-11)" student im'o,lveme!,n in au\~el~fic : haveplanning,til\;~~fj)i'icbl1a1?ordtion. to ohsen'e
I ~ . .".,0.,;1' ,,'
" , '.' . \ < \

ssment (questions 12-13), and uses of au'then- ':'


.uses,8{a6ih~fft~ assessnl~~~i~other classrooms,


'c assessment (questions 14-16), The two columns to share experiences, and to discuss scoring or
n the right ask you to indicate "\\llere I am,Now" standards setting. Standards setting requires con-
d "Where I Would Like to Be" with regard to sensus-building discussions with other teachers. In
ach question. The discrepancies between these addition, discussions on scoring are. a crucial part
\'0 colhmns in'tlicate ..potential targets for profes- of using authentic assessments in order to ensure
ional developiIient in authentic assessment. After in ter-rateragreement.
ach teacher interested in:authentic assessment The complexity of changing the assessment
ompletes thetIhventory,the results can be used to approach in a school or an ESL/bilingual program
form a'dialogue about staff development needs, as warrants a multi-step planning procedure that
'scussed in the next section, and to plan for brings teachers and schools together with parents
uture professional development. This table can and administrators. Participation in the process for
also be.usedto monitor annual progress toward developing authentic assessments is an important
awareness, interest, and'inlplementation of way to gain the cooperation and commitment of
authentic assessment by looking at responses in those who need to be involved in assessment. We
the "Where 1'a'ID'Now'; 'column. Some items in have summarized eight steps for planning and
Figure 2.2 might: also be useful in e,'aluating work- developing authentic assessments in Figure 2.3,
shops,focusing on selected aspects of authentic These steps are adapted from procedures suggest-
assessment, by simply rewording the heading "To ed bv Baker (1993) and Herman. Aschbacher. and
f ,.... •

What Extent Do I" to say "This Workshop Helped Winters (1992), A column is provided on the right.
~le, .." (e,g" clearly define levels of student perfor- of Figure 2.3 to check off each step as it is complet- .,
mance). ed, We suggest that "ou use this table to re,iew
progress in planning for authentic assessment and
in designing professional development,
Designing Authentic Assessments I. Build a team. Create an assessment team of . ,
",:2 _~,
teachers, parents, and administrators to begin dis-
1'.:
cussion on an authentic assessment program, why
. "

,'Werecommend that you work with at least one or


authentic assessment is important, the purposes of
more other teachers at your grade level and gain
the authentic assessments, and the role of the new
they~pport of administrators and parents in using
assessments in instruction and in the school.
any new ass<;.ssments. Perfo'rmance assessments
and portfoli,?&~-epresen~,:~ch a sufficient depar- 2. Determine the purposes of the authentic assess-
ture from traditional tests that explorations with ments. Baker (1993) indicates that the end result
your colleagues during d<;velopment and initial of effective assessment is to improve teaching and
.use 'are nece"ssary to sh;;;:~;in the successes and to learning. With ELL students, the .purposes of .','

'review strategies for overcoming what appear to be authentic assessments can include identification, ( _' .ii.

obstacles. You will need to bring parents into the placement, and reclassification as well as monitor-
picture because grades will be determined in part ing student performance during instruction. It is
,from results on the assessments and because the through all of these purposes that inlprovements
twayin whicll}pformati~~ is sent home may differ in teaching and learning are realiZed. We caution
I. ' " - . , teachers not to expect authentic assessments to
Ifrom traditional approaches, as when portfolios
lare se!lt~o~;:i~gf.fd,ing~periOl:ls to illustrate stu- meet all school or district needs in assessment. The
rdein work: ,:"ouffiI(need;the support of your assessment team can determine how the authentic,
school administrator to move forward ,,~th authen- assessments complement illrormation derived
. . ": .
',' "'."
tic assessment because teachers often need to . from standardized tests or commercially available
language proficiency tests,
~.'
- .,{
.i"~: e, • ' .
. ",.-";;:',;"
. DESIGNING AuTHENTIC ASSESs~Ii,~;:r;N,ji'7. .

,.,;\;~\~t~'
",
''''':'(~ -- "j:
~, ,
, '

, "'.

-~:,,{} >. :;'ri


.
3. Speeif)' objectives. The assessment team must reach objectivesand the types of assessment you want fo
. agreement on the objectives that will be assessed smdents. There are numerous sources for exam-
using authentic assessments. The objectives shoul.d ples of authentic assessment. The examples in thi
be obtained from the district's curriculum, from book are intended as a resource for assessment
. state curriculum frameworks, and from standards teams planning new assessments for ELL students
developed by professional associations (e.g., in their school. A second source is the many new
NCfM 1989). In Chapter 5 on reading and books and articles on alternative assessment that
Chapter 7 on content-area assessment, we provide are emerging on a regular basis. A third source is
examples of these types of objectives. You can the numerous conferences and workshops specifi-
select objectives which will be most effectively callydevoted.to authentic assessment and portfo-
assessed with authentic assessments and set aside lios.A fourth source is the Center for Research 0
for later consideration those that would be more Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing
effectively assessed with multiple-choice or conven- (CRESST)at the University of California at Los".
tional tests. Angeles. CRESST has a database on performance
assessments that is.accessible to teachers. A fifth
4. Conduct professional develnpment on .authentic assess.

I flUmt. The purpose of this professional develop-

ment is to share information with .the design team


and with other teachers about the rationale for
, source is the Test Center at the Northwest
Regional Educational Laboratory in Portland,
Oregon, which contains a lending library for test
items and bibliographies on assessment informa-
authentic assessments, their design, and their use
tion. Finally,a number of test publishers have
in planning instruction. We have seen teachers
introduced performance assessments along v.ith
conduct this type of professional development
their more conventional forms of assessment (e.g.
themselves and for other teachers after having col-
CTB/McGraw Hill, Psychological Corporation,
lected articles on authentic assessment and attend-
RiversidePublishing Company), In some cases, tp,
ed professional conferences or workshops in which
i publishers have item banks of performance assei\S
authentic assessment was discussed. In some cases,
I teachers have invited other teachers in the district
ments that teachers can use in designing their o~
assessments. One major caution about these
who are using authentic assessment to make pre-
j sentations for their school. We have also seen
sources: few of them include performance assess-.
ments specifically designed for ELL students. •
j, teachers influence the topics on district-wide pro- .
Nevertheless, these sources can provide you with
fessional development activitiesby encouraging
ideas for adopting or adapting assessment proce- .
presentations or work- shops on authentic assess-
. dures for u,se"inyour classroom. In addition to col.
ment at their grade level.and for their content
lecting examples of performance assessments, you
area. Where schools have access to local or near-by
.can collect examples of scoring rubrics at the sam~
college or university schools of education, teachers
can get help in planning authentic assessment time.
through collaborative efforts with the university. 6. Adapt existing assessments or develop new Ones.We
Professional development can be extended by have found that the process of developing new
planning information-sharing sessions on teacher authentic assessments without adequate examples
work days or at fuIl-staffmeetings as teachers gain from other sources or without outside assistance i
more experience in the use of authentic assess- a burden' on teachers. Steps such as carefully revie
ments. Inviting administrators to attend these staff ing local objectives that can be .suitablyassessed
development activities ensures they are informed with authentic assessments,designing sample asse .
about the new types of assessment being used. ment procedures, reaching agreement on scoring
rubrics, trying out the assessments, setting stan- ,
5. CoHectexampiLs of authentic assessments. One of th~
dards, and reviewing the success of the assessmen
"best waysto begin the development and use of
are daunting tasks that are enough to discourage"
authentic assessments is to look for examples of
even the most ardent supporters of authentic
the assessments that seem consistent with your

AUTHENTIC ASS£SSMENTFOR ENCUSH lANGUAGE LEARNERS


ssment. It is for these reasons that,we encour- grade-level classrooms' That is, you "ill determine
ge you to look for good examples,~(iuthen'tic""""-ifth~as:ti"!tieS\YOlrhfi\ir~esigned reflect actual
ssment and determine if you can adapt them classroom instruction for those students.
or local use with your ELL population. An assess-
8. Review the assessments. Discuss the assessments
ent tearn may have -ideas about how to adapt
with other members of the assessment team. Share
ese examples to assess local objectives. '
not only how well your students did but the stu-
i. Try out the asses.s,ments. Once y?!;!rassessments dents' perceptions of the assessments. Make adjust-
~avebeen develClped, try them out "ith students. ments' or changes in the assessments if you find
('Iorking with otJ:1trmembers o[the assessment that students are consistently unable to respond to
team, you canse.h~ide classro01P,time to ask stu- certain items, provided that low performance is
~ents to respondJo the authentic assessments. not resulting from a cmriculum-assessment mis-
Givemost of the stUdents enough time to corn- match or inadequate instruction. Some posstllie ",
lete most of the tasks. Students should feel a waysto change the items for ELL students include
nse of success in responding t? authentic assess- providing a diagram or chart that will clarifY,the
ents. You are interested in ho~ students perform question, simplifying the wording, changing the
d how they explain or justify weir responses. directions, and changing the scoring rubric.
ou gain little .fro~ knowing the:number of items Decide on one or more of these changes and then
rude,!ts can complete in a limited time peri~d tryout the assessment "ith a different group of
ince testitems that have not been completed pro- students similar in ability, or proficiencv. , Re'\iew
~ide no information about student performance. the results and determine if performance has been
~ou gain the most information from see'ing how improved. If it has, keep the changes, and if it l)as
~rudehts respond and from justifications they give not, keep making adjustments in the items until
'&r their answers. Score the assessments using the you are satisfied. '
s&ring rubric you have agreed on "ith other
tbcher,; and select anchor papers that YOl.i'can.
s~!ire with others also trying out the assessments. Technical Quality of Authentic
Hook.at ;pecmc items to determine if there are
J,me-ii~ms students did not respond to at all or Assessments .
teilded to get incorrect. This could call either for
fuodifications to instruction or to the item. Demands for the technical quality of assessments
." Ideas for gathering student perceptions of the focus on their reliability and validity.Reliability is
assessment are shown in Figure 2.4. Student pei- the consistency of the assessment in producing the
teptions pro"i.d.~~uable infor;p~~on to assistin same score on diffe~ent testing occasions or with
planning and usin'g authentic aSsessmentto different raters. The most important types of valid-
~prove instruction. ", ity for performance assessmentsare content validity,
I In addition to trying out the ~ssments with or the match betWeenthe content of the ~
!Yomown ELL students, gain th1 cooperation of ment and the content o(instruction, and CORSe-
I . de-level teachers in trying them out with native
quential validity, or the uses of assessmentfor instrUc-
i nglish speakers of the same grade level: This will
I.. • tional planning and improvement.
:accomplish two things. First, you can estabhsh a '
baseline of perf~~mance for typical native English
weaI<ers inyouf'school: It is important to realize REUABILfIY
I,.:.hatstand~~fiperl~rmanc';;'are appropriate for 'In contrast to multiple-choice tests, which are
~de-Ievel classrooms so you can evaluate the per- scored objectively,authenti~ assessments require
tormance of yom own students realistically. '. teache~ judgment t<:> produce a score. This intro-
second, you will find out if the authentic assess- duces the possibilityof subjectivityimd lack of con-
kents you have designed are also autlientic for' sensus with other teathers. Inter-rater reliabilily is ,.'

t --,."
DESIGNING AUTHE!,;TICASSESSME:-' T
-=
19

r
•.... ~'.-.~ . "~

'-'. ,
.,
".,...•.. .... ~..•. ~.~.,•.....
Figure 2.4 How to Identify Student Reactions to Authentic Assessment

• HoW was this different from other tests you have


purpose: to obtain students' perceptions of authentic
taken?
assessment.
_• Did this task assess things that you leamed in
Approach: Work on an assessment team w~h other - school?
teachers at or near the same grade level. Administer • Would you like more tests to look like this?
a multiple-choice test on inforination covered in class • How would you suggest that other students prepare
and score the results, providing scores on the number for this kind of test?
and percent correct. Use an end-of-unit test, if avail- -
After the papers have been scored, you can also ask
able.
students some of the following questions:
Next, identify an authentic assessmentto use with -
.How is the information you get back from this type of
students, such as a writing prompt and scoring rubric.
assessment different from what you get back on a
The prompt should reflect a topic covered in class.
Make an easily understood checklist from the rubric multiple-choice test?
• Can you use the results of this type of assessment
that students can use as a reminder when they ed~
their"own papers. Have each teacher on _theteam use to learn better?
the prompt and rubric in a writing assessment with'the • Can the results of this type of assessment be used
following steps: in grading?
• How can the results be communicated best to your-
• Introduce and discuss the scoring rubric with stU" parents?
dents. Ensure that students understand the rubric
_ will be used to score their written work. Take notes on the students' comments so you can '
• Administer the writing assessment, mentioning share them with other members of your assessment '.
again that the rubric will be used to score their team. Students should see a substantial difference
between feedback they receive from an authentic
papers .
• Give students the opportunity to edit and revise their assessment and from the percentage correct on a
papers using the rubric . multiple-choice test. They may have some creative
• Collect the- papers, score them, and give feedback - ideas on how to use the assessment information for
, -to the students. As an option, ask students to use their own learning and in grading.
,the rubric to score the paper of another student. Comments: The students' perceptions communicate
Then discuss tlie papers and answer any questions valuable information to other teachers in your school
about the rubric. who may be curious about the effect of this type of "
Ask the class their opinions on such questions as the assessment on students and how it can be used to
following: ' plan instruction.

important mainly' to ensure consistency and fair-- ble application of the scoring criteria. ,Scores can

ness (Herman, Aschbacher, and Winters 1992). ! be based on a scoring rubric or a scoring scale that

Without reliability, some teachers may give stu- assigns a numerical value to the performance
dents the impression of "rating hard" while others depending on the extent to which it meets pre-des-

are "rating easY." Further, teachers can give -the ' ignated criteria. Two types of scoring rubrics are

impression of rating students inconsistently, as i'1: holistic rubrics and analytic rubrics.
,the familiar comment about papers thrown in the - An ~xample. of a. holistic rulnic for writing assess-
-~.
air to determine which ones receive the highest - ment will suffice to illustrate why establishing relia-
- grades (those which stick 'to the ceiling). " - bility is difficult. Assume that you have selected a
You will want to have confidence thata score or, writing prompt that will elicit writing fiom stu-

grade ,was based on the actual student perfor- dents on topics that are-familiar and interesting to
them. You are using a narrative genre in which stu-
man~e,~ther than some idiosyncratic or indefensi-
:~~'0\~'-
:._~;fi1t~;:?:, }i~:~~~~';;',"
.-
..:. ~"_,
__~~,_ __.'_ .. _:
,,~j:~f:~y/,{20:''~'urnENTIC
~ FOR ENGUSH LA,'lGUAGE llAJu..'ERS -
~~', ,, __ :....,' .• .t,. "'".j
~litf*~ii;"""::~l!~,~~~~;,~~:~~,r
.
dents are 'Isked to write about an experience .that In .i.isingan analytic s(fJring mlJric, a separate rat-
had personal meaning to them, :or,example: ing is givento~~~£..~,'?:rf~,';.,s~p~rate components in
Write abaut fl(' ,,?,pericnce ih whi~h S';;IM~l1esaid 50IM-' the scale. That is:separate fatings flre assigned to
thing very impurtant /0 you. lHIO was the perso.!!?, Ide,,;H~~e.1~~_meIH/Organization, Sentence
What was said? Why was it important? ;,!;,,~;;.>, Fiue'ncy/Structure, WordChoice. and Mechanics.
A scoring rubric for a holisticall}"5Coredwriting If inter-rater agreement is difficult to establish with
assessment is shown in Figure 2.5, This scoring holistic scoring. you can see that it might be even
.more difficult to establish ,,;th analytic scoring.
rubric was designed by ESLteachers in Fairfax
County Public Schools, Virginia for Usewith ELL Rather than agreeing on the overall score, raters
using an analytic rubric might be called on to
students. A six-point scale is provided to enable
reach agreement for each component. Detailed
teachers to make fine distinctions among begin-
examples of analyticrubrics are provided in .
ning writers. Other than providing an interesting
Chapters 4-6.
holistic system for rating written products, this
rubric illustrates an important point different
teachers might assign different scores to individual RATER TRAINING
papers based on their understanding or their In developing and using authentic assessments.
application of the criteria. The scoring rubric con-
there is no substitute for effective professional
tains six levels ranging from EarlyWriter to
development. There are at least six staff develop-
Exceptionally Fluent. At each level, the following
ment acti,ities that can help teachers reach agree-
domains are addressed:
ment in-scoring an~.authentic assessment (adapted
I.focuses on. a central idea, uses clear introduction, from Herman, Aschbacher, and Winters 1992).
fully develops ideas, and presents a conclusion ""'bile the example we use is of writing assessment,
• uses appropriate verb tenses and varied gram- these steps are also applicable to the assessment of
matical and syntactic structures, uses complex oral language, reading, or assessment in the con-
sentences effectively, and uses smooth transitions tent areas. The steps assume that teachers have
already established a writing prompt or prompts
• uses ,'aried, precise vocabularYappropriate to
and a scoring rubric and have administered the
the purpose
assessment to their students. A clearly defined
• uses accurate capitalization, punctuation, and scoring rubric is an essential first step in .develop- '",.
spelling ing consistency in scoring among teachers .. >.
Each level of the scoring rubric requires slightly Without a clearly defined rubric, the remaining.
more demanding performance from the student steps are not likely to be successful. As with the
on each of the criteria, The difference between rubric in Figure 2.5, you need to defme student
the levels is essentially the degree of control the performance at each level of the scoring scale. The
student has over each of the domains of scoring. steps also assume that .the assessment team has
The ESL teachers who designed this rubric felt reached consensus on the selection of anchor papers.
that the components and the descriptions at each that define each level of the scoring rubric. Finally, I
,

level represented the types of \\'!iring they most a staff developer or a teacher plays the role of facil-
often see among their ELL students. However, itator or trainer with colleagues.
,obtaining inter-rater agreement is complicated 1. Orientation to the asSesS1M11ttask. The staff devel-
;because a student's performance could easilyfall oper or teacher playing the role of staff developer
into one level of the rubric on one of the criteria introduces the purposes of the assessment,
ilt at another level on other criteria. The question describes who will use the assessment .results, dis-
l .
IS how to erisur.e that you reach reasonable levels
cusses the objective being assessed, describes the
pf agr<;ement with other teachers injudging the prompts and student directions, and gives an
papers submitted by students. overview of the scoring rubric. Participatlts in the
\
I ~
.

DESIGNING AUTHENTIC ASSESsMENT 21

I
------- ------------_._~_. __ ..

1
Sample Holistic SCoring Rubric for Writing Samples

Rating Criteria

• Writes single or multiple paragraphs with clear introduction. fully developed ideas, and a
6
Proficient conclusion
• Uses appropriate verb tense and a variety of grammatical and syntactical structures; uses i
complex sentences effectively; uses smooth transitions
• Uses varied. precise vocabulary
• Has occasional errors in mechanics (spelling, punctuation.
detract from meaning
and capitalization) which do not

• Writes single or multiple paragraphs with main idea and supporting detail; presents ideas
I
5
Fluent logically, though some parts may not be fully developed
• Usesappropriate.verb.tense and a variety of. grammatical and syntactical structures; errors
in sentence structure do not detract ,from meaning; uses transitions
• Uses varied vocabulary appropriate for the purpose
• Has few errors in mechanics which.do not detract from meaning
-
-
4 • Organizes ideas in logical or sequential order with some supporting detail; begins to write a
Expanding paragraph
• Experiments with a variety of verb tenses, but does not use them consistently; subject/verb
agreement errors; uses some compound and complex sentences; limited use of transitions
• Vocabulary is appropriate to purpose but sometimes awkward
I • Uses punctuation, capitalization. and mostly conventional spelling; errors sometimes inter-
fere with meaning

3 • Writes sentences around an idea; some sequencing present, but may lack cohesion
Developing • Writes in present tense and simple sentences; has difficulty with subject/verb agreement;
run-on sentences are common; begins to use compound sentences
• Uses high'frequency words; may have, difficulty with, word order; omits endings or words
.• Uses sonie capitalization, punctuation; imdtransitiona:i spelling; errors'ofteninterlere with
meaning

2 • Begins to convey meaning through writing


Beginning • Writes predominately phrases and patterned or simple sentences
.

• Uses limited or repetitious vocabulary


• Uses temporary (phonetic) spelling

1 • No evidence of idea development or organization


Emerging' • Uses single words, pictures, and patterned phrases .
• Copies from a model ,-

, • Lillie awareness of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation

Adapted from a rubric drafted by the ESL Teachers Portfolio Assessment Group, Fairfax County Public Schools, Vir9 Inia.
staff development then actually tak~the assess- rubric to establi~h a colJlmonground. Teachers
ments themselves and score their ?\~TIpa.pers.One should take no~es"';'h!I'i"5h~y
are rating. if needed,
important purpose of taking the asseSsmentis to' ,to describe 'whythey assigheda score to a particu-
ensure that teachers understand the mental tih;':"'''''£:'lar pa"p'a: raking notes is important so teachers'
cesses that are being called on as students take the can review the reasons whythey assigned scores as
assessment: they rate additional papers: Youcan expect these
2. Clarification o/the scmingrubric, Participants dis- judgments to be difficult. Different teachers may
cuss the scoring.J-ubric,and its components in have different reasons for assigningtheir scores. At
small groups in;;;rder: t~ gain a better understand- this point, teachers should sttlve for establishing
ing of the. information derived from the rubric.
,~'.
consensus in their ratings.
eachers think back on the mental processes they 4. Record the scores. In order to proceed to the next
ed while writing. This discussionenables them to step, checking the reliability,youwillneed to design
nderstand the kind of thinking processes that are a system for recording the scoresfor each student.
called for in responding to the prom'pt and how The rater training should cover the process for
e rubric raps into these processes. Think about recording the scores aswellas the processfor assign-
the following questions: ' ing the scores. Raters should operate independent-
?~~\ "-",'
• Are the thinkirig sIqlls you used assessed in the ly,assign their scores to about 2()'25 papers, and
• . .(# • ~

scoring rubric? then combine their scoresonto a single record


.'" ~'.~'
sheet. For example, one systemfor recording the
Are the thinking ~kills assessed by the scoring
scores would be to list the student names or identi-
, rubric important?
fication numbers down the left column and indi-
, Do these thinking skills represent the objective cate one score for each rater in the remaining
the assessment is designed to evaluate' columns, as sho".•.•in Figure 2.6. To ensure objec-
, 'ow rev!ew the anchor papers and answer these tivityon the part of teachers, student names could
uestions: be'removed"or replaced with number codes.
Do the anchor papers at each level of the scoring 5. Check reliability. Teachers can use reliability
, rubricfepresent effective and less effective per- checks to compare their 0"'11 scoring "ith the
forman~e? .- scores ilssigned to anchor papers by teachers who
,Can you write a aescription justifying whya par- are expert in use of the scoring rubric. A simple
,'ticular paper is representative of the level on the table such as the one sho"TIin Figure 2.6 can be

...
'rubrk to whkh it was. assigned?
If needed, how.wouldyou change the anchor

used to record the ratings. Scores given by the
teacher undergoing training are placed under the
column for Rater 1 and scores given by teachers
,papers? who are expert in the systemcan be entered under
Do you have other an~hor papers that you prefer the column for Rater 2. If ratings on anchor paPers
, ~
, at any of the levels of the scoring rubric? are not aV:ii.Iable, scores for any two teach~ under:
, Replace the original anchor papers with the ver- going training can be entered on the table:Subtract
.ons preferred by your team if you have more the scoresfor Rater 2 from those for Raterl and-'
ppropriate substitutes. enter i:h~difference in the Difference column of '
Figure 2.6. The training has been successfulif indi-
. Practice scmi.tig: Each'teacher should score one or
vidual teachers ierid to be in agreement with rat-'
o papers at a time, with discussion following
, ings a:ssigne~to the anchor papers by expert raterS .~
i ,'"
ch paper. ThatJs, tw02teachers might each rate
or are in agreement with each other. ' ,
Ine paper, exchange, papers, rate the new paper,
How much' agreement is desi~ble? Most raters
, d then discuss the two paperS they rated. In the
are conteritif_they agree wi.thin:tl sc9re:~intln
. 'ussions, teachers should foctIs on their reasons
~ .. , -. ." '.

or assigning a score to ~ach paper and refer to the


90 percent of the papers rated (e.g., 18 oU(?[,2,2l-., .•
on a rubric with a 1-4or 1-6scale. Achieving~th~stY',;
\':'i' , ' '. " ' .._~ .,~~Yl.~j.~.\~:~
l:c< '
j
':.
~;.' .
'.
, '- DESIGNIJ'G AUTIfENTIC ASSESSMENT

..
\
~'

t. '.J
'-
'"
",
.;;';iilFigure
.-;+:'h ".
2 6 Rater Scoring Record
",' -, ..~',
~ >; ",I.

- Difference
Rater 1 Rater 2
Student NameJNumber
4- g 1
I 0001 ,

4- 4- 0
2, 0002
2 4- 2
3, oom
4. ,
,

5. ,

6. ,

:t-,i~ " ..
7. ... ...
~
8.
-
9. ,

10. ,

1I ,
-

12. - - '
-. -
13.
,

14. . ,

15. ,
,

16. , .
- . -. ., , . ,

,
,

17.
''''"
' . "
"
, . "' "
. -
18: ,

19, :

20. -.

,
2 I.
. I
22.

23.
-
..•.• , "
- '
. --.
. ,

, . '

24. .
..
25.
-' '
~'~Ac:kftSon-westey_ Authentic Assessment for English Language LearnerS. O'MalleyNaldez Pierce. This page may be reproduced fOr clasSroom use_
>~. 0/,-' . -._ . h"'f<'.
.
;'24 AUTIlENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR rnGUSH LANGUAGE LEARI''ERS

;jl!fA:~::.,,~. ~-, .. . .-
-'
, .•. -.. --
level of consistency for most teachers takes about a authentic assessments to return to the anchor
~alf day of training for a holisti~scoring rU~~,; .•AU"~ pape~".~~~e~.~e'6~igiii;alcriteria in the rubric,,;.
like the one shown In FIgure 2.~. For analvllc scor- and dISCUSS the,r ratings. The teachers can .bring .:'
ing rubrics, ~th scores assigned to each of a num- for discussionadditional examples of papers fTorr :,
ber of domams. training can take a full day. When their students that have been difficult to score.. ' ..~,:
sc~re~are assigned on a number of domains, the This continued staff development keeps a focus on
cntenon for agreement should be reached on the authentic assessments, prevents rater drift
each domain. The 90 percent criterion for inter- from the original criteria, and prO\ides opportuni-
rater agreement may be relaxed to 80 percent if ties for discussion about uses of the assessment in
decisions being'made from the results of the classroompractice. .
assessment are.:Jlot particularly critical in deter-
mining student placement (Herman, Aschbacher,
VAlIDITY
and Winters 1992). However, reliability checks
should alwaysbe part of staff development even Two typesof validity are of most concern with
when no critical decisions 'are being made from authentic assessments.The first is content validity,
the assessment results. or the correspondence between curriculum objec-
One possible s~urce ~f ~ter error is the tenden- tivesand the objectives being assessed. The second
cy to rate high or rate low.That is, some teachers is consequential validity, the way in which the assess-
will agree with a criterion :1:1 about 80 percent of ment is used to benefit teaching and learning pro-
! the'tini,; bufconsistently rate toward the high or cessesand to benefit smdents (Darling-Hammond
the low end of that range. This tendency can be 1994; Shepard 1993).
Consideration of content or curr1mlum validity is
checked by simply adding the Difference column
in Figure 2,6. Assume the criterion ratings are in particularly important to ensure correspondence
column 2. If the difference between Teacher I and between local curriculum objectives and the con-
the criterion are about +1 for each student, .~"". tent of the assessment. In programs for ELL stu-
Teacher 1 tends to rate high. Conversely,if the dif- dents, objectives may be stat~d for English la~-
lerences are consistently about -1, Teacher 1 rates guage outcomes, for content-area knowledge and
low.This tendency should be corrected through skills,and for affectiveoutcomes. These objecti~es
retraining because rater drift can become even may be contained in a specific curriculum docu-
more pronounced after the teacher has been back ment for ELL students or may be drawn from
in the classroom a while. objectivesfor all students. Objectives may be con-
What should be done ,ifone or more teachers tained in a state curriculum framework or in local
curriculum action plans. Presumably, these objec-
seeins unabl~,~~ reach ac~eptable levels of agree-
.ment? The best,approach .isto reviewthe scoring tiveswill have undergone considerable review by
criteria, discuss.the written justification .teachers teachers so that they represent valued learning
have made for their ratings, reviewthe anchor outcomes. To gain community input, parents may
paperS; provide new sample.papers for these teach- be _<lS~ed to reviewlocal objectives.
ers to score, and engage these teachers in discus- Content validityis also important to 'ensure the
sions with the new sample papers. There is alwaysa .assessments represent thinking skillsin your local
possibility.that some teachers will never attain the curriculum, Many local curricula are beginning to .
.levelof agree~en t prefer;';'d. . emphasize higher-<>rderthinking skillsto match
complex n:asoning processes advanced by profes-
i6. Followup. There should be follow-upactivities
sional organiz~tions (e.g., NCfM 1989) and by
[withpeer <;'Ia~l'ing (Joyceand Showers 198?) or curriculum reform advocates (e.g., Marzano et al.
\cO~tiliuin~st3ff ~evel~pm~nt in which teachers 1988; Resnick and Klopfer 1989). For example,
IreVlewtheIr scormg Wltheach other in pairs, in Marzano et al. suggesta number of core thinking
.\~ groups, ~rat departmental meetings. It is skillsareimportant that go beyond the traditional
alwaysa good Idea for the teacher team using .
$. .
:~
r
,I
DESIGl\l~G AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT .. 25

I.,
1
analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Bloom et al. performance assessments should be used on an
1956). Core thinking skills are a means to a parti,cu: ongoing basis. teachers should h:m~ the informa-
lar goal. They are essential to the functioning of tion they need to re\';ew student performance to
other thinking activities and may be used in the \'eritythat students are profiting from instruction.
service of metacognition, cognitive processes, or Havingthis information a\'ailable enables teachers
'. critical and creative thinking. Representative core to investigatethe effects of their teaching on stu-
thinking skills include: focusing-defining problems dent learning and to reformulate their instruction
and setting goals; mganizing--comparing, classify-. so thatit becomes more effective.
ing, ordering, and representing information; ana. It is this insight into what studems are really
1)'Zing-identifying attributes and components, doing, thinking. and learning that is one of the
relationship's and patterns, main ideas, and errors; greatest contributions. of authentic assessment to
gmerating-inferring, predicting, and elaborating; teacher development. (Darling-Hammond 1994,
and establishing criteria and verifying condusions. p.24)
Marzano et al. encourage teachers to ensure that
these core thinking skills are reflected throughout
instruction and assessment: These skills tan b%'l' :PERFORMANCESTANDARDS'.
used at any point in critical thinking and may'be On~ of the additional benefits of performance
used repeatedly. The thinking skills can be taught assessment is in supporting teachers' attempts to
effectively for most students by integrating them specifystandards of student performance. There
with classroom tasks and curriculum concepts. - are at least two basic types of standards: content
Because authentic assessments prmide in-depth standards and performance standards (1)larzano
assessment of student knowledge 'and skills, cur- and Kendall 1993). Content standards "articulate
riculum validity is all the more important. If stu- the important declarative knowledge and procedu-
dents are asked to demonstrate knowledge and ral knowledge specific to a given content domain"
skills in physical sciences on a performance assess- (Marzano and Kendall, p. 24). While declarative
ment when the curriculum objectives at that grade knowledge consists of what you know,or knowl-
level emphasize earth sciences, their low scores edge of concepts and facts, procedural knowledge
must be attributed to the curriculum mismatch is what you knlJU)hIJWto do, the "how" of perfor.
rather than to instruction. Thus, the assessment mance and learning (Anderson 1983, 1990;Jones
provides little of use for teachers in planning, as et al. 1987). Content standards specify the curricu-
the in-depth information is being provided in the lum objectives, the knowledge students must have'
wrong area of the curriculum. This points outwhy '.in:each'contentarea,-and.the skills.theymust be
teachers cannot simply adopt someone else's .. able to.apply-successfully.We present a ,'ariety of
assessments without adapting them to local cur-, contentstandardsinCliapter 7 that can be used to
riculum expectations. This applies especially with assisti~ '~land~dssettirig.' ..
Ell students. i " Performance standards are more specific; they com-
This discussion of the usefulness of assessments plement content standards by identifying specific
for instruction leads directly to consequential activities on which declarative and procedural
validity.Assessments have consequential validityto knowledge can be demonstrated and often the
the extent that they lead teachers to focus on class- conditions under which students are asked to
room activities which support student learrting and demonstrate these achievements (Marzano and
: are responsive to individual student needs. One of .Kendall 1993), Moreover, performance standards
the major considerations in the design of assess- identity the levelof performance on a specific
ment is authenticity with respect to classroom assessment task and scoring rubric that students
. 'activities. If assessments are in fact authentic, the . must attain in order to function at a basic, profi-
teacher will'naturally include the results of the cient, or advanced level (Freed 1993).Typically,
assessments in instructional planning. Because there are verbal descriptions accompan}ing these
.
'-. r.
'-'~'::81 h
26 AUTIIENTICASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH lANGUAGE LEAR,''ERS
';';'\'1~:'~~}~;~Y~:
it'
general standards, as with the scoring rubric concerni~~ assessment in general and the use of
shown in Figure 2.5. This scoring nt~ric~ad six assess~ent \'/:!~Ji,~h,1Wl?~~ts,These include the
levels: Proficient, Fluent;F.xpanding, Developing, purp,?se of me assessment, falrne~s, and grad-
Beginning, and Emerging. Teachers working'in"a' ' ing. 't~;:'V:("{f~'~~

team might agree that all students should be at


least at the' Developing level of proficiency in writ- PURPOSE
ing by the end .of the quarter, and that 85 percent The purposes of authentic assessment with ELL
of the studenfs''should attain the Fluent level or students can include identification, placement,
better by the el1d of the rear. Other teachers might
reclassification,and monitoring student progress,
specifYa diffe~~nt standard or might individualize as discussed in Chapter I. The first three purposes
the standard(al,pending'on where the student -
involveextremely important ("high,stak<;,s")deci-
'starts. However, the standards these teachers select
sions that affect whether or not ELL students
'should be compatible with overall district stan-
receive special language-basedinstruction, the
dards of performance.
type of instruction, and the duration over which
Performance standards are.also established in , the instruction continues. For these reasons, the
content areas such as mathematics and science.
assessment should be conducted accurately and
Curriculum objei'tivesidentifY the types of knowl-
reliably,and multiple assessmentsshould be used
edge andskili~!h~t-a;e;rt,portant in the content
to ensure that the decisionsmade are consistent
areas but do not indicate how successful students
with all that is known about the student. The deci-
must be in ~~co~plishing the objectives. That is
sions should be based on a combination of formal
dIe rol~ of performance siandards. Often teachers
. language proficiency testing, subject area assess-
identify benchmark standards of performance or
ments, and records of classroom performance,
standards that are expected at selected developmen-
where available,Furthermore, ESL and bilingual
tal levels,and discuss the benchmark grade levels at
teachers should join together with grade-level
which students should reach this level of attainment. - teachers and with district assessment staff in mak-
The percentage of students who are considered
ing these decisions. Observations should b~care-
,.to be proficienn'/ill vary. For example, the percent
fully documented if they are to playa role ill thIS
, of stUdents meeting high'standards of perfor-
type of assessment.
mance thight vary from ~Oto 40 percent. Whatever , Assessmentsconducted by individual teachers to '
percent results fioin 'the criterion score eStab-
monitor student progress or to plan instruction
lished, the primary guide to locating the perfor-
can be less formal because high stakes are !lot
mance stalldard should alwaysbe the curriculum
involved. Such assessmentsmay not have to meet
objecti~es; i!.i.e}coringrubric, and the content the highest standards of inter-rater reliability to be
standard. le1imers involved in setting the perfor-
useful and could include observations and anecdo-
mance stand:frii should'not ease the standard sim-
tal records. Authentic assessmentsand portfolios
ply because it is difficul},to attain. High standards
ate often used to monitor student progress as well
of performance often"present a challenge that '
as for grading.
; requires changes in curriculum and instruction.

i
"FAIRNESS
!. Issues m:pesigningAuthentic All students taking performance assessments
Assessment . should have reasonable opportunities to demon-
. .;. . If: ~-
, ~trate their expertise v.~thoutconfronting barriers.
~. '.'.".. 't~:-'<:'.". ~ • ~'~'-:~.
'. As suggested by the National Council on'
I Whe'thehiutilentl~ ~essments are designed by Education Standards and Testing (1992), ELL stu-
, individu;.i'teachers"or by a school district, a mim- dents should be "provided opportunities to learn
~he, of..." .m .m""" m~ ",,001 '0 he "'d~"", and to demonstrate their mastery of material

DESIGNING AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT 27

~•
.-:'
under ci.tcwristances that take into account their dent may be unable to respond to any of the ques-
special needs~ (p. 10). Critics of'11ultiple-choice tions conL1.in"edin (he assessment.
tests have indicated that the tests are culturally One of the waysto address the concern about
biased owing to the unfamiliar item format and to the excessivedependence of performance assess-
contenl that is not representative of the educa- ments on language is to provide the student with
,tional experiences of ELL students. As Mohan opportunities to respond in other ways_Students
, (1986) notes, the item content in conventional can respond by dra"ing pictures or diagrams, mak-
standardized tests often contains references to cul- ing semantic maps of the structure and concept.
tural conventions that are unique to the experi- in textual materials, and gi,ing shorter answers
ences of students reared in the country where the than the conventional extended responses called
'test was developed and normed but which are not for in some performance assessments. For exam- '
,taught directly in school. Apart from simple lan- pie, in describing scientific contributions in the
guage differences, students from other cultures or 20th Century, students might be asked to select the
other countries might beata disadvantage in three most important innovations from a given list
demonstrating',their abilityto-read,or';understaJd! . •and choose wordsfrom another list that explain
the implications of some of this kind of informa- ': ,

, •in 'responding tq,a,question about the causes of a


.
. "vhy those'partiCular three were selected. Similarlv,
tion.": '
Not all problems "ith fairness in using multiple, "s!"ecifichistorical e"ent: students can indicate their
choice tests with ELL students are solved ~y shift- understanding by labeling a cause-effect diagram.
ing to authentic assessments, In fact. some new dif- We describe a number of these assessment proce-
ficulties might be introduced. One problem is that dures in Chapter 7 and indicate how they can be
the performance called for in authentic assess- used.
ments is often highlv language-dependent, either Most concerns about content coverage ,\'ith
oral or written. ELL students might be at a disad- authentic assessment can be addressed b,' bringing
vantage in -responding to these types of questions, the assessmentsinto closer alignment "ith the
depending on their level of proficiency in English. local curriculum. That is, the focus of authentic
A second problem is that the responses called for , assessmentson higher-Order thinking skillsshould
in performance assessments involvecomplex be addressed by ensuring that the local curriculum
thinking skills. Many of these students have not for ELL students includes complex thinking from,
had the opportunity to learn how'w express COm, the earliestle"e1s of instruction onward. This can
" plex thinking skills in English because they are ,,' beaccomplishep p10str~adilyby scaffolding (pro-
continuallyexposed-tb 'curricula-thatfdtilson ,,,' ',viding:temporary con textual supports for mean-
basic skills in the English language. Third" authen- ,ing, including modeling, visuals,,and hands-on
tic assessments are often used to measure' student " experiences), and reducing the liuiguage demands
knowledge in depth in a particular area.' ELL stu-' , of instructional taskswhile maintaining the
dents who have had limited opportunities for requirement for complex thinking (Chamot and
exposure to the full curriculum might easilyfind O'Malley 1994a;Jones et al. 1987). Alignment of
the knowledge and skillsthat they do pos~ess ,, the assessment measures to the curriculum will
missedaItogether. And finally, the use of authentic also ensur.e that students will not be asked to
assessments might exacerbate the problem men- respond to in-depth questions that haye barely
tioned above with culturally unfamiliar content. , been covered in the curriculum. Further, the stu-
:.•.. Authentic measures usually ask a small number of dents will no.tbe asked to respond to culturally
questions about applications of knowledge to a sin- .' 'unfamiliarm~ssages, .thereby reducing the likeli-
gle theme rather than ask a large number of ques- hood of a mismatch between the student's
tions about a broad range of topics. If the content experiences and the content of the assessment '
related to the single theme is unfamiliar, the stu-. measure.
I .,.

the intermi'ngling of achievement "ith other fac-


IGRADING ' , ~.' I I

tors can ha\'e an'tl'ii'ifi'iei'rde~J1egaliweffect


iReport card grades are an impori~h1.'pait of the .
because st~dents receive a n~ix'edmessageon lheir
communication among teachers, students, a~'t,,,,c"
accorr.lpll'snrrf~i'lts:
You tried hard bill didn't suc-
I
parents (Stiggins 1988). Grades have two baSICpur-
ceed 'anyway.The second problem is in the
poses in the classroom: to reflect student accom-
extreme variation in grading from teacher to
plishments and to motivate students. While grades
teacher. Teachers varv not onlv in the factors me\'
may indicate the level or rank order of student
use in grading, they~lso vary i'n the criteria they
performance, theni~'arequestioris about their suc-
use to assign grades on classroom tests.Among the
cess in serving as arf incentive fdr students to exert
methods teachers use in grading classroomtests
greater effort. TeaGners often c6mmentthat not
are the following (EACWest1992):
all students see grades as motivating (Stiggins,
'Frisbie, and Griswald 1989). Grades are extrinsic • percentages (90-100% = A, 80-90%= B, and so,on)
motivators and are often contrasted with intrinsic • mastery (80% = mastery, 60-i9% = partial mas-
motivation derived from self-determined criteria, tery, <60% = nonmastery)
as in learning out of interest and self-created goals.
• grading on a curve (top i% "A, next 24% = B,
Moreover, as Kohn (1994) notes~people who are middle 38% = C, next 24% " D, and lowesti% = F)
promised extrinsic:rewards for an activity "tend to
lose interest in whatever they had to do to obtain • gap grading (assigning grades to suit large gaps
'the reward"(p. 39). Wiggins (1993) puts it even- in a score distribution, e.g., 94-100% = A, 90:93%
more bluntly. He indicates that grades can be a dis- no scores. 83-89% = B, i9-82% no scores. 68'i8%
= C, etc.)
incentive to some students because, particularly
when teachers grade on a curve, somebody always In determining final grades from classroom tests.
loses, and a portion of the class is made to feel some teachers average numerical scores on these
inept. tests, while other teachers average the grades
The proble~s ,,~th assigning grades are even received on the tests. The latter approach reduces
,more e,ident "ith group grades. Group grades are the impact on final grades from a single high or-
typically an attempt to grade the final product of low test score. For example, an extremely low
student teams who worked on a project, essay,or numerical score such as 3 out of 100will have a far
presentation. Group grades can undermine moti- greater impact on the mean of all ti,e tests than a
vation because they do not reward indi~idual work single F will have on the mean of the correspond-
'lor hold individual students accountable (Kagan ing grades. Teachers can also assign different
1995) _The poor performance of a single person weights to tests, papers, presentations, and class-
can lower the gro,!p grade, thereby undermining room participation in determining final grades. In
the motivation of.high achieving students and sum, not only does each teacher decide what "ill
rewarding low performers who are fortunate to be evaluated and how much each activitywill
have a high achiever on"the team ..In this sense, count, but teachers also determine how the final
, the group grade is due to forces outside the con- grade will be calculated. Because of this variation
:trol of the high achieving student. Students need in grading practices and in criteria used to assign
to know that they and other students are individu- grades on classroom tests, we could expect a great.
ally accountable for their work. , deal of variation from teacher to teacher in the
. Surveys of grading practices indicate that teach- final grades students receive even given ":,com~o~
,ers consider factors other than achievement or set of papers or products to rate.
growth in deterMrning:grades"such as perceived One final difficulty in grading practices stems
levefof effort, attitude; ability,behavior, and atten- more from the tests on which grades are based.
dance (Alvennan and Phelps 1994). Two problems than from the grades themselves. In the paSt;clas.s,'.
i . are evident in considering factors other than
room tests have tended to assess lower-levelskills.
, growth or achievement in assigning grades. First,
) ... -~
DESIGNING AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT 29
even when teachers claim to value and teach com- performance or that reflect different le"ds of mas-
plex thinking (Stiggins, Frisbie, and Griswald • tery. Finally, teachers using authentic assessment
1989), In~itably, the resulting grades assigned will share the criteria for scoring student work openly
be based on lower-levelskills instead of on the real and imite discussions of the criteria "ith students
objecti\'es and content of classroom instruction. and parents.
Despite the problems we have identified with With these new opportunities comes a challenge:
grading practices, our experience leads us to to define the procedures by which scoring rubrics
believe that grades can be useful if they are based and rating scales are converted to classroom
on authentic assessments and are assigned follow- grades. -In rating individual pieces of student work,
ing certain guidelines, Grades are requested regu- one option is to directly convert rubrics on a 1-4
larly by parents as a guide to their child's'perfor- scale to corresponding letter grades. This could
mance and are useful as an overall indicator of work acceptably provided that the points on the
student achievement. When combined with illus- rubric represent what you consider to be "A-level"
trative samples of student work and with informa- performance, "B-level"performance, and so on.
tive scoring rubrics, grades can provide parents., While this may be effective in some cases. it is not
and other teachers with a comprehens,ivepicture alwaysa,good practice because definitions of what
of student growth and achievement. Part of the students know and can do at the different levelson
usefulness of grades depends, however,on estab- the rubric do not alwayscorrespond to what is con-
lishing relatively uniform criteria for grades in a sidered to be A or B performance. Further, it may
school or among classrooms. _be unwise to confuse the informed feedback pro-
The introduction of authentic assessment ,ided by a scoring rubric with the external reward
(including portfolios) to accompany more innova- of a grade (Kohn 1994). Thus, a second option is
tive forms of instruction expands considerably the to establish independent standards of perfor-
alternatives that can be used to establish classroom mance corresponding to letter grades. That is.
grades. Teachers using authentic assessments eval- identifYin advance exactly what students receiving
uate students on representations of classroom per- an A, B, etc. are expected to know and do in meet-
formance that include reports, projects, group ing the course objectives. Then obtain a student
work, and so on. With authentic assessment, inte' grade by comparing the student's actual perfor-
grative knowledge and complex thinking can be mance with the standard established. The standard
assessed beyond simple knowledge of isolated corresponding to grades can reflect overall student
pieces of information, and the processes by which performance across activities or projects, thereby
students derive answers can be assessed as well. In avoiding the difficulty of having to create stan-
authentic assessment, student performance is dards for grades on each student product. The
often rated using scoring rubrics that define the o score on a rubric for each activity provides effec-
knowledge students possess, how they think, and tive informed feedback to students on therr work,
how they apply their knowledge. and the standard provides them with direction on
Because the rubrics are specific (or at least what they need to accomplish.
should be) their use tends to reduce teacher-to- Our recommendations in grading and communi-
teacher variations in grading, especially if the cating student performance with authentic assess-
teachers base their ratings on a common set of ment are as follows:
anchor papers. With the use of portfolios, teachers • Assignscores to individual student achievement or
can provide parents with specific examples of stu- ,growth based on a scoring rubric or agreed on
dent work to illustrate the ratings they give to stu- standard to reflect mastery of classroom objectives.
dents-on the scoring rubncs. Furthermore; with
• Assignweights to different aspects of student per'l'
o ti-1-' authentic assessment, teachers often establish stan- [ormance as reflected in class assignments (e.g.,
-.-::: dards of performance that reflect what students
projects, reports, class participation).
o

shoUld know or be able to do at different levels of

.... ~-..."..".
AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENI' FOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
-~
-\ .~~i.:~~t>.'/l;~~'1~.;c
.'
,,' ,,,:,,'

• Multiply each rating by the weight and sum the and to avoid the stigma attached to grades of D
ratings or scores on individual papers or.perfor- an~ Fby ~~vi!1.g~~den~,?,p~rtunitie5 to improve
mances to obtain an~~eral(numeric ~core./ ~.••
... '
' •.'1i\;".\~~
the,r ~~f.~d~fi,eand a cooperating teacher agreed
• Reach agreement with other teachers and with to assIgn only grades of A, B. C. or I (Incomplete),
students on the interpretation of the summed and graded only if the student turned in 80 per-
. score with resj>ect to grades .. cent of required work becauSeanything less would .
be insufficient to grade. Students were given
• Do not assign .grades for effort
~_. >.--'
",p
and especiallydo through the next quarter to complete their work
not combine e.ffort and ac~ievement in a single and stilI receive a grade. Students were inmlved in
grade...., - ••.~ <,; ',,>: .' the assessment of their own learning and also in
• If you assign :gtades for gr6\Jp'work,aSsignsepa- the design of this system.One of the student rec-
'~rategrades for the group product'and for indi- ommendations was to attach to the 'grade report a
vidual contributions. list of assignments to date and identif)',which ones
the student had completed. Students selected five
In using anecdotal records to ~upport grades:
. t;'.".-, or six pieces from a portfolio to represent their
• Use the language of the rubric to help you write "best work," wrote a self-evaluationof the quarter's
anecdotal cOlllJDents,describing specificallywhat work, and wrote goals for the next quarter. The
. each student should know and be ,!ble to do, and . teacher used all of this information in a quarterly
usiIlg examples. parent-teacher-student conference \\ith consider-
able SJlccessand a high degree of student partici-
• Link you; comments to instructional goals, and
""'(whete app'ropriate):distinguish between lan- pation in the system.
guage proficiency and content-area knowledge
and skilIs.
Conclusion
• In expressing concerns, focus on (l) what the .
.student knows and can do, (2) your plan or
.
f'.stptegies for helping the student improve, and The types of authentic assessments discussed in
(3),what
,'.
the parent can do to help.
' ,
this chapter and in subsequent chapters are for-
• DiScussgrowth over time in addition to current ward-looking with regard to models of teaching
.. performance. and learning. These assessments enable students
to construct information rather than simply ,
• Use anecdotal comments to provide feedback on
choose response alternatives, and challenge stu-
. .
group work and group' participation ..
• Use enclosures: a one-page class or course
dents to use their language to communicate their
understandings and applications of knowledge.
overvie~, ~1;i~s of the''Stliilltnt,swork, the stu- These' types of assessmentspose significan t chal-
dent's
-
self.eval~tion,
-. _
a letter
. . 4
from you

or from lenges in use with ELL students because they tend
the student to parents, etc:.",:-.,-,,,,. to rely on oral and written responses, yetprovide .
, .. We believe that teachers' sh~~ld explore alterna- flexibility by enabling students todemonsti-at~ .
tive forms of assessment and grading.that are their knowledge and skilIsin a variety of Ways. .
adapted to their instructional methods and to the However, as with all assessments, the major chal-
scoring rubrics. they use in evaluating student per- lenges are to ensure that the assessments help
fo~mance. In?pe such appr(,~ch (Brodhagen improve instruction and benefit students.
1994), a grade-level middle school teacher
attempted t~ '~26mplish th,:e~:goals:to establish a
'grading system that was consistent with an integra-
tive (thematic) curriculum, to involve students in
~ the design of classroom assessment and grading,

3I

!
DESIGNING AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT
}i

APPLICATION ACTMTIES .--i,i

J. In a group, use Figure 2.1 to discuss the typesof


',.".authentic assessment you are familiar with or
. :"S~.':':"i"'i}~'
• •
t';Dli\--e expenence usmg.
W~~,
V@ri'yourown, complete Figure 2.2. Then talk
t,~ili
a'~parmer about where you arenow with
:~gard to goal setting and authentic assessment
and where you would like to be. Share this iUfor-
mation with other teachers and use'the informa-
tion to decide what type of staff development
you prefer.
3. Form a team of teachers and admirlistrators ..
'working to design and use authentic'aSsess- :<1'1' . '
,. .t

ments. Use Figure 2.3 to begin a discussion and ..


develop an overall plan for authenticassessmen( ,
in your school or program. ' ;'.
~. .
4. Tryout one authentic assessment in a classroom
.~
'. and then share your experience. For example,.
tryout a "Titing assessment using.the scoring'
rubric in Figure 2.5. Select writing prompts
-appropriate to your curriculum or to topics
being discussed in class. Modifythe rubric to
match local language arts objectives.
5. Check the inter-rater reliability of a sCoring.
rubric. Work with one other teacher to identify
two or three anchor papers that exemplify dif-
ferent points along the continuum on a scoring
rubric. Then use Figure 2.6 to cOIl}pareyour ...•..
score with those of others ..Incase of disagree- .
ment, engage in a discussion to clarify and revise
the rubric, if needed, or to resolve differences. !
M~. "

.'
PORTFOLIO
ASSESSMENT
•• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • •• • • • • • •
"

! The number of professional publications emerg- ments: student self-assessment and goal setting. As
ing on the topic of portfolios continues to increase part of this diScUsSIon,we ideiitif}idifferent kinds
rapidly. Yet, even with the proliferation of materi- of portfolios and varying levels of portfolio use. In
als, not one addresses in any significant way the addition, we address the teacher's role in collabo-
use of portfolios with English language learners rative assessment. Finally.we provide suggestions
(Ells). In this chapter we provide an overview of for getting started with ponfoli5>s,managing port-
I portfolio assessment, including its whole language. folios,and using portfolio"assesSment ill instruc-
! base; implications for assessment, and advantages tion. Examples presented throughout this chapter
for ELL students. We also describe basic features are meant as models to be,modified by teaehers or
of portfolios and elaborate on two essential ele school teams for their particular
,,
needs:

PORTFOUO ASSESSMENT 33
arts classrooms but also in integrated curriculwn
Inst:ffidioilal~Context "',
programs (Hedgecock and Pucci 1993).
• • • • • .' In a whole language approach, the roles of the
p~~~~ hav~'been most often associatedwith .teacher and student change from those in tradi-
, the'..~~wtiere aspiring artists carry their "best" ' tional classrooms. Instead of transmitting informa-
, . Ei;pi~~~ihisk~tehes in progress in order to display tion based on a pre-determined curriculum and
their lalents.In 1987, researchers began collecting textbooks, the teacher provides an environment. ,
information on portfolios in language arts class- where both teacher and students have input into \,
rooms and found little information and virtually the nature of each day's plans and activities.This is
"-~"\ri-;:;rese:archon the topic (Tierney,Carter, and a challenging (if not frightening) role for many
'c,~":nesail99I). What they did find wasthat teachers teachers. Some tend to see it as givingup .power,"
.~"$l; -.. -
-''.L, .•more often 'advocated portfolio use than knewhow while others see in it the potential for empowering
.- . 'to ~pl<;meitt portfolios systematicallyin their both teachers and students (Cummins 1989).The
classrooms. This finding has been substantiated by. student's role changes from one of passiveabsorber
others (Calfee and Perfumo 1993;Gottlieb 1993; of information to one of active, self-directedlearn-
O'Malley et al. 1992;Valdez Pierce and O'Mallef .', 'er and evaluator. The student becomes a critical,
1993). ' creative thinker who analyzes and applies facts
One important instructional context that has rather than justrepeats.them. Clearly,these chang-
supported and extended the use of portfolios has ing roles implyradicalchanges for assessmentaswell
been provided by the whole language approach. I. as instruction.
A whole language approach emphasizes holistic
instruction and assessment rather 'than a skills- IMPLICATIONS FOR ASSESSMENT
based approach to learning, Whole language As in whole language classrooms, the roles of
instruction often involvesthematic curriculum or teachers and students using portfolios for assess-
the teaching of skills in the context of authentic ment change. Portfolio assessment is very much
reading and writing (e.g., trade books instead of learner<entered, which means'that the student
basal readers). In a whole language classroom, has input on not only what goe.sinto the' portfolio
activities are learner<entered, meaningful, and but also on how the contents ,,'ill be evaluated. In
authentic (GoOdman 1986;Freeman and Freeman addition, the student has a role in assessinghis or
1992). A whole language approach provides a con- her own progress in the classroom. This learner-
text for learning. It makesuseJ)fstudents~..prior..,: ~. centered feature of portfolios is what some have"
, knowledge, experience, and interests'and supports , , called the -.spirit",of the portfolio classroom
active construction of knowledge.:Italso provides, (Tierney, Carter, and Desai 1991).
meaning and purpose for learning and engages , , We encourageyou to.integrate these new'roles
students in social interaction 'to develop both oral for teachers and studenis into your classroom so
and written language. Rather than ignore basic that portfolios can become part of a le;uner<en-
I

skills, a whole language approach supports the tered, collaborativeassessment program, rather
integration of specific features of language in a .thail one which is teacher<entered. In portfolio
meaningful context across the school curriculum assessment,students and teachers become part-
(Cazden 1992). Whole language approaches have ners who confer on portfolio contents and their
taken hold in more elementary than secondary , interpretation. It is not a matter of who has the last
classrooms and are evident not only in language word but of reaching consensus. Because of this, it
.takesconsiderable time and experience on the
• ><'-- ,"
part of both teacher and students to learn their J:lew
~ 1. An apfJroodirefers to a philosophy toWard teaching encompassing a , roles. It takes trustand'respect between both par- .
number of instructional techniques rather than a single instructional
> method (Richards and Rodge!, 1986),
ties aswell.
.ADVANTAGES OF PORTFOLIOS folios in classrooms and schools, and at broader
administrativelev,e1s.~;~", ,
One of the most valuable aspects of pO'itfolio " '," C. ,~H .,.;.if '.-''-''-.' - -'"""-;~~ .t.::<~: .~;
assessment is that it links assessment with ":"':'.).
instruc-
,

tion. That is, student performance is evaluated fn


~.\
:;-;-",,-'
ESSENllA'L 'ELEMENTS j
OF PORTFOLIOS
rdationto instructional goals, objectives, and class- From among the diverse types of "ortfohos being
\ room activities. Portfolio contents should repre- used today. we identifY several key elements. These
~.sent what ELL srudents are doing in the classroom include: samples of student work. student self-
and reflect their,.progress toward instructional goals. assessment, and clearly stated criteria.'
In this way, portfolios ,can be said to have content
validity (see Chapter'2); that ,is, the contents reflect samples of Student Work We know th~t most
authentic acti\~ties through which students have' . portfolios consist of a sample of student wo,;k that
shows growth over time. The sample can consist of
:.•.. been learning in the classroom. In addition, com.-
piling portfolios does not take an inordinate writing samples, audio or videotapes. mathematics
amount of time away from classroom-based activi- problems, social studies reports, or science experi-
ties when the contents reflect ,the curriculum. In a ments. The contents may depend on student or
way, portfolios go beyond assessment. They do this teacher preferences, the purposes of the portfolio,
by trans-forming.instr.uction,and learning. Success- or the instructional goals the portfolio is designed
I" fu\ teachers have foun~ that portfolios increase the to reflecL Tierney, Carter, and Desai (1991) indi-
I quantity as :well as the quality of writing and con- cate that the whole point of having portfolios is to
tribute to students' cognitive development indi\~dualize them as much as possible-not only _
(Dellinger 1993). For an example ofa first quarter to suit classroom goals, but to suit each student's
portfolio, see the Appendix. goals'aS well. Because of this. no two portfolios
Vnlike single test scores and multiple-choice rna\' ever be alike.
tests, portfolios provide a multidimensional per- Although portfolios may differ considerably
spective on srudent growth over time. Portfolios from one classroom to another, they can neverthe-
reveal much more about what students can do with less be used as systematic collections of smdent
, what thev, know than do standardized tests. The work. Systematic ~ollections need to be carefully
. "'lI" ,-

use of portfolios encourages studen ts to reflect on planned, just like instruction. That is, if we plan
their work, to analyze their progress, and to set our instructional goals, objectives, materials. and
improvement goals. Portfolios can be tailored not activities, we should also plan a way to gather evi-
only to indi\~dual classes but also to indi\~dual stu- dence of student achievement toward learning
dents, and portfolio results can be used to pl~n . goals. We need to determine not only the process
instruction.}'.,?~!:f()1}2Scan co~tain samples of work by which we and our students will e,,,iruate progress
in the native Iatigiiage as well'as in English, butalso.the system for bringing all the informa-
depending on'the,medium ~f instruction and the tion together and for sharing it with smdents and
goals of each class. ," their parents, other teachers, and program admin-
!~'f, istrators. Portfolios can provide such'a system. We
. can begin by asking students to collect baseline
What a Portfolio Is and Isn't samples of their work (e.g., the first piece of writ-

. .
:..~
ing for the year, the first story retelling, and/or the
first oral interview) and updating these as the year
Portfolios mean different things to different peo- progresses. ".',.:
ple. A1thoughtlierC'is no single dermition of port-
folios'that will'suit'<;veryone, here we will define Student Self-Assessment Without self-assess-
the essentialelerilents of a portfolio and describe ' ment and reAecti?n on the part of the student, a
different types of portfolios being us~d in class- portfolio is not a portfolio (Paulson, Paulson, and
rooms today. We will also indicate the uses of port- Meyer 1991; Tierney, Carter, and Desai 1991;

PORTFOUO AssESSME:\'T 35
Valencia 1990). That is, a portfolio is not just acquire experience through them. Tiernev.' Carte
~"'1
another assessment measure that is done to a stu- and Desai (1991) suggest that the new role for
dent by a teacher or someone else. A portfolio is teachers includes prmiding time for work that
a unique opportunity for students to learn to encourages decision making. drafting, reflecting,
monitor their own progress and take responsibili- discussing,reading. and responding, as well as
ty for meeting goals set jointly with the teacher. using information gathered from interactions with
Portfolios that call for reflection on the part of students about their portfolios to guide instruc-
students lead to several outcomes: students take tion.,Students need to learn how to choose writin
responsibility for knm,;ng where they are with topicsand materials; engage in self-and peer
, __ ,. regard to learning goals; they broaden their view assessment,and set goals'for learning. These'
of what is being learned; and they begin to see aspects of portfolios will be discussed more fullv
learning as a process, thereby getting a develop- later in this'chapter. '
mental perspective on their learning (Wolf
1989). Clearly Stated Criteria Students need to know
How do students do self-assessment,,,1thportfOi ~owtl)eir work ,,;11be'evaluated and bv'what stan-
Iios?Three kinds of self-assessment have tJeen -, ,dardstheir ;,'ork "ill be judged. Spec~ing criteria
described: documentation, comparisoIi, and inte- and standards and providing representative sam-
gration (Paulson and Paulson 1992). 1ftdocumenta- ples of what theSe look.like helps students set goals
tion, the student provides a justification for the and work toward them, Rather than making stu-
,items selected for the portfolio. Students 'asked to' dents'guess at how the t"acher is grading or apply-
, select their "best work," for example; might indi- ing criteria, the teacher involves students in setting
cate that they chose a piece because they liked the standards and c1arif}ingthem. Teachers need
what they had said, because the work had good to make time for students to discuss criteria and
spelling, or because they liked the topic. In self- engage in goal setting. In addition, goals that many
assessment through comparison, students compare a students in a class have in common can be used to
recent piece of work ,,;th an earlier one by looking direct instructional activities, such as mini-lessons
for waysthat they have improved as writers. For designed to address students' ~eed for help in for-
example, students might comment on their i~- mulating summaries or using transitions in written
proved editing or ability to keep to a central theme discourse (Clemmons et aI. 1993;Tiernev. Carter,
in more recent writing. In the third kind of self- ' and Desai 1991). ',
assessment, integration, students address their In portfolio assessment, criteria can be identi-
learning in a more general way.They'usethe,portC fiedfo~ selecting the work ,samples thatgo in port-
folio to provide examples of their growing' . folios as well as for judging the quality of each
strengths in oral or written language or'their inde- sample (Herman;ASchbacher;a:nd Winters 1992).
pendence as a learner. All of these forms of self-" Since 'one of the principles of performance assess-
assessment are important for Eli students as they ment is public and discussed criteria, criteria for
go about mastering new skills. portfolio assessm'ent need to be clear to 'students'
Despite the advantages of student self-assess- and parents.
ment, many teachers do not yet feel comfortable Our experience in working with ESLteachers
with it. In fact, teachers have told us that they do using portfolios indicates that even when teachers
not believe in giving up this much control to stu- have identified a focus for portfolios and guided
dents, whom they do not believe to be 'capable of ' students in engaging in self-assessment,they may'
self-aSsessment.This assumption calls forinstruc- ' " still begr"dillg samples of student,work without
y- tion on two sides: instruction for the teacher and having clearly stated criteria for each sample or
instruction for the student. Both parties need to type of work. Later in this chapter we describe how
'learn about their new roles in aSsessmentand teachers can teach students to set criteria and stan-
dards for their work.
',-

,36' ,AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH Lo\NGUAGE LEARNERS


TYPES OF PORTFOLIOS time. Each entr)'inthe,.portfolio has been selected
,', "J,,"i:''''''''l!a,I~\;,''''',.,"
. ',.

When we think of portfolios, most of us think,df;,"", \\ith,b9t!?sW<Jerit and teacher input and is e\<lluat-
~,. '\"" •• I

ed b;ired"~~'~'riteriaspecified byboth student and


collections of student work,including samples of
teacher. These criteria maytake the form of rubrics,
their best work. However.in our interactions ",ith
checklists, rating scales,and so on. \\'hereas the
teachers of ELL students, we've realized that port-
folios tend to mean different things to different portfolio itself does not receive a grade or a'rating,
the different entries may be weighted to reflect an
people and are by no means standardized to suit
every student's needs. Anumber of attempts have overall level of student achievement.
Our experience indicates that portfolios are
been made to describe different types of portfolios
more often used as showcaseand collections port-
(NEA 1993; Gottlieb.J995);.but it is our impres-
folios than as assessment portfolios. This may be
sion that there 'are"three baSic_types of portfolios:
because the idea of quantifying student work goes
showcase portfolios, collections portfolios, and
against the notion that portfolios are reflections of
assessment portfolios.
student work and belong to students themselves. It
Showcase Portfolios Showcase portfolios are typi- mav also be because most teachers have not received
cally used to display a student's best work to par- any guidance on how to plan portfolios as assess-
ents and school administrators. As showcase ment management systems.For whatever reason,
" •..• ,;10" • •

pieces, enlries iii-the portfolio are carefully select- _ portfolios planned and used systematicallyfor
ed to illustrate slUdent achievement in the class- assessment purposes are currently not being widely
room, Som'~ sChoolssponsor a 'portfolio night" used at the classroom level.They are, however,
where portfolios can be discussed with teachers, beginning to be used for such purposes at the dis-
students, and parents. The limitation toshowcase trict-\\ide and state levels,\\ith mixed results
portfolios is that. in showing only students' best (Abruscato 1993; Herman and Winters 1994). In
work, they tend to leave out the path by which stu- cases where portfolios are 'mandated on a large-
dents arrived. The process itself is missing. A show- .scale basis, this practice may actually undermine
case portfolio is one which tends to hold only their value for indi\idual slUdent reflection and
rfinished products and therefore may not success- self-assessment (Case 1994).
fully illuStrate student learning over time.

Collections Portfolios A collections portfolio liter- LEVELS OF PORTFOLIO USE


ally contains all of a slUdent's work that shows how, , The use of portfolios in classrooms has sufficient
_a student deals "ith'daily class assignments. These advantages that it has recently become an alterna-
are also called working/alders and may include tive to traditional assessment at the school level '
rough drafts, ~~~!~ni~,wor~in-progress, and final and in statewide'assessment programs: However,
products. This typEof portfolio may contain evi- uses at other than the classroom level change the
dence of both prace.ssand r,roduct and has the original purpose and usefulness of portfolios for
advantage of contai;:;ingev~ything produced by instructional planning.
the student throughout the year. However, it
Classrooms At the classroom level, portfolios
becomes rather unwieldy for assessment purposes
reflect classroom instruction and activities and
because it has not been carefullyplanne~ and
have the potential for linking assessment and
"organized
. for a.spe~ificfocl'S.
',. ~:. ~ instruction in ways that externally~imposed assess-
Assessment Portfolios Unlike showcase and ment does not. Portfolios can,capture both process
collections piJt'tfoljo.s;hsSesii[zent
portfolios are and product by focusing not only on the answer to
focused reflectio'hs'ofspecific learniIlg goals that a problem but also on how students approached
contaln Systematic collections of student work, stu- the problem-solving situation. Forexample, let's
dent self-asseSsment,and teacher assessment. The sayyou are working with low literacy students in a !

contents are often selected to show grO\\'lh over high school ESL program. How would you go
~
,
'

PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT • 37
about using a portfolio for assessment?First, you' the curriculum content and instructional strate-
would deflneyour instructional goals, Then YOU'i gies (Koretz 1993).
would review how you are documenting student
progress toward those goals and whether your
approaches need to be revisited in light of what we Self-Assessment: The Key to
blOW about how students learn, Finally,you would
Portfolios
h'tlp students generate criteria bywhich their work
would be evaluated, aswell as criteria for selecting
what should go into the portfolio. Lowliteracy stu- The key to using portfolios successfullyin class-
dents will need extra support in using portfolios' rooms is engaging students in self-assessmenL
Wltil.they have been in your classfo~.at least a .Effectiveassessmem involvesstudents and enables
quarter or semester.' them to see possibilitiesfor reflection, redirection
. ~.-
and confirmation of their own learning efforts,
Schoo Is At the school level,portfolios can fol-'
Students often need support in understanding th
low students to the next.ESL/bilingual or class-
, "". '.importa,'nceofs<'lf-assessm,ent,in becominginde-
room teacher; In this context; portfolios contain " .
. . . ,,: ,oPendenLevalu~torsof.th,eirown.p.rogress,and in
valuable evidence of howfar a stUdent has coine"
.setting goals for future learning,
toward meeting classroom or program goals. An i
assessment portfolio is useful for this'purpose
. because the contents can illustrate student gr~wth IMPORTANCE OF SELF-ASSESSMENT
and achievement. On a district-widelevel,.portfo-Why is'self-assessmentimportant? If we see ELL
lios can accompany students from school to school students as acth'e learners who construct their 0\\1
in cases of transfer or promotion, again providing knowledge, then surely asking students to map
folIow-{)nteachers with concrete evidence of what their route and check their progress along the W3V
the student has accomplished and how far he or are part of the learning process, Apprising students
she stilll'1eeds to go, In many cases,district ESL of the performance standards and criteria to which
programs are passing along folders with test results they will be held accountable helps students focus
and some :i1ternative assessmentsas the student on precisely whatit is that their work must show,
moves from teacher to teacher,.but these cannot Teachers indicate that when students become
be called portfolios. Instead, they serve as place- activelyinvolved in self-assessmentthey become
men t folders for which the data are collected only more responsible for the direction their learning
. twice ot several times a year;Assessment portfolios "takes (RiefJ990; Tierney, Carter,.and Desai 1991;
inherently require continual updating imdmaint';-.", ',Wolf1989): ' '.. ' ..
nance and include student input, self-assessment, " _'"
and goal setting.' LEARNING ABOUT SELF-ASSESSMENT
~. ~-t
Statewide Assessment Not much empirical '. ELL students at beginning levels of proficiency in
evidence exists regarding the use of portfolios fo; English need time not only to acquire the lan-
large-scale 'assessments'(Herman and Winters guage but also to be able to communicate their
1994). Also, little information exists regarding the ideas and plans. Because of this, these students will
validity and reliability of portfolio assessment used need extra support in using portfolios until they\'e
for high-stakes purposes (e.g., to qualifystudents been in your classroom for at least one or twofull
. for high school graduation) .The Vermont state- grading periods .
wide portfolio assessment program reported low Teachers should learn how to support students .
inter-rater reliability with some of its portfolio in evaluating:their own progress. Even students as
...• '~
, ..•.-
'components. Nevertheless; self-reports from' .young as kindergartners.can
. ,~ learn
.
to identifY
'
:;.. essential aspects'of good work (Clemmons et al.
".,,'
teachers indicated that portfolio assessment had
-"""',.
positive effects on instruction, in particular, on . 1993;Sperling 1993). The following discussiOn
"-<;~:

I~~~' AUTIiENric AssESSMENT FOR £NGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERs


. i
F============~~~~~G';''';::~J'''>''ff:.'':
====",-,:;;"-";".\';":--~.~-~,,,,,,",,,;:!;'"'''''' ----
,~'

draws on the work of Clemmons et al. and Tierney, projector or give every student a copy of several
Carter, and Desai (1991), W!losediscussions of~'''':!
self- samples ofstudenfW&J<;,'( 01'<11 or written perfor-
, .. . ,h.•.. ,.
assessment in grade-level classrooms we have.'" -", niah'i:~W:iAfsiudents nani~ the chal'acteristics, you
adapted for our own purposes with ELL students. could write these on the board or on chart paper.
lf you are new to student self-assessment, you These become criteriachans. Criteria charts should
should start smalL That is, begin with one assess- contain as many essential criteria as stUdents can
ment at a time and gradually build a repertoire of generate. even if these are added a few at a time. lf
,self-assessment approaches and'techniques that students initially identifV onlv a few characteristics
• I, •

'most closely match your instnlctional goals. We you might ask probe questions to guide them in'
have included some sample self"assessment for- looking at aspects of performance not yet men- '
mats in this chapter for you to;~iiapt or m<>difYas tioned. State criteria in positive terms, sUm as "I -
you choose. By beginning With an assessment can ... n or "I put ... n Examples of student-genera.ted
model that closely reflects your instructional goals, criteria can be found in Figure 3.1. These, criteria, '
you will be hallivay toward using student self-assess- appear as they might on a criteria chart developed
menL Every model will need to"be tailored to your in a typical classroom. You can place the chart on
students' needs. However, it is 'Important to the ,vall of your classroom and refer to it from tin1e '
remember that self-assessment,'is a process through to time as you discuss student writing. Have stu-
which students must be led. Self-assessment is not dents work in cooperative learning groups to examine
; about forms or checklists. Teaching students to samples of good work and extract criteria. Younger
;;;'evaluate their progress begins with realizing that _ students and those "ith lower proficiency can use
students will be learning new skills. As such, they fewer criteria and language appropriate to their
will need plenty of opportunities to learn and level.
apply tl1ese skills with feedback from you on how a
The use of the criteria chart is similar to writ-
they're doing. ers' workshop. where the teacher leads students
through mini-lessons to focus on aspects of their
Setting Criteria In order for students to evalu- work that need improvement (Calkins 1994;
ate their own work or performance, they need to Graves 1983; Samway 1992). You can present mini-
be able' to see examples of good work and under- lessons to students on specific criteria for evaluat-
stand by what standards it has been judged. This ing oral language, reading comprehension, writing,
means that you need to work with students to specify and content area progress. One mini-lesson might
the criteria bv which different kinds of work will be focus on'the use of punctuation in writing (a con~

evaluated. For example, you could discuss the ele- cern ESL teachers often raise for beginning and
ments of good oral proficiency, reading compre- intermediate students). One way to get students to
hension, writing, problem solving, or working in focus on this aspect of their writing is to provide
groups. In helping students to'evaluate their own them with two samples of writing, one with appro-
work, you can also pruuide samplfs of exemplary work priate punctuation and onewhich lacks punctua-
(called benchmmks) and less th~ exemplary work. tion. By having students compare and discuss the,c'<'
These examples let students see what good work two writing samples, you can be sure that they will
looks like and develop a clear idea of how their come away with a better idea of why effective punc-
I'
work will be evaluated. To do this, you can keep tuation is essential to good writing. As criteria
samples of student performanfe from each quar- evolve, you can add these to the student-generated
! ter or grading period in a notebook, or use sam- list. Students can refer to the criteria for different
ples of student performancey:om a previous year aspects oftheir oral language, reading, writing,
and share these with students.~ and/ or content area achievemenL As students ,
Ask students to identify the,characteristics of exem- internalize the criteria, they will 'no longer ne_edto:,;;~'
plary work whim they think makes,it good or out- refer to a wall charL _c,~, '.
-", ..
standing. You can put a sample on the'overhead

PORTFOUO ASSESSMENT 39

,
I

Applying Criteria Once students have partici- portfolio partner (Clemmons et aI. 1993). Ask stu-
pated in identirying criteria to assess their work, dents to select a work sample that they want to put
they need opportunities to apply tlu! criteria as a ,. in their portfolio. Together",ith another student,
group to actual work samples. You can begin by hav- their portfolio parmer, they can evaluate one of
ing students work in pairs or in small groups. Ask their own entries. using the criteria developed by
students to identify the strengths andweaknesses ,the class. On 3" x '5" index cards, students can jot
of a sample selected from their own work. The cri- down the strengths and weaknesses of their part-
teria they use ",ill be drawn from the criteria chart ner's work sample and attach the card to the port-
or a handout. The group can then share their folio entry, as suggested in Figure 3.2. This can be
assessment with the rest of the class, perhaps using done with all types of student work samples, includ-
a transparency of how they applied the criteria. ing oral language samples, reading comprehen-
The class can then discuss this assessment as a , sion activities, writing samples, and content area
whole and suggest revisions of the product. When work samples. You can ask students to reflect on
students have done this a number of times, they their own work bv considering what their partner's
are ready to begin assessing their oum warn individual- assessment savs •
about what theyI have learned. From I
I),. You will need to provide opportunities for stu- peer assessment students can tlu!n mooe to independent
dents to make the transition from the group self-assessment. Although they will need to rely on
process to self-assessment with varied types of writ- the criteria chart or handout initially, the more
"ing or other products. practice they get in applying the criteria to their
Another way to advance students toward individ- own work, the more independence they will devel-
ual self-assessment is by having them work with a op in assessing it.

-!~
40 AunIENIlC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH LA."IGUAGELEARNERS
etting Goals By el)gagiI)g in self-assessment sample. In t~is wa)';'stiiaent,J)~gin to get a feel for
ctivities, students begin to ide.'.tif)' strengths"a~d {<."; ho\~'t~)'iil~riiiffiheir own il1lpn);'~melll goals. By
'eaknesses in their work. \Neaknesses become working together in pairs or groups and getting
provement goals. For ELL students. you will feedback from the class, students get practice in
robably need to give numerous examples of your identifYing weaknesses in their work and in setting
"n personal improvement goals, such as reading realistic goals. Once students set goals for others'
;ne best-seller each mqr-!h or jogging two miles work, they can set goals for themselves with a port-
:very other day. i\sk student~ for examples of their folio partner and then indi\idually. Studen):' can
\\TI personal goals, then write these on the board record their goals on index cards attached to tJ:1eir
ddiscuss'how they ";;ight.be applied to their work sample, as shown in Figure 3.3.", -\
ortfoJio entries. For example, Clemmons et al. Working Toward Goals Students will need help'- ,
1993) suggest that teachers guide students in set- in remembering to work toward their learning
'ng realistic goals by putting forth humorous
goals. One of the ways to make sure students.
xamples, such as, "My goal is to read a hundred
remember is to have them jot down their goals on
ooks this week." an index card or a sheet of paper and attach this
Have students begin by setting improvement
to their notebook or to their desk where thev, .can
oals for the work sain'ples' used previously in
refer to it from time to time. Another way is to
stablishing criteria. As a' class, identify areas of
meet with students in small groups to discuss their
rleed in the work samples or performances and
progress toward goals. Encourage students to
then jot d~wn improv~riient goals for each work

igure 3.2 Portfolio Partners

Your Name -------------------------------


Your Partners Name -----------
---'-------------------------_._-----_._------

1. 'Review your partner's work sample.

. 'I . •
,- ,.
;.
+

2. What do you"think the sample shows your partner can do?


•• >-

3;' What do you think your partner did well?


.-,;.

z >

4'. What dO"you\\;OO'nk'-your


partner could make better?

Adapted kom Oemmons et al. (1993).

PORTFOUO ASSESSME~'T 41
Figure 3.3 setting ImprovementGoals

Your Name ~ Date -----

"
1.Look at your writ!!lg~_l._e __
: . _

b. Write al:xJutwhat did well. . --.------

..•_----------- .-----_ .... _---------------_._---

2. Think about rE6listic. . .


Write one thin

------------------------------_ .•._------
-------_ ..-------_ .•... _-------------

Adapted from Clemmons e1 at (1993). -

-- --~. -

make suggestions to each other in small groups. ,class or as a small group, you can plan mini.lessC!l1s '
Clemmons et aL (1993) suggest that after these aimed at those areas that need improvement. NbC'"
'group meetings'teachersask-studentuo,restate ,.,:,only doesthis,~ake ,your.classroom more learner-
-their goals and theif"plans for achieVing-'them. Still centered, it _also..gives_youfeedback on .the effec.
another way is to ask students to report.""their' I- .tiveness'ofyout-instiuction(Herman and Winters
progress to you in writing each week on 'a card or Jl'1 1994; NEA 1993; Tierney, Carter, and Desai 1991) .
sheet of paper. Have students aim for goals they can
work on each quarter or.grading period, and meet
with them to discuss these goals at least halfway Teacher~e~ent
through the'periodand then again at the end. . .

Using Goals to Improve Instruction In addi- . Given the student's role in assessment, what then is
tion to making time for students to set and discuss the teacher's role? The teacher's rok in authentic
goals, teachers also need to make time to allow.stu- assessment of students is multifaceted. The teacher
dents to work toward those goals in daily class models approaches tO,learning and assessment,
..
activities. This is an optimal'opportunity for link- facilitates student self-assessment, and manages, the
ing assessment with 'instruction. By identifYing evidence of learning. The teacher providesguid .
.. goals that students have in common, either as a ance and support to students as they generate and

AUTlfENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUS.H lA'iGUAGE Ii.ARNERs


-. ::.. ~-,
apply evaluation criteria, reflect on ,ilieir learning, in this ,val' that sUJd~!*and teachers engage in
. '. ,1$:-;':-'-:';';-'~"1,\1: .-{ ~< .
set goals, and organize 'samples of thei~ work in " collaborauve,assessment'as'panof the portfoho
their portfolios. The teacher plays a crucial[o,l"in proce,n,,~)~~~?f questions for teachers to use in
providing feedback to students, in setting realistic portfolio conferences on reading and writing
goals, and in evaluating student pro-gress. The assessment is presented in Figure 3.4.
teacher periodically evaluates samples of student Prepare for the portfolio conference by re,iew-
work after students have evaluated their own work ing each student's portfolio and planni~g to make
and set goals f6'I' th~mselves.By spot-checking stu- some positi,'e obsen-ations regarding its organiza-
.dents' self-assessments and repre'sentative samples tion and contents. Begin the conference by asking
of their work, teachers save time and avoid the students to reflect on their growth and the Status
redundancy of going bacl, over everything students of their goals in regard to learning objectives,
have already evaluated. Teachers can confirm that whether these are in reading and writing, oral Ian.
'students have made progress toward meeting their guage development, or content area achievement.
goals and suggest additional goals. The portfolio conference is not meant to put stu-
To help students focus on goals, teacher com- dents on the defensive (see sample questions
ments should be brief and address specific work below); rather, it is meant to get students actively
samples. Comments should include both strengths involved in reflection and self-assessment and to
, and weaknessesinstude;",t work. Some brief com- provide teacher feedback.
:ments on index card's or notes attached to the work ELL students can be prepared for the portfolio
samples can go a long way toward gi,.ing studen ts conference by prO\iding them with questions on a
.useful diagnostic information. Teacher assessments Portfolio Review Guide, as shown in Figure 3.5.
,can also take the form of anecdotal records, check. - Guiding questions can include the following:
lists of student performance, rating scales, and • What does your portfolio tell you about your (oral
conferences. We have supplied numerous exam. language, reading, \\TIting, math, science achieve-
pIes of these types of assessments throughout the ment, etc.)?
'c,hapters in this book (see the Index of Figures and
• What can you do well in (oral language, reading,
Reproducibles) .
writing, math, science achievement, etc.)?
• What goals do you need to continue working on '
Collaborative Assessment in (oral language, reading, writing, math, science
achievement, etc.)
" ELL students may initially need more probing
Once teacher.and student have each had the
questions to get them to reflect upon their work
opportunity. to,eva1uatecthe srudent's work, they
and to express their evaluation of it. Older ELL
are'ready to participate iil a Par/folio confertmee to di£-
students may have been schooled in a SYStemin
cuss student progress. It-is here that teacher and
their native country where teacher-eentered
student face the student's growth together. Port-
modes of instruction did not invite student partici-
folio conferences can be mutually informative for
pation in as~essment. These students may need,
students and teachers alike. That is, not only do stu-
more time to adjust to portfolios and portfolio.
dents learn more about their strengths and weak.
conferences.
nesses and the status of their personal goals, the
Many teachers we have spoken to re~o~end
teachers learn aMut hoW each student sees his or
, holding portfolio conferences at the end of the
lierown work'and'tlle effectiveness of classroom
grading period. However, we recommend wherev-
, activities. SttldeiitSget ~aiviaual feedback on how
er possible holding a portfolio conference in the
,to set aild achieve'goals, and teachers getsindivid- '
middle of th~ grading period, as well. Ill' this way,
uaI feedback on hoW tt. make instructional activi-
students begin to understand how their work will
ti~s more meaningful and useful to students. It is

PORTFOUO ASSESSMENT 43

I
~--' -~- -- ~.:
. ,
)-

Figur~;$.4 Portfolio Conference Questions


i:~.w;' ~~,
-" ".', >-

Date
Student

Reading .
.

) . Tell me about your favorite storieslbooks. '


.

2. What do good readers do to understand \vhat they read'

3. What doesyour.portfolio 5how.about.YP~lia5a reader'


. .; ..
I
,

.
4. Did you meet your reading goals from last quarter'
,

.""hal are your goals for becoming a better reader next quarter'
"
,
Writing
,
.
). Tell me what you like to write about.

- ..
2. How do you make your writing better'
--, i
-- , ," .-'"',, ,. ..

, "'.,." - " ..,. ',-"' .','-' . ~" ... -_ ..


.

• ! ••
, •
3:-Whal does your portfolio show about you as a writer' .
,

.'
. -
4. Did you. meet your writing goals
- -
from last~
quarter?

.

. . . .
. >-

5. What are your goals for becoming a better writer next quarter?

Adapledtrom Clemmons et at (1993); Glazer and Brown (1993), and Yancey (1992) .

. ~C ~W~. Authentic Assessment for English Language LeametS. ~'MaileyNaJdez


Pierce. This, page may be reproduced tor classroom use.

"44 AunIEl'.'11CASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH L,,"'lGUAGE LEAR<'lERS _ ,.f

\ .
Figure 3.5 Portfolio Review Guide ~..•• ~l
•.
.",-
.•

,
Name Grade _

Your teacher will soon have a conference with you about your portfolio.
Revi~w:yo~rportfolio and prepare for the conference by answering the following questions: .

1. How has your English improved since the iast report period? --------------

2. What can you do. now that you could not do before? ----------------

:; - "'"

..
- ....
3, How has your reading improved? _

4. What do you like to read? What makes it interesting? -~~-------------

5. What ore you doing to become a better reader? _

" .~.'~-, ..... "

6. How has your writing improved?

7. What are you doing to become a better writer?

.• ~'f"r-~ ,.~ •• ;:-.~

..

Adapted troma form developed by ESL teachers P.Conrad and K. Huston (1994) .

• 4> Addison-Wesley. Authentic ASsessment for English Limguage Learners. O'MalleyNaldez Pierce. This page may be reproduced for classroom use.
be evaluated at the end of the quarter. On the poses are sometimes combined. For example,
.
average po'rtfolio conferences take abo~ltfifteen:
. .•. , selected work from a collection portfolio. which
contains all sllldent products, can be entered into
minutes and can be conducted a feweach day as
other students are engaged in small group or inde- a showcase portfolio, which showsbest work in a
pendent work (Clemmons et a!. 1993). Youcan particular area. In turn, selected products from
obtain the help of colleagues, teacher aides, and showcase portfolios in language arts and mathe-
parents during the portfolio conference period .. matics can then be combined in an assessment
Helpers can work •.•ith the rest of the classwhile portfalia for district accounlabilirv.
you canfer with students. On the other hand, some Part of stating. the assessment purpose of a port-
teachers have told us that they show parellts how folio is ta decide in which curriculum areas the
to conduct portfolio conferences and that this .partfalia will be maintained. Far example, most
enables them to meet with more students in a partfalios are literacy or reading/writing portfo-
shorter period of time. lios. There are alsa math, science; and social stud- .
ies portfalias as well as integrated portfolios. If yau
would like ta focus an haw students use higher-
Getting Started with Port~olios...~".•..,..order thinking,skillsiyou might be interested in
'using'partfolios to give'you informatian on how
students apply thinking ..skillsacross the cmricu-
A number of steps will help to ensure that student 'lum (see Chapter 7). For ELL students, portfolios
portfalios provide you withthe,assessment infor- ' can.alsa be used to assess oral language deyelop-
mation needed ta make decisions regarding stu- 'I men!..These portfolios may include orallal1guage
dent progress. Steps include setting a purpose, ' tapes, rating scales and scoring rubrics. self-assess-
matching contents to purpose, setting criteria, set- ment forms, and so on (see Chapter 4).
ting standards of performance, and getting stu- Pull-out ESL teachers working with students
dents and parents involved (ValdezPierce and already using portfolios in grade-level classrooms
Gottlieb 1994). or in bilingual programs can collaborate with
grade-level colleagues to determine the assessment
SETTING THE PURPOSE purpose and help the student identify entries from
.This first step is the most important step, and yet ESL activitie's.Through this type of collaboratiqn
many teachers skip it altogether. Getting ready to everyone benefits: the grade-level teacher, the stu-
dent, and you. Ifyau are a navice portfolio user, .
use portfalios for assessment means specifying the
assessment purpose. The purpose may be oriented' ".start small and focus on only one class or area .of
toward classroom use or toward 'school'and district ' C'instr-uctionava',time.in order. to keep from being
use. Patential purposes in classrooms are to encour- 'overwhelmed. If you begin :withon~ .area and feel
age student self-evaluation, to monitor student , comfortable' with the process over a period of
progress, to assess student performance relative'~to' time, you may then want to incorporate another
curriculum objectives, to showcase student prod- instructional area addressed in your curriculum.
ucts, ta cammunicate student perfarmance ta par-
ents, to maintain a continuous record of student MATCHING CONTENTS TO PURPOSE
perfarmance fram one grade to the next, or all 0[, Once yo{ihave identified your assessment purpose'
these. you can begin' to think about the"kinds of portfolio
Uses .ofpartfalios at the school .or district level entries that will best match your instrUctional out-
.often concem accountability. The focus is on comes and reflect the type of work students are
detennining if the student meets expected 'stan-. domg in yofu dass.Begin'by taking stock of your
'. dards .ofperfarmance relative to the district's current assessment appraaches and deciding
.';:
.,benchmark .objectives (e.g., in language arts and which might provide the most useful kindof infor-
" .. "
. mathematics) _The clasSroom and schoal-level pur- mation in a stUdent portfolio. Now is also the .time
! ')

trv out new approaches to assessment if vou basis. Spaces are provided for vou to enter marks
'ould like to include something in'if;",' p'::'rtfolio,'.,; , for e~~J!';ientrx~1~i!ih~~p6!~tto!io.-.in
each quarter.
hich you are currently not doing in your class- \,\.l,at ';'';" eriter'in these spac~s may be a simple
oom. For example, you may have heard of teach- check mark to indicate that the entry is contained
rs doing reading/writing portfolios and using in the portfolio, a score on some kind of rating
reading logs, anecdotal records, and student self. scale reflecting performance relative to district
lSsessmentchecklists for.reading strategies applica- objecti\'es. or the date of the entry. Space is pro\id- .
tion. You may.be"using noi\e'ofthese approaches ed on the form to enter results from more formal
~t present. Select one o(t\vo approaches you end-of-year assessments conducted for reclassifica.
would like totrYc0uteach 'grading period and see tion. '''ben combined \vith the contents o[the
ow they worK. You may need to revise your portfolio, the Portfolio Summary Sheet contains
pproach many times before you are happy with information that will be useful for making reclassi-
e results, but this is a natural part of trying out fication decisions from multiple data sources. .
'nnovative assessment techniques. Space is al'ailable at the bottom of the sheet for
In the 'process of proposing entries to match placement recommendations and comments.
our instructional outcomes and assessment pur-
pose, considhHa\~rig ..tWo';l)pes of entries for all SETTING CRITERIA
students: reqliired and optional entries. Required or In portfolio assessment, you will need to develop
careentiies prO\~de the primary basls for assess. clear, objective criteria for judging student work.
mehrof student work. These should include stu- This is to let anyone reviewing the portfolio know
dent self-assessment, samples of student work, and exactly how the student is doing. You can do this
some type of teacher assessment. The number of by including evaluative criteria for each sample of
.required entries you include depends on your student work in the portfolio. For example, if a
Ie~perience and comfort le\'el in workillg with port. portfolio holds writing samples, it should also con-
.folios. Teachers have told us that they generally tain specific criteria for evaluation of writing. These
begin with tImor three entries each grading peri. may take the form of rating scales, rubrics. or check.
od 'ahd' build up to about fil'e required entries lists (see Chapter 6). Reading comprehension can
after several grading periods. optional or supporting be assessed by including teacher checklists, reading
entries provide additional information that com. texts with comprehension questions attached, cloze
, plements information contained in the required tests, etc. (see Chapter 5). The criteria for evalua-
entries. Have students gamer evidence of not only tion of student work must be in place and clearly
'what they have produced but also the processes' understood by students before their work is evaluat-
involved iIi theiproblem sok,ing, me story writing, ed and placed in their portfolios.
or me preparation Of the'research report. In most classrooms, teachers assign grades to stu-
I A sample' Portfolio Sum".""1' Sheet is illustrated dent work. Grades communicate rank order of
in Figure 3.6. This form \vasadapted
~' ..• ,
from one performance (A is better than B, etc.) and are use:
used in the secondary ESL program in Arlington ful in communicating with parents, who often
County Public Schools, Virginia. Note that the con. insist on knovving the grade their child received .
.tents have bom option'al and required components However, the criteria underlying grades are often
. .

,and foenson reading and ..mting. You could easily ambiguous. Students tend to be unclear on what
add an audW or VideotaPe to me portfolio to criteria were used for grading and therefore have
expand the"coIitentsto inclnde all language skills. difficulty in identifying areas of need. Scoring
The ~our columns for:t)ie;scnool quarters suggest rubrics are specifically designed to address this
that not all materialunighti>e collected in ~ach problem and .to clamy for both students and par'
. quarter ..This is an option yon have in determining ents the criteria for assigning scores. You can con.
"whether you need informaOOn only at the begin- vert ratings and checklists to grades at the.end of
nirtg and end of the year oron a more continuous the period by deciding what level of performance

PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT 47

_J
"',.
'~Igure3.6 Portfolio Summary Sheet .',
Grade
Student
School
Teacher
School Quaner
I 4111
1st 2nd 3rd
Required contents
, ., , .
1. Sample reading text with questions

2, Reading strategies checklist

3. ,Wiling sample ' , - -,1'1 '.


..
4, Studenl choice of writing
'.
5. Self-assessmenl .

optional Contents

1. List of books read .

,
2 Reading
.
interest inventOI\'-

3. Pre/posl reading scores . .

4. Literacy ci1eckiisl

5, Samples from content areas

Placement Test Scores


. Lislening
,Reading Grammar , -",' .~-.., ' ..
.
--- .,

Recommended Placement

lr
.

Comments

- . ..

,
"

'.
gt on Coun ty
Public SChoOls,Virginia.
Adapted from a form develo pedby seconda ry ESOL HILT teachers Arlin
• C Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners. O'MalleyNaldez Pierce. This page may be r~produced for dassroom use .

.48 AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT l'OR L-':GUSH L\8GUAGE LEARNERS


is associated with different grades ..as discussed in Three reasons wh" snfdents arc more likely to be-
" ~:{~:.T.J:",",J-.(-';'jl>'>:;}" -'
Chapter 2. When making this com:e;';:6n. you' <comeinmlved iil 'their a,iii learning when portfolios
should make the basis for your grading and it~. .• , are u~ed eflective!y are that portfolios (Sweet 1993):,'
1 <, . ..- f~', .d', , .~ .
relationship to the scoring rubrics explicit to bo'th';
L Com'ey to students the features or criteria of
students and parents.
quality performance so they can apply these cri-
teria to their own work and internalize'them.
SETTING STANDARDS OF PERFORMANCE 2. Engage students in meaningful activities 'that are
A.long with criteria for e\ialiIation, you wiII need to likely to result in products worth sharing with
assist students)n understanding
..,....,..•. ,,~.
. .. . ~.;'"
what assessment others and retaining for re\iew..
results mean,a\1d',how to iifterpret them. You can
3. Allow students to chronicle their 0\\11 work an'd
do thi.by explaining how criteria reflect stan-
open new channels for communication with
dards. Whether you are using a holistic or analytic
teachers that are focused on their own class-
rubric, a teacher checklist, or a percentage of cor-
room products.
rect responses. you will need to decide cut-off
points for at least three levels: exceeds the standard,
meets the standard, an!i aPProaches the standard. If GETTING PARENTS INVOLVED
using a holisti~'rubric, we;!~commend at least a Paren ts should also become partners in the portfo-
four-point ~ting scale in order to allow for more lio process. They should be informed at each step
differentiation in the middle range of perfor- of the way-from setting criteria to selecting port-
'nlance. As YOU.. '.
evaluate student work. vou can
revise these cut-offpoints as needed.
folio entries. Parents can be involved in at least
three ways: (1) as horne collaborators who prO\ide
Besides sharing with students clear standards of input on student progress, (2) as portfolio confer-
performance, you can also provide examples of ence participants who come in to listen to tl,eir
standards through samples of student work or child talk about their portfolio. and (3) as an audi-
benchmark'papers. You share these with students , ~;;~ f~r and contributors to both the sthdents'
currently in the class as well as with students in portfolios and methods for reporting student
future classes. By providing benchmarks, you are progress. Parents should be informed early and
helping students visualiz~ the standards of perfor- often about the purposes, procedures; and bene-
mance and how they can 'improve their own work fits of using portfolios. We encourage you to begin
to meet the standard. communication with parents about portfolios
through the school newsletter or "ith a more per-
. ',,"'" - "'~.
sonalletter. A sample letter to parents is contained
GEmNG STUDENTS INVOLVED
in Figure 3.7.
Once you have identified your assessment purpose,
You can invite parents to portfolio or parent
proposed portfolio contents, and thought about
nights or other meetings to inform them of how
setting criteria arld standards, you can begin to
portfolios work in your classroom. You can also use
plan how to get students involved "ith theirportfo-
this time to 'encourai~ students to showcase their
lias. Think about what role the students "ill play in
accomplishments. Tierney, Carter, and Desai
selecting portfolio entries, providing input for
(1991) suggest me following guidelines for getting
assessment criteria and standards for each entry,
parents involved:
and assessing ,their own work and the work of oth-
ers. As you plan, you will also need to consider how 1. Give parents advance notice about upcoming
you will make'all.of this part of yo~r instruction. conferences.
That is, you'will need to determine how and when 2. Invite parents by phone or in person or in con-
you will teach students to do each of the things junction with omer parental meetings.
that will get them involved in reflecting upon their 3. In the conference, provide each student's port-
own progress in your class. folio for parents and students.

PORTFOUO ,-\SSESSME:'>T 49
Figure3.7 Sample Parent Letter

(Date)

Dear Parents:

Yorr drl.ld,(
_______________ ) will re p.1ttin;r
(Student's Name)

together a portfolio this year. 'Ibis portfolio will contain sarrples of his

or her work that shaWwhat"hJ/shE('is learrun;( rwill use "the portfolio

to identify each student's strengths"and.\wealmesses and to plan

apprqJriate insLvuctirnal activities. '. >:-

At various times throughout the year, I ,vill l::easki.."1g


you to review

the portfolio and to cominenton your child's work. After you have

reviewed your child's portfolio, please rrake corrmentson the Portfolio

SurnmaIY
Sheet and initial it at the J::ottcrn.please call me if you have

any questions or wouldlike to cOlliein ror a parent-student portfolio

conference. r am looking forward to working closely with you.

. Sincer ely, ;:. . -~'," .

(Teacher's Name)

(Teachef's Telephone Number)

Adapted from De Rna (1992).

• C AddiSon-Wesle,. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners. O'MalleyNaldez Pierce. This page may be reproduced for dassroom use .
. ,.. c

.-;;
., 50 AUTIlENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

.-~.
~}~ •.•• "" .•. ,.~,~,
....•. ~ r;,~'.:;'<-.~.''~-'f;'-:
'; J:t •..•,. .'~_".j;. ~~','1:,
, '
'..••
J /."y-:

4. Use all interpreter for non-English-speaking par- cover of a portfolio folder. They han, the school
ents and meet in a comfortable setting. district plint shoppillil these contents on anum.
5. Focus conversation in the conference on e;l(;h ber offolders they anticipate using for the year.
student's progress (interests, strengths. needs). Thi;has ih7ad\aIltage of easing the burden on
individual teachers, but it assumes a considerable
6. Ask open-ended questions about the student.
amount of planning among teachers who are col-
7. 'Write a summary of the conference and give or laborating in portfolio use. In addition to ha\ing
send parents a copy. the contents of the portfolio listed on the left side,
When sending portfolios home with students. of the inside cover, these teachers use the right
send a note to parents in both English and the side of the inside cover to list the scoring rubrics.
native language regarding the importance of for the student work to be included in the portfo- '
returning the portfolios. Invite parent comments lio, In this way, both students and teachers are
on samples of the student's work. A number of' reminded of the criteria by which the products will
teachers have indicated to us that parental support be evaluated every time thev place an entry in or
for the portfolio is essential to maintaining student update the portfolio.
interest in the portfolio. Ariuninvolved parent
who express":t~oj.nterest inJooking at or who dis- MAKING TIME FOR ASSESSMENT
misses the student's carefully prepared portfolio
Portfolios become easier to use once they become
can seriously undermine student moti\'ation in the
part of a regular routine in your classroom. However,
classroom.
initial efforts at using portfolios will seem time-
consuming. Herman and Winters (1994) reported
that portfolios make substantial demands on
Managing Portfolios teacher time in tefnlS of learning new assessment
approaches, teaching students to compile portfo-
One of the major concerns we have heard teachers lios, developing portfolios, applying criteria to sm-
"express regarding portfolio assessment relates to dent work, and reflecting on and re\ising instruc-
the management of portfolios. In this section, we tional and assessment practices. We believe there
address this concern and indicate how teachers are a number of positive steps you can take to alle.,
can organize portfolio contents, make time for viate the time demands of using alternative assess-
assessment, and communicate portfolio results. ment and portfolios.
Instead of seeing portfolios and alternative
assessment approaches as things that take time
ORGANIZING CONTENTS
away from instruction, these approaches should be
The portfolio contents need 'to be organized effec- seen as part of instruction and as bringing much.
tively in order to communicate student progress to needed information to it. Rather than looking at
students, parents, and teachers. First, every entry portfolios as something extra and beyond the
must be dated so that you and your students can number of tasks allowed bYyour daily schedule,
identifY clear signs of groWth. Second, a cover you can plan creatively by examining yoUr current
sheet should be used as a table of contents for the instructional approaches and activities and identi-
portfolio. A sample cover sheet was provided in fying those you can use to provide authentic assess-
Figure 3.6. Third, you can o~ize contents by in- ment for student portfolios. Youneed tO'make time
dicating whether the entries are required oroption- for assessment ,J' ust as vou
, make time for instruc-
aI. The sample 'cover sheet in Figure 3.6 allows for tional activities. Some ways to make time'for assess-
this distinction. ment are:
One way that some teachers identifY the contents
1. Learning centers. A learning center is a niche in
is by listing them on the left side of the inside
the classroom where hands-on InateriaIs and'

PORTFOUO ASSESS\lEl'<. 51
objects are available for a specific instructional Lents that describes portfolio entries and the date
purpose. An example is a science lear-,ning ceni they were entered (see Figure 3.6). A lIarmtiv!' Sltl
ter or a reading center. Acti,'ities at the center' mar)' consists of a one-paragraph description of st
can be teacher or student-directed. Students can dent progress as illustrated by the portfolio and
spend a specific amount of time at each learning. written by the teacher: the narrative sUnllnarj' rna
center and have choices of centers to use. One appear on the co,'er sheet. A portfolio ermlltation
orthe centers can be a portfolio center, where slUmMI")" indicates whether or not a student has

students can work independently, in pairs. or :. mel perfo~rna~cestandards in various areas.


w;ththe teacher in re\;ew;ng their portfolio. For assessing a bilingual student. the portfolio
evaluation summary can document student perfo
\2. SmallgrVups. Assessment can also be conducted
mance in both first and second lallguages. The
while students work in groups to complete' team
sample Po~tfolio Eyaluation Summary shown in
projects, engage in peer conferencing, do lab
work, or engage in other learning activities. Figure 3.8 allows for indicating the performance
Groups can be assessed for how well they work of the student in each language (natiye language
'and English) for oral language, written language,
together as well as for the qualitv of their;work.
. i . ,.-:.{I;,
., ;:.,

': 'reading, and'an m'erall.summary. of pefformance.


3. Staggered cycles. Indi\;dual students can be
" Student performance on this form is rated in
aSsessed in staggered cycles where .only ,two to ,
. '.ter';15 afpee-set standards of performance you rna
three students are assessed per class 'period o~ "
.ha,'eset for y.our classroom or that haye been esta
day until all students have been assessed. This'
lished by your school"district.
would work best for oral language interviews.
, A parent letter is essential to inform parents of th
reading strategies, and portfolio conferences.
ptirpose and results of the portfolio. Parenls should
4. Self-assessment. 'Nnen students are taught to be asked to re,;ew the portfolio and respond to it. .
reflect on their learning and apply criteria in sample parent letter was prmlded in Figure 3.7.
self-assessment. the teacher can ask them to do Students sometimes use the portfolio to commu
this ";th little guidance. Teachers can spot-check nicate with the next year's teacher, We haye seen
student self-assessments periodically and assess students write to their next year's teacher to iden .
major student products as needed for grading. ty important things they want the teacher to know
-5. Daily classroom activities. Use teacher observatio" .
about them, what thev have learned, what they.
.

checklists or rating scales to evaluate student want to work on next year. and what their learnin
performance while students are actually engaged needs are. This type of letter encourages the kind
in the learning acti\;ties, such as 'taking part in a: " of reflection students benefit.from and is an impor
.role-play, doing a science experiment; or work- . tan"tentry for ensuring that the can'ful "ork you
ing in groups. We provide a number of ex~ and the student haye put into the portfolio will be
pies of these checklists and rating scales in other "used in the future.
f Ii ~

chapters of this book (see the Index of Figures


and Reproducibles).
Using Portfolio Assessment in
COMMUNICATING PORTFOLIO RESULTS Instruction
Once portfolios become part of your routine, you,
will need to plan how you will best capture and '. Eyaluating portfolio contents means planning ho
communicate portfolio contents to students, par- ,,_.. .-'you ",;II use portfolio entries for decision maklng.
ems, and other teachers. Amongyotir options are':\Vh~tdoes thi-portfolio reveal about the student's
a cover sheet, a narrative summarY; a p.ortfolio '. strengths and educational needs? Does the studen
evaluation summary, a parent letter, arid a letter to . 'perform assignments in d ependently or does the r
the follow-on teacher. A cover shMt is a table of con" . student need guided support from you or from '"'

, ,
52 AUTHENTIC ASSESSME"T FOR ENGliSH LANGUAGELEAR.f\TERS
~}. .~

~~;.~:,~~:.~ ~;. c~ ,::~;~.~~~~)\~.:s"l


~t~

Figure 3.8 PortfoliCfEvaluation Summary


.. ,

Student .
.~ Grade Date
.,
Teacher , School
.. ,.;;..
First Language'(L1) Second Language (L2)
,

Directions: Circle L I or L2 to indicate if student meets the standard.


Curriculum! Does Not Meet Meets Exceeds
.'\Ssessmenr Area Standards Standards Siandards
<

Oral Language L1 L2 L1 L2 L\ L2
'_l.,.~

Writ1en Language LI L2 Ll L2 LI L2

Reading Ll L2 L1 L2 LI L2
I
Overall Summary Lt L2 Ll L2 'L\ L2
I

Comments

-

"

'-';L~"
,"

-
Adapted from M. Gottlieb in Valdez Pierce and Gottlieb (1994) .

• C Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment for Engfish Language Learners. O'MalleyNaldez Pierce.


This page may be rep~ for classroom use.

PORITOUO ASSESSME:\T 53
Portfolios can be particularly useful for students
, peers? On whiCh wpies or assignments has the stu-,
• who are not making progress in either language-
dent done well? Not done well' Does the stude,u' "
based or grade-lew I classrooms.B,' focusing on
respond favorably to both individual and small
actual student work. teachers can share informa-
group work? Are there special instructional
approaches w ..-hich the student responds well tion with child stud\' teams. assessment teams. and
(e.g;, hands-on experiences, visuals.demonstra- paren is as part of the decision-making process.
tions, or other scaffolded supports)? Are there par- Because assessment portfolios are focused. they
ticular content areas the student prefers,'such 'as can serve asvehicles for obsen;ng gradual change
language arts or mathematics? Do the student's and for helping teachers make professional judg-
self-assessments provide clues to these questions? ments about indi\;dual students.
Answers to all of these questions can be obtained
by reviewing the contents of the portfolio and
relating them to the type of instructional activities Conclusion
pro,;ded. A framework for noting obsen'ed
strengths and n~ds is provided in thePortfolioq, . This'chapter described theinstructi'oilal context
ReviewNotes in Figure 3.9. ,', 1
for portfolios, including the changirig roles of stu-
In making decisions about student performance;
dents.and teachers in assessment. In particular,
you will be thinking about waysto combine the '-af~
w;th portfolio assessment studenis become self-
ious pieces of information and student work in the directed learners who monitor their own progress..
portfolio. Will you assign weights to each of the The teacher takes part in a collaboratiye assess-
entries to calculate a rating or grade' Howwillyou ment process where students recei,'e individual
weight the entries with regard to instructional feedback while the teacher uses assessment results
goals and students' strengths and needs' Youw;ll !
to plan instruction. The greatest ad\'antage of
also be thinking about the kinds of decisions YOIl using portfolios comes from the information they
will make based on evidence in the portfolio. Will can provide on how ELL students are benefiting
you modify instruction for this student' Provide
from instructional activities.
more hands-on experiences, small group work. or We described different types of portfolios and
try different materials? Will you use portfolios to •
the key elements thev have in common. We also
determine if ElL students are readv to leave the '
discussed how portfolios are being used in settings
ESL program and enter grade-level'classrooms?lf
beyond the classroom. The key element in portfo-
so, what will be the minimum criteria required for lioassessment is'stl,dent reflection through self-
, leaving the program? assessmeni.Teachers need to guide students to
The most important information a portfolio can
engage.in self-assessmentin meaningful waysthat
provide for decision making is to indicate to what' will help them set learning goals for themselves.
extent students are benefiting from instruction. By, ihis means that students need to know the criteria
conducting portfolio conferences with students at and standards by..-hich their work,,;n be judged,
least twice during each quarter, you can discuss and even take pan in shaping them. . .
student progress and plan ftiture learning goals. At We pr()vided guidelines for getting started with
the end of the year, you and the students can portfolios, including setting a purpose, matching
. decide which entries will remain in the portfolio if portfolio entries to that purpose, setting criteria
it is to be a permanent folder used the next year. and standards, and getting students and their par-
Portfolios can also be used to show parents and ents involved. We also addressed managing portfo-
administrators evide;:'ce of growth. While parents lios and making time for assessment..Finally,we.
may be interested in reviewing actual work sam- made suggestions for communicating portfolio
ples, principals may be more interested in looking results With students, parents, and 'other .teach- .
at a list of portfolio entries and seeing ,howthese
ers.
relate to instruc- tional goals (Valencia 1990).

AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR E>'iGUSH L.\SGUAGE LEARNERS


IIL
ure 3.9 Portfolio Review Notes
,
~ :";.';~,_wt~1;1;~Y.,.~..f Ii
Teacher L. D. -
Student

2 Date 10/11.
Quarter ESL Level

Instructional Options
Observed Strengths Needs

Doogn't geem able to write a coher. ~eed to link reading interegtg with
IA. hag good tending cOmpteh'en-
writing activitieg; gchedule mini •.
gion and jjlceg to tead a variety of ent paragraph.
leggong for writ~rg' work!:hop•.
book!:.

II
; I

II

- ..

....-~'<.•

"'-. .-.

Adaptedfrom Glazer andB~ (1993).

• «> AdDISOn-Wesley.
AutJientic Assessment for English Language Learners. O'MalleyNak:lez Pierce.
- This page may be reproduced for classroom use.

PORTFOUOASSESSME:\i 55
In using portfolios ",ith English language le'1fI1erS, APPliCATION ACTMTIES
the follO"-ingkey points should be kept in mind:,,! ,
I. Portfolios are studenH:entered and used to help
. L Csing the scale below. indicate where you thin
increase learni'ig rather than to rank o,rpllnish
you are \\ith regard to hadng a teacher- or stu-
students.
dent-centered dassroom.
2. Portfolios can be uSed to guide students in tak- Teacher- Student
ina a more active role in monitoring their own
" . Centered !-I-I-I-I
I ; , I ' Centere
progress, I 2 3 4 ~
3. Portfolios mustbe selective in order to be useful Jot down three things vau (an do to make your
for assessment purposes. '. ,',' 1'class"i-o'ommorestude~t-centered, Get feedbac
c,', 'fr'o~ ••.parmer.
4. Portfolio assessment is collaborative: teachers
and students confer on the meaning of student 2. Take a few minutes to share vour experience in
work. , using portfolios with a partner. Have you been
5: Portfolio entries should come from, actual class' . -:usi.rig,_showcase~ -collections, or <l:ssesSlnent port
room acti"ities. 'folicis?Expliin your ~h~ice. '

6. Assessment portfolios mustinciud~'thiee'key:: 3.:Work 'yitha groupw develop a criteria chart {;


elements: samples of student work; student self, " students. If one of the membersofvour group
assessment, and clearly stated criteria. ' :: cu~'~enJlytea~hing. that member can ask his or
her students to .identify characteristics of exem
7. Portfolio entries must be clearly organized in"
plary"'ork which they think make it good or
order to communicate student progress to par-
outstanding. lOll can use any task in this acthi-
ents and other teachers,
ty-a writing ~anlple or a rapt' of an ?ral pres.~n
8. pbrtfolios allow for a number of ways to involve rarion. for example.
parents in monitoring the academic progress of
4. Talk \\ith a partner about the value of student
their children.
self-assessment. Explain why \OU think self-
9. Portfolio assessment requires making time for assessment is important. Then make a plan for
planning and managing assessment activities. ,engaging'students'in the self-assessment proces
,5. With a parmer, decide how you will involve stu-
dents in the development of a portfolio. Wbich
entiies\,iIl students' be able to select' On whic
criteria will students provide input?
, 6. Form a group \lith other teachers who teach at
approximately the same grade level. Decide on
purpose for student portfolios and decide whethE
you want required or core entries. "'bat option
a1or supporting entries are important for Your
purpose? De,'elop a Portfolio SummarySheet
like the one in Figure 3.6.
7. Discuss with a parmer how to involve parents
ear\yas possible'in the development of the por
folio. Write a letter to parents. like the one in
Figure 3.7, describing the purposes of portfoli
and how they \\~11be used. Role-play discussion!
'-,~'~;',:: 7

"'/:-;,,:; '-
of the portfolios in parent conferences. Explai '
-'~.~L~- scoring rubrics used in rating student papers .
. -,,:;-~.;;.;.~-

_"'t1~~~#,:'56
, AUIllENTIC ASSESSME!'oIT FOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LfARI"ERS
i"" -. ' ,',
•••
""~~l'
I ,
! I 'j
,i

ORAL LANGUAGE
ASSESSMENT
• • • • •• • •• • ••• ••• • • • • ••• • •• ••••

In this chapter we examine the. nature of oral lan- the information together, we recommend develop-
guage, with a focus on oral language in school, ing an oral language portfolio. We conclude with
and discuss implications for assessmenL We pro- ideas for using.orallanguage assessment in instruc.
pose steps for assessing oral language, including tion.
identifYing purpose, planning for assessment, One of the major responsibilities of any teacher
developing rubrics and scoring procedures; and working with English language learners (Ells) is
setting standards. We also make suggestions for to enable students to communicate effectively
involving students in self-"andfj-'eerassessment. In through oral language. With an increasing focus
a key part of the chapter, we describe in detail spe- on collaborative classrooms, teachers are more
cific classroom activities and approaches for often incorporating pair and group activities into
their daily lesson plans. Many of these classroom
,recording teacher observations that can be used
]for assessment of oral language. For bringing all of activities have the potential for being used in
;i

OR-\L t.ANGUAGE.-\SSESSML'H 57
".t,.
asse1Snient.However, there are at least three chal- does the same listener put together a messagein
.-.. l'. ' .J •. ~

Ii~n'gesfacing teachers who assessoral language in order to communicate his or her intended mean.
the 'classroom: making time, selecting assessment ing?What do listeners have to work with in order
a~tivities,and determining evaluation criteria.' to make meaning out of what they hear' What
Perh_apswith the exception of those in K-3class- roles do the nati,'e language and prior experience
rooms, most teachers do not assessoral language playin oral language development of a second Ian
on a systematic, on-going basisover t1iecourse of a guage?Howis oral language used in school? For
school year or marking period. Either they cannot whatpurposes do students listen and speak?
find the time or they do not have procedures or. Westart by considering the nature of oral lan-
assessment activities that can readily be incorporat- guage, the differences between oral and written
ed into their lesson plans. If you find yourself in language,and implications for assessment:
this situation. we suggest that you look at your Characteristicsof spoken language are quite differ
instructional activities and begin to identify those ent from those of written language. For example.
you are using now that could be used for the pur- nativespeakers do not typicallyuse complete sen-
pose of assessing oral.language:'" ". ,;. -HJ . •tenceswhen.speaking,:and.they use less specific
By making assessmentreflect instruction, you are ;' ';.vocabulary("ithmany pronouns).than in written
increasing the validityand reliability of your assess- language.They also use syntax in a looselyorga-
ment approach (see Chapter 2). Youcan begin by ~izedmanner and make frequent use of discourse
identifYinglearning goals and acti,ities that pr~ markers (e.g., well. uh-huh, etc.) (Bro,," and Yule
vide a representative sample of all oral language 1983). Information is packed less densely in oral
tasks you expect students to be able to accomplish language than in written language, with much
in your classroom, The activitiesor tasks should more use of phrases and simple sentences. In add!
elicit performance that provides a ,.aridpicture of tion, oral language varies depending on the age,
your students' abilities and can be scored reliably gender, and dialect of the speaker. An implication
(Hughes 1989). This means that you have provid- for teaching and assessment includes the need to
ed students "ith opportunities to develop the lan- assesslanguage as it is typicallyused' in speaking
.. guage and skills needed to perform well on the rather than demand an oral representation that
assessment tasks. Youalso need to plan for assess-. ,resembles formal. "Titten language.
me~t, and this means making time to observe stu- Part of being a proficient speaker is listening to
dents and document their performance. Finally. oral language and understanding what is said.
you need to determine, with student, input, how Listeningis no.t,apassiveor receptive skill,as is
their performam,ewill be.evaluated!.ln"thischap- ." commonly,assumed.Research suggests listening is
ter, we provide examples of how classroom-based an'interactive,dy"amic,'interpretive 'process in
oral language activitiescan serve as opportunities whii:hthe'Iisie-ner~ngagesin the active construc-
for assessment, how to make time for assessment, tion of meaning (Bachman 1990; Littlewood 1981;
and how to develop criteria for evaluation. Murphy 1991; O'Malley,Chamot, and Kupper
1989): Anyo~ewho has attempted to communicat
in a foreign language knowshow fatiguing it can
Nature of Oral Language be to listen forlong stretches at a time because of
the effort involvedin trying to comprehend the
incoming messages.
To begin our discussion of assessmentapproaches What do listeners attend to, what do they com-
for oral language. wefirst need to have a clear prehend, and what do they retain? Richards
understanding what weare assessing:What are the (19'83) used research on native ianguage listening
differences between spoken and written language? processesto suggest that the basic unit of meanin
How dpes a listener .cometo.undersiand what is in oral communicationls the proposition or idea.'
1': ..
.. said in a second or foreign language?And how The listener's task is to determine the proposition

.;il:_~..,t'(.: ,::..~ -.=


~'.~,
:..•.•. ~
. 58 . AUTHENnC ASSESSMENTFOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
in an utterance or speech event. The listener does interaction activities in the classroom "ill have •
this by using knowledge of syntax arid of the-real ' ' more ,opportunities to assess oral languag) •.'.• ~~":
world. Svritactieknowledge allows the listener to Listening and speaking are interdependepI,<>ra1,
"chunk"' incoming discourse into segments, and language processes.~and~n~ed~obe tal~ght'and
knowledge of the world helps listeners determine assessed in an',irltegrated npnner (1vlurphy 1991).
the most plausible'meaning of spoken language. For ~i<ample,pronunciation and granunar should
Most importantly, it is the meaning of propositions be taught and assessed in context. Ideally, the,
that is retained. not the actual words or grammati- teaching of oral language skills should be basedon
cal structures uttered. The example that Richards priority learning needs evident in hm,'_students
provides is: actuallvuse language (Carruthers 19Si). '
The American Council of Teachers of Foreign
Tom said that the car had beenjfr'ed and could be col. '
Languages (ACTFL) suggests that different kinds
lected at jive.
of speaking activities (and consequently assess-
Richards suggests that the listeller "ill recall that ment tasks) are appropriate at different levels of
the car is ready to be picked up', but not whether it proficiency. This principle applies to ESL and
"is fixed" versus "had been f1xe~~or "could be col. bilingual classrooms, as well. For example, for
lected" versus "will be ready tO~,~,e,collected."This beginning and intermediate language learners"
poi~ts to the importance ofh<l~~g students sum- oral language assessment "ill include tasks using
marize the main points or gist 9foral communica- predictable, familiar language and visual cues;
tion'rather than relate the exac't words. such as listening for the gist, -matching descrip-
> O'Malley,' Chamot, and Kiipper (1989), in their tions to pictures, making a physical response. and
examination oflistening strategies in second Ian. inferring the meaning or implications of an oral
guage acquisition, found processes similar to those text. Also. while formal oral reports and public
used in a first language. Speciflcallv, effective lis- speaking performances may be appropriate for
teners used prior knowledge or elaboration, infer- intermediate or advanced students, they vvillprob-
"encing, and self-monitoring, while ineffective lis- ably not be suitable for beginners. On the other
"teners focused on the meanings of individual hand. advanced beginners can make oral presenta-
words. Instead of being an all"0r-nothing notion, tions with plenty of support or scaffolding (e.g., if
listening comprehension is actually the "process of they read what they themselves have,"Duen, ,
arriving at a reasonable interpretation" (Brown describe a chart they have prepared, describe steps
and Yule 1983, p. 57) of the speaker's intended in conducting a science experiment, or tell how to
: ,meaning; this is how native speakers of the lan- solve a problem). For more advanced learners,
"~e process spoken language"input. ' tasks might include summarizing, note-taking, and
,Because oral communicatio~~wvolves the negoti- use of fewer visual cues. High intermediate and
ation of meaning .between two Or more persons, it advanced students who are in grade-level, content
, is always related to the contex~ ill which itoccurs. area classrooms should be engaged in listening
,Speaking means negotiating intended meanings and speaking activities which prepare them to par-
and adjusting one's speech to produce the desired ticipate in listening for the same purposes as native
effect on the listener. It means "anticipating the lis-- speakers, such as listening for the gist of the mes-
tener's response and possible misunderstandings, sage, taking notes, analyzing, and evalUating
clarifying one's own and the other's intentions, (Murphy 1991; Omaggio Hadley 1993).
and arriving at the closest pos,s\ble match between One problem in assessing oral language in the
intended, perceived, and anq\=ipated meanings" classroom has been a lack of authenticity.
'(Kramsch 1986, p: 367).Speilirtg ina classroom Authenticity in oral language assessment relates to
entails interacting with the teacher and peers, both the type of language used and the task to
depending ~n how classroom activities are orga- which thatIanguage is applied. In an analysis of
nized. It follows that teachers who use more oral authentic listening activities, Porter an,d Roberts

OR'U. LANGUAGE ASSESSME'<'T 59


,,
(1987) identified at least thirteen differences .•'~". ized settings in order to learn and on standardized
between authentic spoken language and listening achie\'ement tests ttl show what thn have learned.
texts prepared especiaily for second language , The communicati\'e/academic language distinc~
learners. The prepared texts included inaUlhentit tion was first made bv Cummins when he reported
use of complete sentences, intonation, enuncia- on studies indicating that second language leafn-
tion, and formality, as well as distinct turn-taking ers take less time to acquire a language for basic
and limited mcabulary. Listening activities should communicative purposes than for academic pur-
provide students with opportunities to hear and ' poses (Cummins 1980). Since then, Cummins has
attempt to decipher language representing, as made clear that this'distinction isnot a dichotomy
much as possible, that which occurs in the real but a continuum of language proficiency
world. Similarly, speaking activities should prmide (Cummins 1989). Oyer the past decade, research
occasions for students to use language for authen" has confirmed that students may be able to use
tic purposes. Authenticadivitiesrefer to those which. oral language to communicate fluently in English
call for purposeful exchanges of information. noi '. after only two to three years of all-English school-
those that provide information already kn'6,,;n t6'1"'1' ing but may take 'lodger, between five and ten
,
the listener or speaker (Brown and Yule 1983). ' years, to reach grade-level norms on standardized
"t.
I achievementtests'in English.
The time required to reach grade-Ieyel norms
ORAL LANGUAGE IN SCHOOL
l' depends on a number oHactors. includingyears a
Oral language assessment of English language schooling in the natiye language and age upon
learners in school aims to capture a student's abili.
• C b' h b . ,entn,' to an all-English system (Collier 1987: Collier
ty to commumcate ,or ot asK communicatiye,' 1989: Collier and Thomas 1988: Cummins 1981.
and academic purposes. Communicative or con-
. I k'II' Iff' . 1984). Collier (19S9) found that eyen for middle
versauona S'1 S 1l1\"Ove ace-to- ace Interaction or upper-middle class'English language learners
where meaning can be negotiated and is support" with a strong educational background in the native
ed by contexUIal cues, such as the situation itself, , I
language, it took a minimum of four to nineyears
. gesUIres, facial expressions, and intonation to achieve grade.leveLnorms.' on stan'dardized tests
(Cummins 1989). Daily conversationahnteractions
in English. Cummins (1989) suggests that less.
are typically context-mzbedded (occur in a meaning- advantaged sUId~nts can be expected to take ever;
ful social context with many paralinguistic cues) longer. This research should not be interpreted to
and cognitively-undemanding (call for relatively. . " mean that instruction in the content areas for
. familiar. language and.tasks) ..:r:his,is,seldom.the ': '. Ei.Lsshoiild'be'oelayediJl1til stlJdentsare profi-
case fof academic language, which tends to ' .
, ..•..c.ien.
t. e!loughin En.glish .to benefiifrom all-English
become increasingly contexHeduced'(liitle informa~" ,d~r~~:n;s.N~r' should these findings be used to
tion is provided besides that obtained from ;.. ,' lower expectations for Ells. On the other hand,
teacher lectures or from the textbook itself) and ', the research does support the movement toward
cognitively-demanding (new information and new content-based ESL and bilingual classrooms that
.language items are presented) as sUIdents advance provide students access to math, science, social' '
. through the grades. Ells need to acquire profi- studies and other content areas either with native
ciency in academic language in order to succeed, or English language support. Through these types
in school. Academic language proficiency, then, i~ . ofinstructionalsettings, Ells have a much better
the ability to make complex meanings explicit in : chance of obtaining the academic languag~ profi-
either oral or written modes by means 'of langu'ag'e ciencr . ne';d';d for
• succeeding ill school. (see'
itself rather than 'by means of paralinguistic cues' Chapter 7 for ideas on .assessment . in the content
such as gestures or intonation. Academic language areas.) -'
:is typically found in the content areas, where SUI-:
dents are asked to use language in decontextual.

60 AtJTHEl'<'TIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH lANGUAGE LtARNERS


. ,'"

.',
,', /;"':"', ;'.": :, ,
,-
, ,!t'f~yi~~ ,!~f()rmation or assistance '; ~-;CJ t (~::i~lc-l
't":;f::~'_c<,-" ;<"" .
in response to a request ., if:-s d')I!'~nf/Jis.;'1aii,'~

l:-
n
TeliabClu,t a place, thing, or idea U~: .•.
::..;.).J;>1'v .•.. to convoy, a.') .
•••• "J

.'. "" ','"

'.. '
jrn:"0'i~.• :,S j';;. Y'/:.).~' [~ .. J}cut12 feet by:.c15-. ,:',"

.', :1, y-- .•.•..•,f~ ('¥ Ii~';"!f ,",.,-ri'~.: otJi~] P.'l"'U[!}~~\


):" "~::~.' ?';':;",
'. '5,,,-~::.r ,'"
,i. Expressing Relate what he/she feels Y8'S, i fee! a IittiE
Feelings or.ttiinks

LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS , and O°:.-1.aliev'199-fa; H~1l,3<iP


,', ,"-,,11 Fer~.i~~ Ul J~;":.i;;
'

I ":\11c:ther in or out of classroom settings, English O'l\ifaH~y 199~(1._-'~~: d.ui11'.~ L:nl~{u:~E~ .tUiCt.~)J~~; Ji1:1'.
iinclu((: r::;."'-.. ;'_ ";'-'1 ~"-;~r r ""(l:~'(;
I,." uage learners uselanguage functipns to
.F],' ess meani';g. w~guage
junctionsrefer to how panng, f~L •••• ,~,-,.~, ',.:., .;',~J-'!':CL

I';ridivid,:,~ls usel<Ul~~e~f!) <l~comp'lish specific


«rs lis:te:~ 1.1.. ;:lgUft. ~~.~£i/L1
grade-lo~'lel c!.:=-l';":;':-: ';-:'.;.
L_;;J,:..,q,~.hc',:.~.-tl',k"
~,'i.'~

tasks (Halliday 197,,;WIlkins 1976), T,h~most com-


'" •. '" t. .
rnoi'llyuSed lan'guage fu;'cti()ns ,are ihose used to _.acadenuc l-;;tngu.~'rc.•.G.•. 1C' "1-"':,,

relianct:: C.;li: f}::';.~;'i~.:'~


de",::ribe or give; information or to expl'ess feelings
iincrea~,e'-;-<s,£.!. {,i;,n.:::tln~1
~-).C\-;),G.'~.
~ev~r
,(Bachman 1990)."Language functions have been
"rdep.tm~dfor bOth social! corrimunicativeand aca- () 'Ma1!ey 19943)"
;de..'.;i'cp\i';&s~~byCilknb'r;md"0\Mill~f'd994i" , ,." ,,'
i.~n':'.wilk~~f,.Commitfiicative:lliniuagi?julIctioits.aie'IMPl.K"":~'"""'-':" q,;,.' _I:: • <idT
.. 'V',
.tflo~.~used"~ expresS':meaning;i'ua.'routine'~sbt-tal':,
~"";:;;:~lven'th(~
,}!..:~::',;~;'L.I~~'.";\~.r:"'.~~d.'C~,::;.
-;:;'. pa~,l.r~<'-f:.'!L'.'::' l'~,- "~i
.,context thafis:notcognitiVely.deman'dIDg':':' .';.... 11 ' - .. , Q',,",.-,
'"~C~;l1tnins 1984). Communica6veIariguage
~tW:~.
iriclud~,'~etin~)and,leav~~~gs}r~~qiJest~~'
funcc' :~{:e:r~r;,,;~~j~~:~~;~I~.~;/~'''1
!Jfdcus e..~aisvr.uen[::4.!~hilii:' -;-i:~;£~~(~t~nd,convcv>'<
~~;;~:~~5
'-';"';"-";'~'l' F~~
~~~'~;~";.
'.'
"-'"1 ~ht l-'< ••

. ;'.

:, 'f:.:,j-~:";,t\,;;f, 't~::-.:::!,-:'~:~'r,,:s~:nt;s~~l';;t
, __
'~-...~,l:
.;.~~';.'~, _ j

; ~:, ,,,", ",~?' ~':~. ,-

(C~s'I 98~; .1984). Academic language func-. . .mic pErposes- ..-arepp.Hm~l f01~.assessing ,orallai'<i"C
'liens 'm,ay be global" in ,tharthey'.can'
" .': . .i><!::used.'a:tl'os!v',. -gu,~g~,
'" .-." .' . dQ{\'. ~ ....
'.".
-
'JIarioliscontent '<il'eas/oI>they'may be coiIrellt'spe.5,_";"." 'teai~hersneeri to'~~\i'!Ssessmel;lt tasks l~"are!as-",!
,cifie;,particu1ar to a single content area (Charnot 3illtJiwticas possibleA11. a c!assrOOffi,setting.';:I:his>
.Figure 4.2 Academic Language Funclio.n~ '.
,
.. - ".S>. ~
. • ' .••"....- _.0,.; "_": ,"," ~ __.:.c~."

Academic Language
Student uses language to: Examples
Function ",.. .•' ~~"'-'-." ,--,."""". -'!'

C".. ,,1. Seeking'" 'Obs~rVe am:l~XPlore the Use who, what, when, where, and howto
Information! envii9nme.nt, acquire infonnation, gather information; recount information
Infonning .' , if1quir identify, report,or e; presented by teacher or text; retell a story l
• C 'desbibe tnformation " personal experience
". ~v •..... , ... '.

.,,... ~;;j~ 1 7 • ~-.

2. Comparing ~, 6 Describe similarities and Make/explain a graphic organizer to show


differences in objects or ideas similarities and contrasts
"I " < •

~- jJ:.6:zU:.g~r.
. .. -. . :,i. ,",::;1. ,,~L':~.;,:~:-.-
,"' .<imOrded~;e~\J~':m' Sequence obj~cts,)dea~, Describe/make a timeline, continuum, CYClE
j~~. or events '., .. or narrative sequence
-,.,.. -.-'

",4.,GlassjyiflggElJgnsl 8'.,(3J9uP objects ~ride~~ acCording Describe organizing principle(s), explain wh


: '0 :i':='';:' • _',:l",z'1i :,,", .to !heir characteristics" '. " A is an example and B is not
r.~l";~''';S~nu,o1.i.)f1:-::,z,.ln'Q.\\ :} .(;},~\ ~':'E.~~' ''', '''-'~-;';:~~_'_,._
5. Analyzing , , ':\':\SSlparate whole into parts; Describe parts, features. or main idea of
identify relatjonships and. information
'_-, .. , ~.:.> ,c,. .....,.. '~". " .."
. 9\ \\ f~, t -~'.-'l-:f'
\~i;~ ':'1(Y ~ ~'p~tt~~~",on~::-">"~- \
;.':-\~iW._-i: ~"',1S'. ods ?uQ'Jlir\'" ~ "._".
6. Inferring Make inferences; predict Describe reasoning process (inductive or
implications, hypothesize deductive) or generate hypotheses to
" ,:c.~'h.j.,,"':;, lOr:, , :,~e,r....
,Eei suggest causes or outcomes

Tell why A is important and give evidence in


support of a position

Summarize infonnation; incorporate new


, information

10. Evaluating. ".


,Asse~sa,nd,~~Ji!pipr;tJpfan;,:,~! ,-,'\derltifycriteria, explain priorities, indicate
TltE1''''~&~~Z2,..
Fobj~~:;jl!~a;'Qr'aecisibri" " " ..h..,', reasOns for judgment, confirm truth
A~J~~~Charro,J.~re d'~~iIleY{1994):':.;~~:'-'1 '~i-')tr~""tL::li::):t, -. .'~ r.' -u (,~.<';-_.
....
!~~,-- " <,', o:.~J:,:'r\;,,~ff"~L;~'~
~~:T1{}E"'f'fil 'h:;- .. ,. -", '., .:.::!; ..; ,.s"':

:1rt;F ..' ,.,[: ~;: ,:;,;;r.:::;~~:,:;,;~~;:)~:~;;'


;~~;:.:.:::: ,',::) .
'IBJlallS: (1) using autheritic"I.?'}@ilg'e ".:I'.',~,,~,,~,,~
j!l)js.tt!!~ ',.'
",,,"'-
,.:" ,,' ~R,yP),lt:
"d ..' ~ L ..~,~",' .. .1
',. ,.~t.;:,,"'
.Ie~son planning, articulate learning goal'
•..".",-,..
'.. ' ~"~ ',.U

.ingl speaking aetivitifs;,


. ,"',1'"
(2) .';-,.•••~
.~,tt.ingr~c"Y<:>i:!g,~lcs, ... : illl.d QJ)jec~e.s in terms of those language func-
.',.'!.~ " .',.'0 ....
,_'~J , .... " .• ~.~'"~. ,I,._J.>,.,): .•.•. '.• ,'

sum as getting the gist~r ~"'"


~.Ill!:Sf.lg~;Jjstenip.g,,,
d',.~-.".t..,"'~"";"''''O",..,
,., i".,,,tiOlls,~tw:ll;!:,!S,need to learn first. Be sure to
."0' ".!"".h~ .., _~ .,,~.,. ""_""
selectively, describing: ~~~lJ,~tL~~PRn~~il!!qgi,yjng:;',,,W,\!l!-~f; I~!lliilg'e functions that reflect both social
opinions; and (3)givllig~shI9~t)ts .qPR9rlJ1nitil:s.!9,
J,~t.!{)'" .,.,',!
_".,_lirid,i\cads!.W~)anguage.
;';':\_'J,;'~.:~~
""'«".',\-", _.(,:,:
_
;','
Within this context, the
~_Jd.!~ •.•• ~ j.-,.:,J'.;~ .•,

~ ~~guage in situa~,~?~,,9~~,g!J,g;eryPft»;w,qo "1J,_~<;~,,?r~,mar and p~onunciation can be


It IS Impol1tant to expose students toa'uthentic lan- addressecl;.in,stead ofbemg assessed as discrete
. guage and help the~ w?r~ .?:"t_~l[1lH~~~~ f9,r,~e;M; "l l)t~PI.~"In,&,i;cases. assessment should be instruc-
ing with less than total_',,~;';,;1,'.1';
coinprehensioIl (Porter.. , 'r!' ,tive, challenging,
I:-' i."i':.~r"),,,l.~ ~ !-'"~ .~\"l",t:S •. .; _._' ,.;', ~;tl_.
engaging, and even enjoyable
, ";:.
'"",,'
and Roberts 1987). .. (Underhill 1987; Wiggins 1992).

,- ~
62 AUIlfENTICASSESSMENT FORENGUSH LANGUAGi!.EARNERS
Authentic Assessment of Oral typical\}' assess"d"if;l;gr:<l:de-!evelclassrooms and in
• - -"' •• '>. ::',_. " ':"'_)i'."";~_- ~':-..t
I." , .. ,'

district and' statewide assesSth'"nts. We str()Ilgly:


Language enco,\\~ecY9,u to conduct regular.ongoing ass,~ss-
ment of oral language along with ass,:ssment ,of
Using instructional activities for assessment takes reading and writing in order to assemble a com-
preparation and organization. The ke" is to plete profile of each student's language proficiency.
include assessment right along ,rith daily and In identif}ing the purpose of orallangliage
weeklyllC~()n_plans in order to document student assessment, an analysis must be made of the learn-
ers' needs. What do students need to be able'to lis-
progresSj.,ri!a systematic manner. You can do this by'
looking for assessment opportunities within actual ten to and respond to? Part of a needs assessment
is conducted by re,iewing local curriculum guides
c1assroorif:b.sks. It has been our experience that
teachers who do not plan for assessment tend to and the research literature to identifY expected
goals and levels of performance. Another part is to
owrlook iL Steps in preparing for oral language
assessment are: identifying purpose, planning for conduct survevs or inteniews with learners to
determine th;ir needs (Richards 1983), A baseline
assessment, developing rubrics and/ or s{oring
assessment of student strengths and needs in oral
procedure~, setting standards, im'Ol\ing students
in self. andfpeer assessment, selecting assessment language should be conducted to determine
instructional objectives. By combining the purpos-
acti,ities, and recording information, We discuss
es for which oral language will be used with a
each of these steps below.
learner needs assessment and indi,iduallanguage
assessment profiles, teachers can produce appro-
IDENTIFYING PURPOSE priate instructional goals, objectives, and assess-
The oral language of English language learners is ment acti\.ities.
typically assessed for one of three purposes:
I. For initial identification and placement of stu- PLANNING FOR ASSESSMENT
, dents in need of a language-based program such
After identifying assessment purposes, you can
as'ESL.or
":..
bilingual ..education.
' begin planning for classroom-based assessment of
2. For movement from one level to another within oral language by identifying instrudio7Ul1 adivities or
a given program, (e.g., beginning to intermedi- tasks you are currently using that can also be used
ate levels of ESL). for assessment. In this way, you not only establish a
3. For, plasement out of an ESLfbilingual program direct link between instruction and assessment,
into'a ,grade-level classroom. you also save valuable time and energy otherwise
pi-~,+ spent in designing assessment activities unrelated
Rarely do ,ve hear of assessment to monitor growth
to classroom activities. One way to describe your
in oral language proficiency in the classroom,
instructional acti,ities or tasks is in terms oflan-
either for diagnosis or instructional planning.
guage objectives. You can also describe and catego-
We believe that teachers do not conduct ongoing
rize instructional activities in terms of language
assessments of oral proficiency because they do
functions, 'as shown in Figure 4.2.
not receive training in how to do this. Teachers
Part of planning for assessment is deciding when
may also,.;!~~!pe three purposes of oral language
to assess students individually and when to assess
assessme~t;asbeing separate from instruction and
them in groups. For example, let's assume that you
takinp ~~. a~y from it; because of this, they may
use cooperative learning techniques to encourage
not ~~fi;asSess oral language more often than
students to solve problems in groups, How might
the mini",um required by their school program. It
you use this acti,ity for assessment? This is the kind
may also ~~at teachers do not see or.u language
of question you need to ask of each instructional
assessment as being as important as the assessment
acti,~ty as you plan for ongoing, systematic assess-
ofreading and writing, since these are the areas.

ORAL L'u'lGUAGE ASSESS~IENT 63


-

Figure 4.3 Oral Language Assessment Planning


, ,Matrix

language
Function
I Activity
Individual/Pair!
Group
Type of Rating
Scale/Rubric
I! Week of:

Information Gap Pairs Rubric for Oct. 15-20


Informing
"
Information Gap
I
!
I Nov. 11-16
Informing Picture"cued Individual Rubric for Oral
Descriptions language
I
"

Improvisations Pairs Improvisation Dec. 5-10


Persuading
Checklist
I

Solving Simulations
c ..
• ., .~
~~
Groups
I
' Self-Assessment Dec. 13-17
I for Groups
'-" .. '".
Adapted from a grid developed by ESL teacher $. Copley (1994).

ment of oral language development. There are sev- used if oral lan!nlacre is an essentiai part of instruc-
eral possible an5'\'ers to the question. First, you tion. They also "suggest" that students be recorded
might want to assess students' ability and willing- conducting different t\pes of tasks. such as describ
ness to talk and take turns in small groups. ing a picture or event. telling a storY. or expressing
Second, you could assess the group's ability to I an opinion. Bv assessing different kinds of perfor-
carry oUt a given task orsolve a problem. Third, mances the teacher crets 0
,"aluable feedback on stu-
you could assess language functions that are dent needs and is able to focus instructional goals
important for completing the assignment, ,such as accordingly. Recording oral language provides
c1assif)ing and informing. Fourth, you could ask options such as (I) rating the performance at a
students to reflect on the effectiveness of the later time, (2) getting a second rater to rate the
group process itself or their level of participation performance, (3) asking students to do a self-
• in it. The assessment option-you choose,will ;' . il'se~sment o( the,per[ormance, and (4) enabling
depend on your purpose for doing the assessment. students to look hack at their progress over time
One important step in planning'for'assessment is '" :(Underhin-.1987). -Planning for-assessment also
to outline the majur instructional goals or warning ~t- means having ready any equipment or supplies
comes and match these to learning activities and/ or needed (such as cameras, videotapes, etc.) in
performance tasks. We have adapted an Assess- order to proceed as smoothly as possible.
ment Planning Matrix developed by an ESL Another important part of planning for assess-
teacher (see Figure 4.3) to help you do this, as well ment is deciding how often to -colwetin/()rmation.
as to help you determine whether the assessment Teachers whose purpose it is to monitor student
will be conducted with individuals, student pairs, progress will need to collect information more
, or groups;'the kind ofrubric or rating scale to Use; often than those whose purpose is for reclassifica-
and so on. tion decisions, which may require assessment only
Part of planning for oral language assessment twice a year. Teachers who wish to monitor studen
invokes deciding whether or not to make an audio. or progress should plan to incorporate assessment
video recording of student performance. Brown and into their instruction regularly so that a small
)Ule (1983) suggest that a tape for each student be amount of information is collected on individual

64 AUI"HENTICASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH lANGUAGE LEARNERS


students periodically over time aiict'aetoss a variety on other
.co _
critefi'~t'~faifHl'a''''\\antto
"" I &
consider-rc,is-
of oral language tasks. ing the rubric. Either eliminate those criteria or
A final key component in planning is deci,ding , use them exclusively to distinguish between the
•••• 0" • " I

when and how to prauide learners with feedback. How upper levels of performance.
soon after oral language assessment should learn- Set criterion levels of performance by designing
ers be prO\~ded ",ith feedback on their perfor- a scoring rubric, rating scale, or checklis!. Begin by
mance, Certainly students want to know how they using a model nlbric or scaie; revise it to reflen
did immedia'telv after a task. but-mere is another your instructional objectives and then ask col.
reason forp:r6~jding feedback as soon as possible leagues for feedback. Check the dimensions or
after assesSment: the feedback will have more aspects of oral language that you want to'assess.
meaning ii'iW-perhaps make more of an impact. These might typically include communicative
The feedback can best be 'provided verbally in a effect or general comprehensibility, grammar, and
mini~onference with the student but can also be pronunciation. If overall communicative effect is
proyided by ratings on a scoring rubric with anno- more important than pronunciation, then it
tated comments that help the st~denl in preparing should be given more importance in the rubric.
.for the next oral performance. These comments Share your rubric with students, and get their
"can be writt~no.n an individual student rating input on it. Revise the rubric until both you and
form and distributed after the performance is the students agree on what it means and how it
'obsen-ed. ' looks in terms of student performance. (See
Chapter 3 for steps used to im'olve students in set-
DEVELOPING RUBRICS/SCORING
ting criteria and engage in self-assessmenL)
.PROCEDURES
Brmvn and 'Yule(1983) suggest rating proce-
dures that describe essential elements of effective
For teachers, parents, and students, classroolll-
communication; these can become the highest
based assessment of oral language aims to answer
level of performance, ",ith less effective perfor-
the questions: How am I [are we] doing? and How
mances listed at lower levels on the rating scale.
can I [we] do better, (Herman, Aschbacher, and
Gonzalez Pino (1988) reminds us that the' dimen-
Winters 1992). To anS}'er the questions, students
sions or features of oral language to be assessed
need to know the purpose of the assessment activi-
depend on the level of proficiency of the class and
ty,the expected performance, and the criteria for
instructional goals. For example, beginners can be
each task- Setting criteria is a crucial part of rated for O\'erall communicative effect, with vocab-
assessment,'without criteria or standards of perfor-
ulary and grammar being slightlyless important
mance, perfqrr<;'ance tasks remain simply a collec-
and pronunciation and fluency being least impor-
tion of insu:;qctionalacti\~ties(Herman,
. Aschbacher,
-'. tant. 'Wbereyer possible, rubrics should highlight
and Wmters,1992). Based on student performance, what students can do rather than what they cannot
teachers can revise assessment .tasksand standards
M. Of course, at lower levels of proficiency, what
as well as instructional objectives and activities to
students can do with oral language will be limit-
better meet learners' needs.
ed.
Youcan establish criterion levels of oral language
When using a holistic scale, you may discover'
proficiency. based on the goals and objectives of that students do not alwaysfit neatly into one cate-
classroom.instruction before usinginstructional
gory or another, This is because each student is
activities fO[:j.SSessment.Next, op~rationalize these
unique and may not conform totally to a single cat-
criteria (mQ4ifyby trial and error) based on actual
egory, You should assign the rating that most close-
student,pei'forinance. As an example, if most stu-
ly fits the student's actual performance. Making
dents do not provide eyidence of a specific criteri-
this decision will take practice and may benefit
on in your scoring rubric (e.g., no errors in pro-
from a colleague's feedback. If scoring holistically,
nunciation), and if performances are exceptional
you need only about three to six levels of perf or-

ORAL lANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 65


,c,g;~; m••nce; you do not want to use more levelsthan' ESL teachers in Fairfax Coulln'. Virginia are pilo
,~1f,;~~ you need. If you find yourself using half-steprat-, ing the use of the oral language rating scalespr
;~X,~;,;.'
ings (e.g., 4.5, 3.5), you may need to redefine the \ided in Figures -1.4and -1,5,They are considerin
'~}, leYelsin order to avoid calculations \\ith decimals, that students scoring at a Le\'el 6 would have dey
in developing an overall score. Analyticand ' , oped oral language comparable to that of native
weighted rating scales, while complicated and' English-speaking grade-mates. This would mean
time-consuming to use, are most dfective for com- that Level 6 has been set as the standard of perfo
municating diagnostic informati';n, 'such as'stu-:. mance for lea\ing the ESL program, Students sc
dents' strengths and needs. You maywant to save ing at Levels 4 and 5 on the rubric would probab
these for making placement decisions. Underhill benefit from being placed in the highest levelof
(I98i) suggests a balanced approach to using the ESL program. Students at Level 3 would mas
holistic and analytic rating scales, as in assessing likelybe placed at the intermediate level of the
for communicative effect or grammatical accuracy. ESLprogram, while students at Levels 1 and 2
An example of a rating scale for,oral language " would be placed at the beginning level of the pr
which has been produced in both a'holistic and , gram. Because placemem decisions should alway
. .' ." . ,,~ 'It .j,

analytic format is pro.ided in Figures 4.4 and 4.5. 'be based on multiple sOuTcesof information, the
When rating oral language in the clas~room,use' ,teachers would have to corroborate the informa-
i more than one rater periodically to spot-<:heckfor " tion obtained from this rubric with that acquired
imer-rater reliability. Play an audio or .ideotape of from ,other sources.
student performance and ask other teachers to For the classroom teache,:- standards may be
rate it using the rubric. Begin with ob\iously high used to monitor student performance, to deter-
and low performances before rating less clear.ctH mine who needs extra help, or to assign grades. 11
cases (Hughes 1989). instead of holistic scales. you are using analytic
scales,you will need to determine what scores
SETTING STANDARDS meet the criteria on each dimension of perfor-
mance. For example, when setting standards for
Once scoring rubrics and procedures have been
pronunciation, you will need to decide benveen
established, you "ill need to set standards of or,d ,
,comprehensible pronunciation and pronunciatio
language performance. Setting standards involves
that interfereswith communication,
clearly specifying what students should know and
be able to do at different levels of oral language
proficiency. Standards can be set by establishing a INVOLVINGSTUDENTS
cut-<Jffpoint 'on,a.scoring -rubricthat 'ffieets'a spe- ",'. ',In:,atithenticassessment; involving'students in the
cific level of performance. 'For example, to,specify own assessment is critical. By reflecting on and
an "advanced" level of proficiency on a rubric With assessing their m\TI work and that of their peers,
a range from 1 to 6, you might require a'score of 5 students get the opportunity to apply criteria to
or 6. A "basic" level of proficiency may require a work samples and to set learning goals.
score of 1 or 2. In either case, the description for
the criterion score (given on the rubric) is your Self-Assessment An essential step in preparin
key to understanding what each level on the stan- ~, for oral language assessment is planning how to
dard means in terms of student performance. The engage students in SeIf-assessmenLByproviding
levels on the scoring rubric are alwaystied to your learners with the skillsneeded to independently
curriculum objectives in the language or content monitor their learning, we enable them to take
area being rated. This link establishedbetween:the greater responsi!>ilityfor that learning. Students
scoring rubric, your local curriculum objectives, ' can be involved in generating criteria for assess- '
and the staridards you set is essentiaL' mem by being gi\'en the opportunity to listen to
'You may decide to use performance on the stan- good and poor performances and asked to
dard to monitor progress or reclassifystUdents. describe characteristics of effective performance'
" .i,~.

;fi6,'AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERS


,
Figure 4.4 Holistic Oral Language Scoring Rubric

Rating Description

6 • Communicates competently in social and classroom settings


,. Speaks fluently
-~ '~~
c~. ~.Masters a variety of grammatical structures
~,-~." J<':. ~
• Uses extensive vocabulary but may iag behind native-speaking peers
• Understands classroom discussion without difficulty
-

5 • Speaks in social and classroom settings with sustained and connected discourse; any
errors do not interfere with meaning
• Speaks with near-native fluency; any hesitations do not interfere with communication
• Uses a variety of structures with occasional grammatical errors
..'«..~ '.
• Uses varied vocabulary
• Understands simple sentences in sustained conversatiol]; requires repetition
h
• .- -~,.---- --_ . ---- .. -

4 • Initiates and sustains a conversation with descriptors and details; exhibits sell-confidence in
social situations; begins to communicate in classroom settings
• Speaks with occasional hesitation
• Uses some complex sentences; applies rules of grammar but lacks control of irregular
forms (e.g., runned, mans, not never, more higher)
• Uses adequate vocabulary; some word usage irregularities
• Understands classroom discussions with repetition, rephrasing, and clarification

3 , • Begins to initiate conversation; retells a story or experience; asks and responds to simple
questions
• Speaks hesitantly because of rephrasing and searching for words
.,' Uses predominantly present"tense verbs; demonstrates errors of omission (leaves words
.. out, word endings off)
;. ,- ~ Uses limited vocabulary
-.";.Understands simple sentences in sustained conversation; requires repetition
,

2 • Begins to communicate personal and survival needs


• Speaks in single-word utterances and short patterns
• Uses functional vocabulary
• Understands words and phrases; requires repetitions

, Begins to name concrete objects


1 ry~

. • Repeats words and phrases


-..0.-- i':',tf.'Uiiderstands little or no English
. -~

by ESl teachers Portfolio Assessment Group (Grades 1-12), Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia.
Adapted from a rating scale deYeIoped

. -".- ~
~
~.~1<'<i< ",r ~C<
Speaking I Begins to name I Begins'to commu- Begins to initiate initiates and ,sus- Speaks in social Communicates
concrete objocts nicato porsonill conversalion; tains a conversa- and classroom competently in
and survival rotells a story or tion with descrip- settings with social and class-
needs experience; asks tors and details; sustained and (oom settings
and responds to exhibits sElIf-confi- connected
simple questions dence in social discourse; any .~
.~
situations; begins errors do not
to communicate interfere with "
:Ii
in classroom meaning.
~
settings .0
, .- -- -_., .--_._-----,'. - --_ ..
.•.: ~

Fluency I . Repeats words I Speaks in single- Speaks hesitantly Spe~k~' with Speaks with near- ~peaks fluently ',"
c
0
()

and phrases word utterances because of occasional native fluency; ~


a:iid short patterns rephrasing and hesitatii:m
,;~
. any hesitations do ;f"
searching for "i! not interfere with
..'" communication ~
words , _._------------.~_.-
.. ~-- ------- . , ' ... ". _ ....• ,_,, __ ' __ '_-0 .-~_ •• _ .• _¥ •••.• ~ ••• ,-, ---~-

~
'0

Uses some com- Masters a variety


e
Structure I I I Uses predomi- ~ ',':- Uses a variety of !2.
nantly present plex sentences; structures with of grammatical ,
0.

occasional gram- structures ~


tense verbs; applies rules of "
.'~\ •.._- - maticai errors '-'-.
!I'i1"E
..
....-
c),

.a
::>
.~ .
demonstrates
errors of omission
(leaves words out,
gramm.ar but
lacks control of ~
irregular forms j
a: word endings off) .2
Cl (e.g:; ilmned.
c } ~
';: mans,
. '. ,-,.hot never,
0
c-
o
u . mar,lI higf1.erj ~
-'--':~'-~_.._.~_. "- .- .._ .•.. __ ._.•._.'. __ .._._ .._ ... - --_._--.".
l/)
III
- ._. - ...... .. ',.'. ~-~_.-----ii
~
l!!
Cl ...•
to Vocabulary Uses functional Uses limited Uses adequate Uses varied Uses extensive Ul
::>
Cl
c vocabulary vocabulary vocabulary; some vocabulary "vocabulary but '"/;
i
j word u~age irreg- may lag behind
ularities native-speaking
E peers '0
0 ~

~
U
. '.-, .. ....
', ...._ ...-.. " .._"-~........ _".,- ... , . __ .. _ .....•. __ .__ ...__ .-._---_. ~

<
to
C
Listening Understands little
or no English
Understands
words and
Understands
simple sentences
Understands
classroom
Understands most
spoken language,
Understands
classroom discus-
f~
'E
phrases. requires in sustained discussions with including class- sion without dilli- ,g
conversation;-~ repetition, room discussion cully
repetition
requires repetition rephrasing, and
clarification
,,1
(Brown and Yule 1983). (See Chapter 3 for a self-assessmem of oral language used in groups; ,
. -~:_~'
.•
~-''.ii. ., .'-
description of the self-assessment' p~'ocess.) Self- ,students can be pr6\1deo","thquestions simila((\l'
. ~:,~~~

assessment may take various forms, depending jO[';, !, those.shm\1l in Figure ~.lO.
,~-,..• ', .
. ,':i.>.
~<;; ~..-,-

the age, language proficiency, and readinKskills


Peer Assessment For pair or te,am'a~ti~iries,
of each learner. For example, students who are
students can be asked to rate each Otl.l~;.i;;.~~ell as
reading independently can be expected to com-
their functioning as a group. L'nderhill (1987) sug-
plete their own written self-assessments. With
gests that peer assessnll~nlis an authentic ~~sess-
young children and pre-readers, teachers can ask
ment approach because peers are asked to rate the
open~nded,,5I!!estions to engage slUdents in self-
effectiveness of communication by others.
assessment orally and take notes on student com-
_ments. Leanc;ers may be asked to reflect on a spe-
Howe\'er. students ,,"11
need to be taught how to
e\'a!uate each other as fairly as possible using guid-
cific performance or on language development
ing questions or some kind of rating scale. The
over time.
natural reluctance some students mav have in rat-
Preparing self-assessment formats for oral lan-,
ing their peers may be partially overcome b\' pro-
guage requires careful wording so mat me assess-
\1ding students ,,"m numerous opportunities for
ment itself does not become an exercise in reading
engaging in peer assessment.
comprehensi,on. If possible, directions for self-
An example of a peer assessment to determine
assessment sh6uld be given at the developmental
the effectiveness of using oral language to explain
or reading level of the student or in me native lail-
a process has been modified from an instructional
, guage (where smdents share me same native lan-
acti\ity designed b:- an ESL teacher-(see Figure
guage) (Underhill 1987). Each statement should
4.11). The process described in the oral presenta-
be 'expressed in tl,e first person (e.g" "I can.;.') in
tion might be anything ranging from follo,,-ing
-,',rder to'take the learner's perspective from the
directions to conducting a science expelin1C'_I1t.
onset. Self-assessments can take the form of ye"/IIII
statements, question/answer, rating scales, sen'
,tence completion, and learning logs, These are SELECTING ASSESSMENT ACTIVITIES
not typically graded or scored by the teacher. Part of planning for assessment of oral language
Instead, mey are used to focus learners on meir involves identifvinu
, 0 instructional acti\1ties that can
performanc!" a";d progress, in learning, to give the also be used for assessment. These aeti\1ties
teacher an .idea of me accuracvof
, -'
me learners' should reflect what we know about the nature of
assessme'!:t of their performance, and as points of oral language. In particular, they should assess
departure for student/teacher conferences to dis- , authentic language use in context. both commu-
. cuss studerit~pr~ess. Students should be guided nicative and academic language functions, and
- .•,~' l';'~',.',
andgiveri qptibns in setting goals for overall com- the abilitv• to communicate meaning.c Assessment
municative effectiveness, fluency, and accuracy in of oral language is most effective when it is based
vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, stress, into- on the performance of a task. This means mat stu-
nation, and style. Figure 4.6, adapted from dents are required to do something in response to
Bachman and Palmer (1989)', asks students to rate, what mey hear, whether it's taking notes, charting
memselves on six oral language tasks at four levels a route on a map, or answering questions'(Ur'
of difficult\'. Students can also do a self-assessment 1984). Tasks should be designed to challenge me
" of how weli:mey can use language functions, as proficiency level(s) of your students wimout frus-
shown ~n Figt!re 4.7. trating them...
, An examp!'::of self-assessment of communication Oral language assessment can take various forms
strategidd';iloped by an ESLteaeher for oral depending on your purpose for assessment,.stu-
communication tasks is presented in Figure 4.8. A dents' level oflanguage proficiency, and me pur-
self-assessment for speaking developed by anomer poses for which students use orallanguilge in me
ESL teacher is shown in Figure 4.9. For individual classroom. Assessment tasks for oral language dif-

ORAL LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 69


Self-Assessment of Oral Language

Name Date
~

Check (.J) the box that shows what you can do. Add comments.

What Can You Do Difficulty Level I Comments


in English? • •
Not Very
Well Okay Well Very Well

1. I can ask questions


in class. -

I
2. I can understand
others when
I I,
,
I

working in a group.

3. I can understand
television shows.

4. I can speak with


native speakers '. .
outside of school. .

5. I can talk on the •


phone.
..'

-
6. I can ask for an
explanation.
.

Adapted from Bachman and Palmer (1989) .

• @Addison.Wesfey. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners. Q'MalleyNaldez Pierce. This-page may be reproduced for classroom use.
Self-Assessment of<Academic Language Functions' , ~)';~1 fiv,'1,'{:';"•.. ..
_.,,'
" .C' "', ..•~..-,
'.' . " . ... .~_~~,:~;fy:m~;!'~~~~?~4
Name Date

Check (.J) the boxihat best describes how well you can use English.Add comments.
- ...• .(.;~:~,':.r'''i1'.'
I i I
_"k

Not I I
Task Very Well Okay
I Well Very Well Comments
. .- .••."'.:.:::'~.,....~ ,
..• ,. ~ . •
1. I can describe
.
objects and people.

~
2. I can describe post .

events.
.,~-,-~::-.~~
. --..,

I II I,,
3. f can listen to and -

understand radio i
I, I
programs.
I
,
I,
!
,
I
4. I can listen to and
understand video
and television.
I
!
I
I

I ;
I
5. I cah state on
opinion.
1I
I
6. I can agree and
~.
- -~.--""'--'~,' '~',:
disdg'ree:

7.1 can summarize 0


story.

. .. " '~;"'-'-' .. '" .


~, -' .

8. I can give an oral


report. '.
<:.:....,~.". -'.
.
, .

.
• @Addison-Wesley_ AuthenticAssessment,for Engfish Langua~eLearners. O'MalleyNaldez ~erce. This page may be reproduced for classroom use.
Figure 4.8 Self-Assessment of Communication Strategies in Oral Language

Name Date ------

Circle the answer that shows how often you do the following things.

When I have problems talking in English. I: ,,!


Never Sometimes Often
1. use my native language.

Never Sometimes Often


2. ask for help.

Never Son-:2iimes Often


3. use gestures or facial expressions.

Never Sor:,et\mes Often


4. avoid communication totally or partially.

Never Sometimes Often


5. use a synonym or a description.

Never' Sometimes Often


6. make up new words.

Never Sometimes Often


7. simplify what I want to say.

Adapted from a form developed by ESL teacher S. Copley (1994) .

• @Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners. O'Mal1eyNaldez Pierce. This page may be reproduced for classroom use.
Figure 4.10 Self-Assessment of Participation In Groups .

--c
.
Name Date

How otten did you do the following things In your group today? ,::"

Put a check U)in th~boxthat bestcje~crlbes'your\esponseandadd comments. .;'


. .
'

•• ••
.'
'.. ..... ,

Sometimes
.

Often Comments'
. . .,-
Task Rarely .

'.'
,.. .. .'
j, I listened to others in my group.
. . .

,
2. I summarized what others said. . ..

,
:
3: I asked for information. .

.
.
.

; 4. I gave. information. - .••


~.~ ,.
-
.'>jo'
~
..
. I ~. ._-- .._-_ ..
.

5. I gave an opinion,
,

. ..._-_._--
6, I agreed or disagreed,

7, I asked far clorlflcatlon,


..

..

'. .-=-- .
Adapted hom a larm ,developed by ~SLleacher M. Crossman (~994)and Nourse, Wilson,. ~ndAndrion (1994),

•. if:) Addiso~.Weslev, Aurholltlc Assossmonl for English t.engu8go Loarnors. O'MolloylVoldoz. Pil:lIce. This pogo mflY bo reproducod lor closafoom uso.
~,
...,.: .
~',~~.",:1"'''~'''1';'):;;{>-""
igure 4.11 Peer Feedback Form: Explaining
_,,' _"
a Process
•••• C"' •• ,.,,,-,-' ," ; . ~

Speaker's Name Date

your Name ~ _

. Parl 1: Cir2le'the word Yes, Some, or No to tell how you feel about the speaker's report.
,', ..

.{~"-".'
1. I unde;Stdad what the speaker was talking about, Yes Some No

2. The speaker described how everything worked. Yes Some No

3. The speaker explained in steps I could follow. Yes Some No

4. I think H::ould do this myself now. Yes Some No


"'1" .;:

5. The directions were clear. Yes Some No

Parl2: Complete the following sentences.

6..1 liked when the speaker ~ _

7. The speaker was good at ~_

8. Maybe the speaker could ---

Adapted by ESL teadler M. Crossman


from Hill and Huptic (1994). ..; .

• CA,dd'lSOO-Wes'ey.
Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners.
O'MalleyNaJdez Pierce.
This page may be reproduced for classroom use.

OR'l.LL,""GCAGEASSESSME)'"T 75'
fer with regard to whether they call for the ps~ ,7f In de,'eloping tClsksfor oral language assessmet
static relationships (such as in describing a pictu're teachers can e,'aluate activities using the followin
or giving directions), dynamic relationships criteria, as adapted from Richards (1983):
(telling a swry or taking pan ill a role-play), or " l. Contellt I.aLidin', Does the assessment measure Ii
abstract relationships (giving an opinion) (Brown tening comprehension, speaking, or somethin
and Yule 1983). These relationships correspond to else? Have acti"ities been used as part of instru
an increase in difficulty levels; that is, it is easier to tion?
describe a picture than to give an opinion in on~'s
2. Task l'alidity. Does the ,task assess listening com
second language. You need to consider the pur- '
prehension or speaking, or doe~ memory play
pose of the assessment, the format ,(individual,
significant role?
pairS, groups), students' level of proficiency, lan-
guage functions used in daily classroom activities, 3. Pu1jJoSefuLnessalld tra11SferabilitJ. Does the assessme
and the level of student preparation needed for task reflect a purpose for listening that approxi-
each assessment activity before choosing it. You mates authentic real-life listening or speaking?
also need to consider the difficulty. of tasks ,'vith" ,4. 'Authenticity. Towhat.degree does the assessme
regard to both linguistic and cognitive load; the measure actual spoken language?
tasks should be developmentally appropriate and
, , In this section, we suggesta number of instruc-
authentic. The important thing is to give students
tional activities that can also be used for assess-
continued opportunities to engage in authentic'
ment. If these activities provide teachers "ith the
oral language activities before using these same
op'portunity to tryout ne\\' techniques in assess.:
activities for assessment.
ment, we suggest that they, can also prmide ideas
If vou are like most teachers, you are probably
f~r effecti,'e language teaching. The instructional
alre;dy asking yourself where youare going to find
and assessment acti"ities described here include:'
the time to assess students indi"idually for oral lan-
oral interviews, picture-cued descriptions or sto-
guage. Although "ith careful planning indi,idual
ries, radio 'broadcasts. ,ideo clips, information ga
assessment is possible, more often than not you
tasks, story/text retellings, impro,isations/role-
"ill need to use interactive studen't pairs or groups
plays/simulations, oral reports, and debates
for oral language assessment. An interactive setting
(Bachman and Palmer 1989; Genishi 1985:
is actually more authentic than an '
Gonzalez Pino 1988; Hughes 1989; Oscarson 198
interviewer /imeniewee setting or a format where
U nderhill'1987) ,
a student respondsto a recording (Underhill
,,'. Guidelines' for using each of these acti"ities at
1987). How-ever,indi,idual assessment'may be pre-
different levels'.of language proficiency are given,
ferred when .the needs and strengths of a new stu-
below. We have.org,!niz~d assessment activities by
'dent in vour classroom are being assessed, when,
format (e.g., individuals/pairs/groups); by level 0
confere~cing with individual students, or when I: language proficiency, and by level of student
conducting quarterly portfolio conferences.
preparation. F r a b~ef overview of all a~tivities .',
0,
'Use as wide a variety of assessment activities as
described here, see Ftgure 4.12. We proVide exam
possible to make your assessment more authentic
pIes of scoring rubrics for these activities where
and reliable (Herman, Aschbacher, and Winters
the language is sufficiently generalized that a
1992; Hughes 1989; Underhill 1987), Also, be sure
generic rubric is appropriate. in other cases, as in
that your assessment task is not one students can
story retelling, the language produced will require
memorize from written notes (unless it is to be a
. I a rubric that is specific to the ,task, or in this case,
formal presentation, and even that should not be
ta the structure, of the genre involved. We have
memorized or read aloud) but which reveals their
also indicated which language functions are most
general ability to produce an extended segment of
likely ta be elicited with each activity, as shown in
oral language appropriate to a situation (Brown
Figure 4.12, Results of oral language assessment
and Yule 1983). , , ,

, 76 AtJTIIE!>'TIC ASSESSME~T FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS


-
_.-- -..-
~~.>:y-~:~:'- -
~'r.~'~n\;.~
$~\:'''U;~
. .
~4:~:r~\:,,/, -. ,. ~•.{f$ ~f\:;:-;".:>.::>-< ...'; 1

Oral Language Assessment Activity Matrix


igure 4.12
~.. <":;-.:::' •. 'll" •.l"-

.. ., ' . >sfudent Lahguage


Assessment Level of Langwige
Format
Activity ,:'.Proficiency '....t,. ;1 "0 , .•~ " ".PrepaJalion Functions

1. Oral Interview Individual/pairs All levels None • Describing


• Giving infonnation
• Giving an opinion
,
I
2. Picture,cued Individual Beginning, None • Describing
Descriptions or intermediate • Giving information
Stories'~* .>~. • Giving an opinion

3. Radio t.;",: Individual, groups, Intermediate, None • Listening for the gist
Broadcasts whole class advanced • Listening lor specific
information
• Listening for
... descriptions, directions
, • Summarizing

4, Video Cli~s InclYidual, groups, All levels . None • Describing


• Giving information
,~:J.~-.
whole class i
- -r_"
5. Information Gap
.. ' . , Pairs All levels None • Describing
• Giving information
i
i
.•..
:.r \t .•.,:"" c" • Giving directions

6. StoryfText Individual Beginning, None • Describing


Retelling intermediate • Giving information
• Summarizing

7. Improvisationsl Pairs,groups All ievels Some • Greetings/leave-takings


Roleplaysl prepamtion • Asking for/giving
Simulations information
• Requesting
assistance
<
• Agreeing/'
<
<
, disagreeing
• Giving/evaluating an.
oplOion
• Giving advice
• Giving directions
..
,~".•..
';. . • Suggesting
.
Jt .,.. " .,.;::;: - ,
• Persuading
~~i. • Encouraging ,
-"'"'.-{'''
8. .Oral Reports Individual All levels Extensive • Describing
[
~ prepwation • Explaining [
• Giving/asking for !
information . I
. I

9. Debates Groups Intermediate, Extensive • Describing , I


-
advanced prepallltion • Explaining
• Giving/asking for
information
4:,'f
• Persuading .'
. ~:.~" 'Agreeing/
, .(. ;"J: disa g reein g
." r ~

,~'.v ~7?: y.

'" ~.
\

ORAL LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 77


o desClibe a series of events in the pasto (e.g.. Ask
activities can he systematicallv gathered ano inter-
the studem: IFh,,1 did -,"Oildo yeslerday,fr01ll morning
preted in an oral'language p~rtl()li() (descrihed .'.
IInlil lIigilt? Or Tell llIe"boul what yon did 1051 week.
later in this chapter).
end, beginning with Frida)' nighl.)
Oral language should be assessed for each stu-
dent at least twice during each quarter or semester. o produce a smooth stream ofspeecho (e.g.. Tell
This provides baseline data as well as information the student: I ;vant IOU 10 lalk for as long as you ran
on imprm'ement of language proficiency on a con- wilhoul slopping. I «'ill not interrupt yOu . .YOH', whal
tinuous basis. Unless this information is gathered can you I~ll me "bol/(. .. 'l
frequently and systematically. it \lill he oflimited Asking simple information questions is an
use. Teachers can set up a rotating schedule for extremely important language task in school.
assessing students in order to avoid assessing all Wben students are able to ask questions, especiallv
students at once in a short period of time. In this in a'c1assroom setting. they can obtain clarification
way. assessmen t becomes an ongoing part of daily on information that they might ha\'e misunder-
Of weekly instruction. stood or on which they need help. This is why this
~ language'function should take priority in planning
Oral Interviews ,Oral inteniewscan be '~ondu~i~.:
which language taskS to assess. Checking all stu-
ed with indi\iduals or pairs at all levels of language
dents on the same performance. or using similar
proficiency and require no preparation on the
questions to ask all s'tudents will increase the relia-
part of the student. In a classroom setting. inter-
bility of your assessment by focusing on the perfor-
views can take the form of discu-ssi-onsor conversa- :.
mance of similar tasks bv different students.
tions with the teacher and "ith other students.
Questions will vary'. however. with the proficiencv
Inteniews can be used to elicit the following lan-
level of students and classroom instructional goals
guage functions: describing_ gi\ing-information, or
and-acthities. Some sample in[eniew questions are:
ghing an opinion.
To prepare to interview indi\idual students, you: For beginners:
"ill want to prepare a list of guiding questions or • Can you tell me abol/I YOllrfamily!
tasks. These questions/tasks should be appropriate
o Where have you studied English?
for the language proficiency and developmental
levels of the student, reflect the students' interests o What subjects did you study in your last school?
and classroom activities, and avoid 'cultural bias. To • ,1sk a friend if you ran borrow his book.
check for cultural bias, consult a native speaker of o Ask a leacher to repeat the directions for doing hOm£-
the students' native .languages or someone familiar.
work. "
"ith the students' cultures. Be sure that students .
For intermediate le,.eJ students:
understand the tasks they are being asked to per-
form and the criteria by which theY',ill be.evalua~~d. o Describe what you did last weekend.
Some examples of performance tasks to check for in o Tell me about lhe kinds of movies you !ike.
an oral interview are suggested by Underhill (1987):
o l;Vhatis your favorite class and why r
Can the learner: o Ask for directions to Ihe school gym,
• use courtesy formulas? (e.g., Greet the student
o ,1sk a teacher how 10 solve a math jJroblem.
and evaluate his or her response, or' ask the stu-
dent What do y";' say when you m£etSOm£onefor the For advanced students:
first time? or What do ymtsay when you hurt someone o How do ymt feel you are doing in this class and why?
fry mistake or accident?) . • What has beenyour favorile subject ihis quarter and
• ask simple information questions? (e.g., Ask the ,why?
student: What questions do you have for me? or HlJW • Tell me about how you spend your free time.
can I help y=?)
o Compare this school with your last one.

78 AUTHEl'.TlC ASSESSMEKr FOR El'GLlSH L","GUAGE LEAR1'>IERS


"

Ask fl leflcher how .you will be grndPf! ,~Y'an ns,-ig71- Pictures should also be rcl,nive1v free of cultural
" _.,.\-,.jl',<i!f:-/;,e.~~f~j,.-," .
,
11/fnl. ~' ''''-1.,: '..-. bias; Fore-~.LlIll'pk<call '~(lidt~n~~~
l;e l'xpt'~tedto he
familiar with most i~ems ill the picture. or ~re
To conduct the illteniew with pairs of students.
items particular to OUf culture onl:'? Pictures
ou can share the list of prepared questions with
should not call for skills tbal are not being assessed
tudents and have them inteniew each other. This
(such as creati\ity). Pictures should also call for
ives vou the opportunity to asses>both students
approximately similar types of oral bllguag~. For
uring a single session. With prepared questions.
example. Brown and Yule (198'» suggest tb'lt,a
'ou limit the~possibility of one student dominating
way to make picture descriptions more difficult,is
he co[l\'ers~tion, either student getting off the
to increase the "communicative stress~' invoked ~in
opic, ol"Sh);;~tudents speaking very little. Although
ere is thedkger of the teacher talking too much the description. Selecting piclUres that tell stories \
uring a one-on-one inteniew, this disadvantage invohing several characters of the same gender
an be eliminated ",hen pairs of students are asked calls for more referential and explicit language
than those with only one or two characters. Other
o do most of the talking.
To rate the inteniew, use a holistic (see Figure elements needing clear reference, depending on
.4) or analytic (see Figure 4.5) rating scale (a the story line depicted by the pictures. are changes
ubric) or~a,(;hecklist of language skills. Wherever in location and sequence.'
ossible, ie.is 'advisable not to rate students during Students can either describe or tell a ston' about
ndividlial inteniews; it can be disconcerting . and the picture(s). You might ask students to order the
,

pictures in a preferred sequence and describe


lllnening foi' some students. Rate the student as
what is OCClu:ring.Howe\'er. be careful to rate the
'oon as possible after'the inteniew or tape the
nteniew for rating at a later time. "lie know of student's ability to communicate meaning rather
than the creativity of the storvtelling. For example.
eachers ',\"hoprefer to conduct ratings of oral lan-
if you are assessing a ne\\' sluden t about WhOIll you
age as tlley walk around the classroom observ-
know very little, you may want to use pictures that
'ng student interactions. Students will become
represent persons from different ethnic groups
accustomed to being rated when they understand
engaged in tvpical acti\ities, such as eating, play-
the purpose of the assessment and the criteria
ing, or shopping. If you are assessing students in
used in the rating. Be sure to make these clear to
your class to see if they can lise language functions
students if you want to do the ratings while stu-
introduced in class, such as describing persons,
dents are ~.
interacting.
~
.
then you wiIIwant to prO\ide a variety of pictures
Picture-cued Descriptions or Stories Picture that call for descriptions of persons and reflect the
cues can b".+,~ed for assessment of individual stu- vocabulary and structures presented and used in '
dents and af~;;probably most appropriate for class.
beginning ,u:{d intermediate learners. Picture cues A convenient way to organize your 'pictures is to
require no prior preparation on the part of the keep a picture file. Coiled large photographs rep-
student and can be used to elicit the following lan- resentative of persons of different ages and cul-
guage functions: describing, giving information, or tures. Brown and Yule (1983) propose using a set
giving an opinion . of photographs thauell a story, such as eliciting an
. To prepare, obtain a variety of black and white "eyewitness account" of an automobile accident. In
or color pictures or photographs that elicit the this activity, students are asked to piece together by
kind of lan!ruage you want to assess. Pictures inference the story related by the pictures. As a lis-
should be;appropriate for the age and interest le'L tening acti\ity, the listener could be asked to iden-
t "s "',' '. ' '.
els of your students. You can choose either single tifythe pictures that match the accident being
pictures or a series of pictures. Pictures should be described or make a diagram of the accident.
of real people rather tJian of cartoon characters in V\'hether using single pictures or a se'ries'of pic-
order io ensure appropriate interpretation. tures, allow students whenever possible to choose

ORAL L\XGUAGE ,-\SSESSMEXT i9

~_
.• ~~~~--
the picture or series of pictures they want to talk t, • cl'lSses. Thev are proh,rhlv Ill">!appropriate for
about. Gi\;ng sludenL'; options in choosing pic.~ Iniddle and high ~(htlol students h~l\'illg-mUff' than
tures to ~tlk about puts them more in cOIllrnl "I' a hegill ning len: I Df prOfi(1ellcy. and require 11<)
the situation and at ease with their ahility to COIll- preparation on thc part ofstudents. Language
municate. Give each student a few minutes to functions that ma\"
, be asst':S:,t"dthrough
~ the use of
examine the picture before tT)ing to elicit lan- radio broadcasts include: listcning for the gist, lis-
guage. The biggest challenge in this kind of assess- tening for specific information. listening for
ment is to keep the process from becoming an dt'scriptions. listel1il1~ for dirt"ctlons. and sumnlil-
inteniew. where the teacher asks a question and rizing. Learning strategies used in these aCli\ities
the student responds. In oral inteniews, teachers may-indude making inferences, predicting, asking
tend to do at least 50 percent of the talking. To for clarification, and comparing.
keep teacher talk to a minimum, teU the student Songs of interest to learners can be used to assess
that you want him or her to tell you what the pic- their abililV to undcrstand what the song is ahout
ture is about or to tell you a story about the pic- . and to guess at the meanings of words from con.
ture(s). Then ask the student to tell you as much,it ,i text. Of special interest to adolescents are popular
as possible for as long as he or she can ..This strate- songs' played on the radio Top 40. Smdents can be
gy may work more effectively with older learners assessed for their ahility to idenrifythe:topic and
than "ith younger learners. If younger stude IllSor the singer's feelings or for completing the words to
shy students appear reticent,sou may need to ask a a song giyen a partial text. Radio commercials can
few open-ended questions to elicit language .. -\sk- be' used for teaching and assessing studenL" ability
ing other. than yes/no questions "ill elicit more lan-' to scan for important information, such as the
guage with more proficient students. You can , nature of a product. its name. :uld its purported
expect studeIlls at the beginning level to be ahle to benefiL,. Thn can abo be asked to evaluate the
lahel or name people, ohjects, colors, and other cOlllInercial for honest:.; reality. and true \"alue. For
surface features of the pictures. At more ad\-anced example. given an aUlol110bile or cereal conlmer-
levels of English proficiency, students will compose cial, studellls can be asked to identif\' the product
a story describing relationships, events, hack- from a set of products in the same category. All of
ground information about the pictures, and impli-. these listening activities can easily be conducted in
cations. To rate student performance, use rating ~onjunction with speaking acti\ities, such as dis-
scales or checklists similar to those used for the cussing, engaging in role-plays, or working in
oral inteniew. As with the interview,'Ta.te student small groups. Reading and writing can also be
performance after th'e student has completed'the . 'made pan of listening assessment; as long as the
task and returned to his or her desk. focus is on accuracy in listening, not on reading
and w'riting.
Radio Broadcasts Radio programs of news, .'. For news broadcasts, students can predict what
music, weather, and commercials can be used to they 'think they will hear. then scan the message to
assess oral language in authentic contexts. Using confirm their predictions. They can also listen to a
authentic spoken language to assess listening and I news report recorded later in the day or the next
speaking can be highly motivating to students day to update their information and compare what
because iuelates to daily life and calls for use of they hear with wrinen news accounts. With weath-
shared background knowledge (Poner and Roherts er rep';rts, smdents c<inbe assessed for listening
1987). Listening to news reports and weather fore. . selectiyely, summarizing, completing a weather
casts can be used to teach and assesslistening with . . map or short statements or worksheets, discussing
a purpose, listening for the gist of the message, and results in small groups •.or eyen deciding which
listening "ith less than total comprehension. clothes to wear in response to the forecast.
Radio broadcasts used for instruction and assess- To use radio broadcasts for assessment of oral
ment are useful "ith indi,iduals, groups, or whole language, select recordings of short texts (one to'

80 AUtHENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH L"-'''GL'AGE LE..••


RNERS
tWO IninUl\.:S) \,'ith clear. pn..:dinabk'. and repetjtiw' duet: flliIlutes). ~i\'jllg :,Iudt.'nts <"I purpq~t:fllr vic\\"-
formals, if possi'bIe, To rate comprehensi,,, 1 of i ng ...<If!.d..PI:_~;~\:iit1w~.ftJf~(i}11
c<;l~.it"\\.iII:.!. \\'orksllt'cts
'l~'A'-""':~""-",-,~ .'
'radio broadC:L~t\;'A ~-ar'i'~ty(;l: p~i"nc~:dllrescil',;~l~i_:;r/~~;:'!l.'
ur (ask~?rFq'ltirillg \\Tilh'Il'i'{.::-;p\)Jiscs'~';m t~l'lpstu-
enlp'lnyed. froDl answering qut'.'rions. ti) matching dent~ focus on ".hat to look It)r in.a ,"ider) dip. To
iter-us. pictures, ot diag-rams to the message. to fill- rate student comprehen.-;itm of,idt'o clips. d~ter-
ing in a grid "ith pre-specified information, mine criteria (vocabulary. grammar: language
Junction~. content) based on Y'OUf in~~ructional
Video Clips CSt' of short "id~otaped segments
goals and acti\"ilies.
I)f video dips (two to three 11}_il~.Hte-5-)to assess oLd

language can be highly tllotiya\ing to students, Information Gap Of all the 'aClivit;esdescribed
who may typically spend h(JUrs'1!,nchingtele"ision here, an information gap may pro\ide one of the
or "ideos outside of schooL Video clips can be clearest indicators of the ability of one person to
used at alllevds of proficiency. but the things stu- give information to another, An information gap is
dents arc asked to do with oral language "ill differ an acti"ity where one slndent's prm'ided informa-
depending on their level of pr'?,ficiency,Video tion that is kept from a partner (CnderhiIl198i),
clips can be used "ith indi,iduals, groups, or Jigsaw acti,ities and t\,.o-\,"aytasks also pro\ide situ-
whole classes, Video can even be used with young ations where one person 'has information that the
children, especiallv to pro"ide,~timulation and other does not: each person' must prO\ide,ihe '
moti\:ation tolearn aboUlculture and language information using oral language. This i~formatioll
(,Tomalin 1992), Video clips require no prepara- may im'owe descriptions of pictures, maps, or
tion on the pan of the student and most often will manipu\ati'es, Information gap calls for detailed
elicit language f,mClions for describing or gi\ing descriptions of physical objecrs and a linguistic
inf(>rmation, On the other hand, at higher levels command .of colors, shapes, sizes ..directions. loca-
ofproficiency'slUdents can be asked to respond to tions, and se'quel~ces. Learners are c,"aluated on
issues presented on the clips or to ca'tegorize a their effectiveness in bridging the inf~lni.lation
series of clips based on instructional goals, For' gap, Brown and Yule (1983) suggest that repeating
"exa.m pie:: , .a teacher intern we obsern~d used video an information gap aeti\ity several times as th~
clips to get her imermediate high school ESL stu- speaker does not lead to significant improyemenr, '
dents to talk in pairs about the nature of the clips ,vhereas taking a role as the listener does, This is
and to categorize them according to previous class because when a student is on the recei",ing end of '
discussions, In this case. the class had been study- poor descriptions or instructions, he or she real- .
ing violence on te1e"isio~ and was being asked to izes the need to organize the message and be
categorize various ",ideo clips ,~:i_thregard to type of expliciL The information gap activity is prepared
violence. whether the scenes p~~~nted were real by the teacher but requires no preparation on the ,
or fictitious events. and what type of program was part of studentS, It is probably useful "ith students
represented (e,g,. documentary or reality-based at all levels ofiartguage proficiency, from begin-
police show), Students were ask~d to talk with a ners to advanced, Information gap acti,,~tiestypi-
partner in order to fill out their response cally assess thefoll~~g language functions; describ-
sheets/grids w~th the various questions/categories ing, ghing information, and gi"ing directions,
indicated, Not only were students thoroughly, In preparing information gap activities, be care-
engrossed in the activity, they welcomed the oppor- ful not to design problem-sohing acti,ities that call
tunity to talk about the video t!jps and clarifY for analysis by'the learner, Otherwise. you will be
points presented, 'For an example of a Student , assessing analytical ability as well as oral language
Response Sheet,'see,Figure 4:1i3'~; proficiency (Underhill 1987), Decide whether
Stempleskiand Arcario (1992~havewritten on your classroom activities involve describing or giv-
the use of authentic videos in the ESL classroom, ing directions or instructions, If describing, choose
They suggest rising only very short clips (two to , pictures or manipulatives that elicit vocabulary

ORAL LAI,GlJAGE ASSESS\tE"H 8I '

t. ,
~.. ,\

i'
Figure 4.13 VideO Clip: student ResporiseSheet
"'" I<;

Type of TV Program (Pick from the list below.)


Number of TV Clip
,, "
#1
q .

#3

.~,. .

#4
"

" .
#5

#6

"
#8

Quiz shows
News
Edu~ational shows
Cartoons
, Talkshows
Reali1y.shows (COPS, 911, Code 3) ,
Dramas
Comedies
Sports MTV
r.
-., ':
,.,.
.. . .
":.._• CAddison-Wesfey_ Authentic Assessment for EngliSh Langusge Learners.
- . O'Ma:JleYNaldez Pierce. This page may be reproduced for claSsroom u~.

.,:...

82 AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGLISH L~"GUAGE LE'RNERS


iliar to students. For giving directions, design To rate an inflltmation gap activity,evaluate the
aps of the school or community for students to speaker on accuracyand clarity of the description
se. For giving instructions, have listeners draw pic- as weUason the resultingreconstruction. The lis-
res or diagrams based on their partner's descrip- tener'Should be rated on ability to follow direc-
.on. Students can also be asked to fill in graphs or ti~}tfroiIlpIete the task. Accuracy-rather than
,4""'i"-"i7F"'.-.' -
.ds based on what they hear. Examples include ,speed 'm-descriptionof fine details-should be
.ng a telephone message or filling in details on a consi~ere.d:,Anexample of a scoring rubric for
ble or chart (Omaggio Hadley 1993). infonhation gap atti,ities designed by an ESL
In one kind of information gap task, the listener teacheris pfCJ."ided in Figure 4.14.
ust identify or construct a model based onwon a ., ,r--.~'::,'~- ~ .•.';"-

escription provided by the partner. The firs; stu- Stt?,IYJi~Jrt.,~lIng Story/text retellings
ent describes a picture or physical model made of i~v~~~:~j~ts retell stories or text selec-
anipulatives (such as Legos or Cuisinaire rods) uons!th~!~~,~ listened to or read. If you ask a
,student,tl?i,~~ ~of}'silently,however, you should
o the second student, who cannot see the first stu-
ent's picture or model. The ftrst student cannot first ensliretl,tat.th.c:~xtis at his or 'her reading
level.Othe~ •.this acti\'itybecomes an assess-
ee the second student's reconstruction and there-
ment of the,;;t;;dent'sreading skills in addition to
ore does not know how effective his or her
oral skills.It is especiallyimportant with retelling
escription is. In a basic form, information gap is
to be clear of thepurj>ose of the assessment.
ne-way,with the speaker describing and the lis-
Retelling can also be uSedto determine students'
ener reconstructing. In a variation, the listener
understanding of story structure; we address this
an ask questions of the speaker to clarifvunder-
purpose in Chapter 5.
tanding. Alternatively, the ftrst learner ~an
In retelling, choosingto read a stor\' or text oral-
escribe one of several pictures which are sirmlar
ly to students means that you will be a'ssessingboth
xcept for minor but important details. The sec-
listening comprehensio~ andspeaking'skills.--, '
ond learner does not kriowwhich picture the first
Retellings are appropriate for individual assess-
earner is describing and must r!,lyon the descrip-
ment of ~tudentsat the beginning and intermedi-
tion provided to determine which it is. Learners
ate levelsand require no preparation on the part
switch roles and repeat ,the task with a different
of the student. Languagefunctions most'likely' '
model. A useful reference with reproducible pic-
used in story/text retelling are deScribing. iiving
tures for such activities is Back and Forth: Pair activi-
information, and summarizing., ,~; ,,'
tiesfor Language Droelopment (Palmer, Rodgers, and
To prepare for the story or text retel1iiig,choose
Winn-Bell Olsen 1985).
a- story or text withwpichthe sU1dentis ••.•,,', familiar
In,another kind of information gap activity.the - -:~. - .•••••••. _.-"",.""", ,.- ;,'..:.<
and that is appropriate for the age,and glade-level.
goal is to find the difference between two pictures
of the student. For exaxnple,i[~lJhave,beenread-
which are similar but vary in a number of smaIl '
-ing folktales.inclass ~(a ~ie~tifitte~t 0;' h~w vol-
details. :me first learner describes the picture to -:1>"-' '''"~'_:'?,""": "-'~_' >_f;:~<": "'~""<--"_.-~"'~~'~ -'~ :...
canoes form;;~M~'l~'th~i~,to.J;eiid,31oud
the secorid learner. who respo'flcisby noting the • ".?EL,.-, •.~-..•.-._ F:,-:_
• ,.'1:: , . \<;;.,.1., .•..:••.- -.' -~"'- ,.,.-;. .. '.
",!

to students. S,U1lien~fill ~rc:a9c stories they


'differences in the picture. A good resource for this
kind of activityis LoOk Agnin Pictll;TeS (Wmn-BeII
themselves havewrittenottha~ teacher has ~e
written for theni.PJiUlonfeadhiga1oud approxi-
Olsen 1984). ,
In a third kiIid offurormation gap activity,listen- , matelysix t~!"~Jl~a%t?~"IHn,.~~d;iill1987).As ,
ers are given aseries OfuItotdered:pictures or car- ' with ,the o~~~~;aii1!i!~~,cues, be sure
that the p~e;yoiIlt:l.ve' selected does not con-
toon' strips\~liile tl>;~?;prni~~~elate a stnryabout •.•.. .,.","', _.-,1. -'_'F-.~.:.~"'•.' ,- .'

thesequencedpi!=~s, 1lt~~~peaker'stask isto tell ~VOCAb~a~"~!?R!;,t~~~:~e~turaUy-


,bIased

on.iii~own~llli!<;student.'You
,. ",-~.•.
~~,:k,",:iii"
••.
may'tape-
thesto~y well,~ri<i~~;~o~t¥~~~e~t.ener arrang~s , P ~. ~, -

record the ~tli~ent'~~~pmg for later ratlng or


the- senes of'pletures'mto'$J:}lppropriate
_. - • ",,"':'<':~," ." rateit~otY.Y afti:dhe student hasfutished.
sequence' (Brown.and YUle"Hl83):, - ... -':~.:!~';i.~t;:.-,-.".
..-. ~',

-,'~;i!~;r{> ORAL LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 83

~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~-
Figure 4.14 Oral Language Scorlng Rubric: Information Gap

Rating Demonstrated COmpetence

4 • Uses a variety of descriptive vocabulary and expressions


• Communicates effectively, almost always responding appropri-
ately and developing the interaction
. I .• Uses a variety of structures with only occasional grammatical
errors .. '

• SpeakS with lillie hesitation that.does not interlere with commu-


.-nicalion ..

3 • Uses a variety of descriptive vocabulary and expressions


• Communicates effectively, often responding appropriately and
developing the interaction
• Uses a variety of structures with more than occasional errors
• Speaks with some hesitation that does not interfere with com-
munication

2 • Uses some descriplive vocabulary and expressions


• Communicates acceptably although sometimes responding
inappropriately or inadequately or developing lillie interaction
• Uses a variety of structures with frequent errors or uses basic
,.
structures with only occasional errors
• Speaks with some hesitation that interferes with communication

1 • Uses basic vocabulary and expressions


• Communicates'marginally; mostly.responding inappropriately or
.. '.f
: • .inadequately ;
.
• Uses basic structures with frequent errors
• Speaks ~ much h"esitation that greatly interferes with com-
munication
,
o . ';;~'.- ,.'•....
-
.-c'''';"

. ... -
.

;:
, ....' by ESLtaaeher S. Copley (1994).
A from. rubric devefo
':,,~!~~jr"m!r~~;/,,:&;&~~~}~~l;''''
,
To conduct the story/te,,'t retelling, give clear Studenl5 i~teract follo"ing the directions on cue
irections to the student so that he or she under- cards prmided bv the,te;lCher(Gonzalez Pino
ds the nature of the taskand .h6\~'h';P~ishe will . 1988). For exam{ft~~lJ':':cardsmight instruct stu-
evaluated. Hthe student can read the text inde.!-,[: ..:",ldenl5 io'ask:for:.direcuonsto the public library
ndently. allowhim or her to read it silently.If the from th~schooI.StudenlS typicallyget no tim~A?
dent cannot read the text, then you can read Prepare What thevI are "-' l!oing to say.
'
..'.~_;;.~;~;.~:,l}~;-~\
),'"""• .":~J"'~" ..

oud the selected passage.Read the text clearly RolepliJy; assigndistinct roles to each ,st",d~Ii,~i~~:\
d at a n~ pac~,or ..p~record it on tape. '" and ask theuHo'speak through these TOles.Role:"
en ask the ,student to tellyou in his or her min plays tend to be more structured tha'" imprm;sa-
'ords what the stoty or text is about. Avoidthe lions but less scripted than plays.For example,one
uestion/arisWer format of the interview because it student ntight-:begiventhe TOleof an angry father
ads to increased teacher talk.The advantage of a awaitingtl.!~;!~.tereturn of his middle school son
tory/text retell lies in the potential for eliciting an from a fooihaii game; another student could be
xtended amount of talk from the student. given the r~le of the son. StUdentswould have to
To rate a story/text retelling, use a holistic or prepare a dialogue prior to making their presenta-
a1yticrating scale or checklistof oral language tions. '-'.:;;;::;.
_~
..
kills.Some essential criteria of a story retelling SimulationS provide a context or situation in
ay include, ~'ccUTa0in de,scribingthe setting, the which studenl5 need to interact in order to solve a
haracteTS,or a sequence of evenl5;range of problem or make a decision together. Simulations
-r .• ~
'ocabuliuy, and appropriate syntax (Brown and have also been referred to asjoint diseussitm/ deci-
ule 1983). Performance taskscan be graded by siclI.makingactivities (Cnderhill1987) and sociodra-
ifficulty along any of the above dimensions. That 7lW (Scarcella 1987). Sociodrama is a type of simu;

s, the more complicated the setting, the more sim- lation that involvesa solution to a social problem
lar or numerous the characters, or the more but allowsmore than one solution to be enacted
nvolved the sequence of e\'ents, the harder the and matches studenl5 to roles they can relate to
k will become. (Scarcella 1987). Studenl5are allowed time to pre-
pare their simulation and present it to the class. In
~~rovisationSJRole-PlayslSimulations an example taken from local news,students could
ram~t~chniques can be particularly effectivein be asked to take.the''Toleof residenl5, land devel-
eveloping oTalJanguage skillsof English lan- opers, and represeniatives of DisneyWoTldas they
ge learners. These activitiesare authe;'tic discuss the PTOS and eons ofbwlding a theme park
ecause they involve language use in interactive near a historif.iocafJandmark." .
ontexts.They provide,a format for using elemenl5 Use of dTaI1l3tihechniques is recommended for
f reai-life conversation, such as repetitions, inter- pairs orgm)f~~bI#delil5 atliU 'evels of pTOficien-
ptions, h~~itltions,"distra~ti6~, changes of cy and req~,some prepaiationon the part of
'opii)acial expressions, gestUl'es;andidiolecl5 studentS,"'SUfiihati(;fu, in parti~ar, may be most
(individuai variations<ltd~a1~t)(Forrest 1992).
appropnilf~~~;sf.~~I.~~~e~~~ca~
. th<:l"ih'iliefrwW~tilli,r.:n.dgd~grees of prepa- they callt6it~P$~oblem'so~m hyPOthetical:
, "tii,n,impri>vi~ti';ns,rol~l.ays,and simulations situations. F6rt,e'*Hl992)s~ests that iIDprovisa-
Vitesmdenci'to;speak throtighthe identity of - tions iri'pali\~triil>tepro(hictive than those in .
another and/<>~t"lose themSelvesin plol5and sit- groups:Be~~:()tthe wide range of topics that
~??~I~~~~:'~~'~P~~~u.t,?~out real~6nse- can be:a<!~~ugh'!he~techniques, the
queiii:es;:nrimiatic"activities:have,beenshown to ' , types of litiig;lf;ge;tWictionsthatmay be elicited
ed~ce ~~~;ij':lcfk~:~~#!!qil, and enhance .. will deperi~!6~r~e:~pic and the context. How-
'iuai~_'~cq~.!i?p:;(~ch~to 1988):'" , ever;ihipr~'b'dli;{role-plays,and simulations
'.JmJnVv!s~~~lfot~tiidents ,~ogenerate lan- lend1:he~1qUife well to the followingJan-
guage gIveri:aifoTa!or'Writtenrue'called a prorript. ,guage'fWl'8,~~:gI'~tingS/leave-takings. asking
."h .-v~::,. i,'..->.•.. ,~~ ," ..•... -:. '-~.'-':':'!.' ,'';-
T' - •
:. -
; ~•.._,.,~:
."", ~~
,'.

~",'F<:." -.
. ~ ,;';- ,~.'. ; :":;>.;,.;,...,. •.....-.
.- Y, .•..••• "':.., t: -; .. .
::- '.~'OR.-\L lANGUAGE ASSESSME?>oT.. 85.~..'
, .
,

;:~~~i<~~.i;f., - !~r-'-
". '-~;

.'
fot/giving
, .
information, requesting assistance,
agreeing/ disagreeing, giving or evaluating an

ing activitiesfor team building can be used as sim-
ulations. For example, "Survival in the Desert" pre- . ...
sents students with a scenario of a small plane
opfuion. giving advice, giving directions, suggest-
crash in a desert and asks them to decide whether
~g"persuading, and encouraging . to remain or leave the crash sile and to determine
..~T~prepare for using dramatic techniques, iden-
which are the most important items to salvage for
'cctifythe context and purpose for language use and
sunival (such as a flashlight, a topeoal, or a bottle
allow stUdents time to prepare for role-plays and
of salt tablets) (Kagan 1993). Audio and .ideo
simclations. All written directions for improvisa-
clips can also be used to prO\ide a context for sim.
tions, role-plays, or simulations should be at the
ulations, for example, a news clip related to a topic
,:S'i.+,:readinglevel of the students. For beginning stu- .
"'~!'" dents, you can limit the use oflanguage to accom- ofProvide interest to students,
students with a brief written description
.~:{J.:'plishing basic survival tasks such as asking for
of the context and task for a simulation. Let stu-
information or requesting assistance. For interme-
dents know that they will be evaluated on the qual-
diate level stUdents"you may want to engage stu-
ity of the interaction, not on the decision or con-
dents in agreeing/disagreeing or givinganopinJ!j I
."~' clusion reached. For example, Underhill (1987)
ion, advice, or directions. pecide whethentudents
suggeststelling students that they "ill be evaluated
will perform before the whole class orin pairs
based on the way they justify their opinions and
before you alone while the rest of the class works
evaluate'those of others, not just the way they
independently. express facts, There is typically no single right
Be sure students have had a number of opportu-
answer to a simulation. Some examples of the
nities to use oral language in dramatic activities
types of tasks that can be used "ith simulations are:
before these activities are used for assessment.
Gonzalez Pino (1988) suggests preparing five situa- • deciding whether or not to get into a car "ith a
tions per lesson for students to practice before they stranger
are assessed through improvisation. Situations or • choosing between working part-time and using
scenarios should relate to students' eyeryday lives, the time to study
such as having to work while going to sch~l, com- • deciding whether or not to report a crime one
municating with parents, or getting along'with oth- .
has witnessed
ers. For assessment, students'can be asked to per-
form one or more improvisations in pairs. To elicit • deciding whether or not to report a student for
enough oral language to assign a .rating,give.enough . using drugs
cues so that each speakerproduccSfroin fiveto seven .To rate improvisations; 'role-plays,or simulations,
u~ces. .~".'~ ,.;~~~~"~~~ '_:,t::'~; 1!~,,;i;~t~:.:;.,~
~
modify or.adaRt rubrics for oral language .to suit
TopiCSfor role-plays shoUld'be:takeh from stU-' the task and your students' level of proficiency. For
.. oJ' ,,",, ••..•. >1'._ ."" •

dents' cm:rent in~rests and~antidpated experi-' " example,.assessment may include language func-
...ences (Donahue 'ahd ,Pafiijji;) 982) ;"PosSibletop- tions, viK:aill.iliiry,
grammar, discourse.strategies, .
:;or.-";;'- ~J." '. ~ ~ >0-~:~iZ" -~- :'-~--" .'
>' .• :.:\ . ,..:,
..
lies may include discusSing'llgradewith a teacher,' clarity of facts'.presented, and nonverbalgesmres if
~~~refusing an invitatiOlj.,'Of:'~g a misunder- ,.these have.aIl been part of class instruction. In any
<, s~ding:Advanced beghifil;rs can also p:U-ticipate task'of !hi'nature, some.students may.tend to talk
• ',~in mle-play through the:~~f Cue cards with - more than others. Youcan allowfor this in your rat-
-'"""~~"l!I;;" _:','"-,,.- .." _~"-';,<,, .
' ,". _ .. ." ~
- '.- :
..'.cGniplete.linesfot"~>tole.Forinterihediate' •. ...ingby giviJ.1g credit for both qUantityand 'quality of
'-a)~~d~d;;:~;~i;t.rds clnbe Used': tallt:vide6taping drainatic presentations ~ an excel-
''''di'deScribe sitiiarlongan:dcall for ~reation of .Jent'w:lY~;gt:kstudents to do self-assessmentof

~;~~I~;~!~:~~;';:~~n
...
.~~cl(th~iO'iriteractin
" ':their penoifuiince as w:~iias roget peedeedback.

order. to' .
..... : .:,", -h.:,.f"~,f" .',
Onil~~~: Students may occasieinaIlybe
.. :i:i ". .- - .
.. called 'UpOniopresent a research or other project
.~~'d~6n"orcoilclfuiori;-COoperatiVe l~am-
_,.\'1:"~&':...
•..,i,':.~' . '-5 __.~. _ ...•. {" '
- ~",
"-"'J~_ ~,,:" -,':- ••" '-:-'

.OR ENGUSII LANGUAGE LEARNERS .


~.;,.-, .'"", """
",r .
I

4
,~i,ti,;~~' i':J/;::'i{,; '.-~_;
.,.'" ,.. ,:'. :, .•
, ' "~);~"'~"

in the form of an oral report. Oral reports offer a time allows, the teacher may want to critique the
real-life listening comprehension opP<;>,rtlmity recorded version using,a scoring rubric before the
-~,Ir~"';)(, j) •• _, •
~l"~~

'hich can provide new and interesting inform a: student's acniliJpresentalJon, Dunng the oral report,
tion to the listeners (Meloni and Thompson 19$0).' the teacllehiiay either record the presentation for
Oral reports can be used to develop the public later rating or assign a rating immediately upon
speaking skills of the speaker as well as to prO\ide completion of the report,
practice to listeners in asking questions, agreeing To rate the oral report. begin with a rating scale
and disagreeing, discussing, taking notes, and lis- or holistic rubric that reflects the major focus of
tening for specific purposes. Because of this, they instruction and revise it based on students' actual
caJ}be used to prepare students, to participate in performance, For example. if you have provided
grade-level content classes where they may be students with ample time, guidance. resources for
required to give oral reports; diScuss issues. and content .md preparation, organization guidelines,
take notes on lectures and discussions. and presentation techniques (such as eye contact),
An oral report is presented not by reading aloud these shoUld be included in the assessment crite-
but,,?y referring to notes or cue cards created by ria. Since :the primary function of an oral report is
the; ~tudent. Oral reports require thorough prepa- to convey information, pronunciation and gram-
ration by s~~ents and can be designed at all levels mar should count only inasmuch as they detract
of.proficieney.1f research is reqtiired, oral reports from this function, An example of a self-assessment
may be more appropriate for intermediate and format for an oral report is provided in Figure 4.15,
a<!~'fillcedlevels of proficiency. Students at begin- YOumight also want to provide peers With listen-
ning levels of proficiency can make oral reports ing reaction forms based on the scoring rubric.
usillg realia or describing objects, posters, displ~'S, For example, questions such as What was the main
or other support materials. idea of this report? and How can the speaker imprllVe the
To prepare students for an oral report, give them report? can provide effective feedback to the speak-
guidelines on how long to speak, how to choose er but should not in any way contribute to the
topics, what areas to address on a topic, and how overall rating or grade received by the student
their report ,viII be evaluated. This can include a (Meloni and Thompson 1980),
demonstration in which you conduct a mini-lee-
.ture and discuss the scoring rubric to be used for Debates Debates can present opportunities 'for
evaluation. The content of the report will necessar- students to .engage in usin~ extended chunks of
i1y"berelated to a topic students in your class may language for a purpose: to convincingly defend
be researching, a project they are creating. or a one side of an issue. A debate is a type of role-play
'itPlc of personal interest. . where stUdents are asked to take sides on an issue
To present an orai repoh,:students must,prepare and ,defc;nd th~irpositions. Th.e debate is probably
"..' . more often used in content area clasSrooms than
in 'advance. Each student should be prepared to
,sjH!';ikfor about five -to ten minutes. To assess all in ESL classrooms. Debates are most appropriate
snfdents irtone~i-I~std11ljriga 6ne- or twcrweek , for!'}termediate and advanced leamers,who have .: ..
peri~d, you c9uldl:ilic~ne'.orseveral students to been guided in how to prepare for them,Debates'':;': ..'
repbrt eacllifuy_ MeloniahdTi,,)mpson (1980) require extensive preparation bylear~ers, call for' .
. .•.•. _' .,~ "';' . interae-tion in groups, and make use of at least the
suggest giving'studentli'a':lY<>rkSheetto complete in
,pr~prtioJl f?r th~!:: ?,~ix;1port. Th~ worksheet following language functions: describ.ing, explain-
,'.can ask'students:t<>:ptllYiiie;J.nformanoil such as . _, . ing, giving and asking for info~ati~~, ~ding,
• ,",-, - ..,," ..•••• ,ur- ...:':';1'--~o;..'-"
;l'f~.~~~-':,.;io<~. . '" agreeing, and di~OTeeing.~'_~1.' •..•..~.~.-A'.'""'T~"~- ~.',-~;,
.the' tide ofthl': oralrepoIi;~ari'<i~lline of main and ~...,- ". :
sup~rtinr .•deas,~"aiid'~ralci)w.prehension .To prepare students for th~ll~bate;'teacheJ:s
l"lueslioilil fo~~-al"~rtii:~lteacher provides' need to make sure ,that stud~p-~eav~ ."ec;n given ;' -',
feedback or;,'tl..e~~e1l!lliia~butline,~dei1tl!i all the necessary resources andirifopnation in <';

, can tape-record ili~r:'i;~~pi;~in a chart fon"n.1f '.orde~.t~ research and pr~senr~eu:sid~ of the'

'.:;
. ,.
;.~.~)~.~'i
. ,,~lk~~]'~
":7;~::~1i"~::;~P )";,:;";".
l'n:.';.:~'~~7~i~~;;~::~;
.
. .:';: .." ."""'~..,r'-'
,",~>j;.'>~ib-~?r.,0f~;:':,-
. ,. .~'''-''',. .,~.n\~,.i\?'.,.
".\' '. ASSESs 87 •
ORAL_~<>'U1~~Y,mNr.j
~.,-~,';;'
Figure 4.15 Self-Assessment for an Oral Report

Name

Check (~) the box that best'oescribes"y'our oral rebort. Add comrnents.

Activity
- Aiways Sometimes Rarely Comments,

1. I researched, outlined, and


- ,
.,
prnr;Iir.p.d riN .~rnlr('lpcnt.
, ... __ __ .
._ ... _ ...
.. ,
. '
\

2. I spoke slowly and clearly.



,
3 I glanced at my notes while I
talking.

:",4.I used gestures to t,elp


•__ -=-~ress me~~~ing~ .'
l-
._.' _
I
1
--_._--~-

5. I used my face to express


feelings. _1"
_
...
_--+--
6. I answered questions on
my report.

7. I summarized the main points.

8, I gave details to support my


main points.

Adaptod Itom Clommons Ell81. \ W93).'

• C Addison.WesloV. AlII1lRllfic Assessment for English Language Learners. O'MalleyNaldez PierCe. This page may be reproduced for classroom use.
1=============5:;=;==:==""",=, 'o==.:=.~' -----

ue. For example, students in a history class sible so as not to intimidate students, A.lternatively,
ight be asked to take the roles offainous histori- we know some l~acheh\~hO prefer to explain scor-
al figures from different points in history to ' ing rubrics to students and be quite explicit about
ebate a current topic Richard.Amato (1988) ,mg- what they ar~ looking for during obsen-ations. You
ests putting the character of Henry VIII in a should'use an approach both you and your stu.
ebate on divorce or Joan of Arc on a panel of dentsare comfortable with. For pairs of students,
'omen's issues, To prepare, students would have you willneed to be extra careful to match students
o become thoroughly familiar with each of these of similar proficiency levelsand compatible per-
haracter's perspectives on the issue addressed. sonalities SO that one does not dominate the other i
To rate student performance on debates, decide (Hughes 1989; Undemi111987). ""ben assessing
hether to rate students as a team, as indi.iduals, small groups of three or four students at a time,
r both. In either case, you "ill need to use a rat- you will have an opportunity to assessauthentic
ng scale or checklist to evaluate their perfor- language in action because learners tend to be less
ances with regard to specific criteria. As with all inhibited and more spontaneous in their speech
ther approaches to oral language assessment, stu. when interacting with peers (Undemill 1987).
ents should not only have been introduced to the Structured cooperative learning tasks, which pro-
riteria before engaging in the debate, they should vide for positive interdependence and indi.idttal
so have hee'fl'given the opportunity to actually accountability, will increase the chances of every
bserve a debate (perhaps a video) and rate it student getting a chance to speak (Kagan 1993), A
lCcording to the specified criteria. group assessment checkiist can be used to rate stu-
dents simultaneously. Groups can be assessed on
ECORDING TEACHER OBSERVATIONS
the group process, such as participation, and on
accuracy in accomplishing a task.
n the previous section we described the potential
To increase the reliability of your assessment, use
of specific instructional acti.ities for assess-
a rating scale or checklist 'and attempt to engage
ent. In each case we suggested using criteria to
other teachers in your assessment through a pro-
valuate student performance. In this section we gram of inter-rater training. This will help make
isCussthe importance of documenting teacher
your own ratings more accurate: Although you
bservations by using rating scales, rubrics, or
may be tempted to compare'stua~ts io one anoth-
ecklists or by keeping anecdotal records, er or to give students higher :ratings based on their
eacher Observation Teachers are not perceived level of effort, we strongly :encourage
trangers to assessment by observation. What may you to limit your ratings to the criteria on the scor-
relatively new, however, is documenting the ing rubric in order to maintain'th~ reliability and
•. '~f\"~W"'-'" ~,,~',-__-.;-*-
:.-.,' .'"._",',
suIts of observations for assessm,entpurposes. validityof your assessmerivJEo@i.:""Stuaeilt~s',perlor-
Documentation can take the form of checklists, mance should be matched to specified a:iterion
rubrics, rating scales, or ariecdotal records and can levels.These levels can qe d!=tc;!W-iJ1,~by'examin-
be done on an individual basis, in pairs, or in ':' ing the charaCteristic:s_01i:~@~!~i1;~,::;!];~':';' '
groups. The basic differeii.ce'between checklists guage proficiency.>: ,:"i,,;;',.,,\~~'.:;:'l':<~:.
and rating scales is that whereas checklists only L _'~'~;;.~~~Ji.:iAf~
. -:'::..,:,_
.' "
Anecdotal Records .TeacbersWlio prerer.~.,
allow rioting the presence or absence of a particu- keep written notes on their hbSe~olts;iiiay 'want
lar feature, rubrics
". .
or rating scales allow for
--r' -.. ~.' .-•.:.'.' .•••. _ .••. _. ,
doeu- - to use anecdotal re'cordi'fAtfc:-arotal~i1rtds'have
menting the,degref; ofnrn.l language proficiency been most tvnically&bi11a~p~;~:~~i-.
~Jr .: ""l:~ ".,."'!'> -s.: ..•.
""...:-:..•
exhibited by,providing a'i-angeof performance lev- ,<If"- ••_._,
•.••.•.

els. AnecdoW recoTcls'anowfor ni6re qualitative acy in the elem.~~ta.P':~~~~:l~l~Jir,1't;~ . ','


'''-', ,: ._.:,.. ..~~.:, .•. ~
....•,~ •.-~.. ~ ...."'... . Nathenson-Mejla 1992) .Ajj~C4o~ab'e~x~~OOOlU1St'h
descriptions of stuc:iei!\performance.' " of brief notes made ~li~ttW~~~~,~~ffi;;i'
, When observing iiid;'Viduals;try to use checklists •.•."'%f,,-, , ~ .•""~';'" J ,

observed making progre,ss'm.,}l~ '9".~\';HJi'_,:~ers ~ 7,-,'


or rating sCalesin as unobtrusive amanner as pos- . -~ "/If ••.•t':llIH_";,.'.'(;..~"''''~;,X)U':\l,.!;:''tIt,,,l.-;;;.,.,._~._~'i
. ':'-\'!~.-',."~":.<'--.-- .";'''' -::','"';<-~:,:;'-- ".-:\i--'
;t ". __.~'.'.

_ .. :.~'::"!~\'. :~~~~~f:t
" ORAU:ANGUAGEASSESSMEN1-,89
, i:1~~
:~~t;:.:~ .-.<. ~
have told us that they keep anecdotal records on 1992), Far example, patterns of oral languageuse
yellow sticky notes or an adhesive labelsthat they from the native language to Ellglish can be dOell'
later organize by individual student names. Other mented in differelll contexts as can use af arallan-
waysto organize anecdotal recards are bykeeping gtiage in group and whale classacti\ities. Make
a noteboak with a section on each student, keep- time ta analyze anecdotal recards during planning
ing file folders or file cards far each .smdent,and periads and meetings with other teachers.
using computer files (Hill and Ruptic 1994). By Anecdotal recardsprO\ide appartunities ta cor-
selecting a few students ta abserve each week,it is robarate infarmation obtained using a checklist'01'
possible to maintain anecdatal records an all stu. , rating scale through descriptians of specificstu- '
dents in a class at least twicein a marking periad. 'dent performance. The infarmatian abtained
A necessary prerequisite ta keeping anecdatal from anecdatal recards can be used nat anly ta
records is the establishment of a classroomenvi. infarm instructian and assessmentbut also ta cam.
ronment that allaws teachers.the time.la recard' municate"ith'sttldents and their parents on how
their abservations. Such a classroomencaurages students are daing. It can a1saprO\ide feedbackta
student independence and.respon~jBiiitYana}f,~es'.',:the!teacher,on'theeffec~velJessaf teaching mate.
the teacherta'spend time with indiVidualsar. ' -' • rials and ".:tivities.
groups as needed.
One af the advantages afusing anecdotal' c'ORAL~LANGU-AGE PORTFOLIOS'
records is that they can provide the tea,cherwith a Althaugh much has been written on UsingP9rtfo-
history of the process through which the learner'~ . ' andwriting. there is,inu-
lias far,assess,ingre~ding
oral language skills have evolved.This includes ' .
allyna published infa'rmatian on their use in
documenting the _ student's use oflistening and ' oral language develapment in nativeor ",
assessing'
learning strategies. The apen-ended nature of secand langu"ges. The reasans fa'r using'portfalios
anecdotal records may make them particularly ta assess~ral ianguage'are the same as those far
appropriate for use with yaung children. Anecdo- " '. "assessinglite'racy,the\'.prO\idecantinuaus
. infar-
tal records allow th~ teacher ta determine what •. ,
malian an stude;ll grawth aver time: they are
information is important to recard in a specificsit. authentic in that,they are directly linked to class-
uation, gil'en a student's strengths and needs in roam instructian; they are multidimensianal
relation to instructianal goals. .
.because:theyprO\ide infarmation an different
Ta write anecdatal records, you need ta follow
three steps (Thorndike and Hagen 1977) : aspectsof student language praficiency; and they
calHar student reflectian in the farm af,self-assess
. 1. Describe:a'specificevent:ar.product.' .,..' •..•:",••menUI'o.get . started'using.aralJ;mguage partfo-
2, Report rather than evaluateor interpret. -lias,-'seeChapter 3. where-weintroduce a seven-
.. 3. Relate the material ta ather facts knawn about .'step processfar implementing partfolios.
the student. H
Providing an example afthe student's'warkis . ,Using Ora1 Language.AsSessment .
preferable to making a general conclusion about in Instruction
it. Rhodes and Nathensan.Mejia (1992) suggest :~,
that it is acceptable ta evaluateor interpret a stu..
. dent'swark by commenting ~mthe student's needs., ..' ,,',,O'cn e"orall anguage as.sessmenre
. t sui"~' ar
.' e available
.'
and recommending instructianal activities. " teachersneedto,\n~e decisians regarding grades.
Ta analyze anecdotal r,ecords,.yollwillneed ta , -; ."placement;'an~)riiodificationsin instrUction.With
make inferences from your observa.tions,loak far regard to grading,we referyou to'Chapter 2 for sug
patterns of growth for individuals,groups, and the gestionson how toconvert'perfarmance ratings .
. strengtli"sand needs in learnillg c III
class, and identify' . ta gra
.. des. Bec!'S"
a IacaI gradin'g po Ii'aes vary
,
and teaching (Rhodes and Nathenson.Mejia '. 'from teacher to te'acherand school to school, teach

90 .AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

.. 1~
ers "ill need to be guided by feedback obtained ing assessment;'Fi~'a1I\';"we
" _.t ....• ,- - , ,~...
described

ways",sess-
. -. . ; .', ':-,. ,>-,:'\~- .
from colleagues and by trial and error in asSlgl1111g'~ ment resuWrtan be used fOl:j'i,stntCliOIl.
grades. With regard to placement, local program In assessing the oral language of English lan-,'
guidelines c.m prmide specific implications relating guage learnerS;teachers should keep in mind the
to different levels of language proficiency. In lieu of following points:., '
these, teachers can work "ith colleagues to deter- I. Activities f~r ~ing or~llanguage should
.
mine what st~dent performance levels imply for
' , come from instructional activities,
curriculum and instruction,
2. Assessment of oral language, like instru~tion,
For makinKdecisions at the classroom leveL
requires planning, time, and experience .."
results of o"!1.hmguage asseSSI)lent can be used in , . '
several ways: f~; adaptingiristruction to student 3. Assessme:nt actiyities should be appropriate\o
needs, fcir grouping students, and for communicat- students' leV~i~p'forallanguage proficiency.
ing progress to students and parents. In the class- 4. Assessment of oral language should focus on
room, if students are not d<;monstrating the ability both communiciuive and academic language
to apply what has been presented through instruc- functions. " ..,~ -.,;

tion; teachers might want to review and revise their 5. Authentic aSte~~ent of oral language should
instructional,acti\ities and goals. lf several students focus on a student's ability to interpret and con-
are found H) share the same need in oral language veymean~ng in interactive contexts which are as
(using lang;.lage"to give specific descriptions, for authentic as possible.
example) they can be grpuped together for
6. Assessment of oral language should be conduct-
instruction on this area. For students whose oral
"ed regularly and be ongoing.
language, while comprehensible, reflects pronun-
ciation that ilnpairs effective communication or is 7, Students should be actively invoh'ed in their
a cause for potential embarrassment or ridicule own assessment, whether in setting criteria,
from other students, teachers can provide indi\id- engaging in self-assessment. or eValuating peers.
ual assistance (Carruthers 1987). Parents should 8. Teacher observations of oral language use
be informed of assessment results, especially if stu- should be'recorded svstematicalh'. '
• . '....:._~'- • i

dents appear to be making1ittIe or no progress.


9. Results of'6;"} l~guage assessment should be
used to inform students, parents, and teachers
of Iieeded changes in student performance and
Conclusion in instruction ..
. "'.-' _.
In this chapteri~e described the nature of oral lan-
guage; with a specific focus on oral language in
s«hool, and implications 'for the assessment of
English language learners. We 'emphasized the
need to b~e assessment of oral language in instruc-
tion and provided examples of how to use specific
,instrnctional activities for assessment. We pro-
,posed steps for assessing oral language as well as
, guidelines for developing performance tasks and
scoring rubritsi'setting standards, involving stu-
dents in self-'and peer ass<;ssment, selecting assess-
ment activities. and recording teacher observa-
, ,tions. We a1so'made Suggestions for developing . ':".!.''.

, and ~sing oral language portfolios as part,of ongo-

ORAL [A'\GUAGE ,.\SSE5S~IDIT 91

1.- • • _ ~ '.
.'
I. Identify three examples of communicative and
academic language used in an ESL/bilingUal
classrqom. Give examples of both ora! and writ-,
ten language. Do the same for at least one', ,
grade-level classroom forthe studen~ you teach;,
or are planning to teach. '," '.-;,
•. ~ '
,'.' ~>.
2:'Classify~e ~xamplesof communic~tiv~an'd,ac~-
demic}anguage which you have ide;';tifiedIn'an
. ,
ESL/bilinguai classroom. ClassifYthe i~guage
functions in the classroom of a grade-level
teacher and compare the two.'UseFigures.'4.\ Ii;
',"
and 4.2 to assist in your classification.\\'ha.t'coric'
clusions can you reach from the comparison,?
,- :",
3. With a partner, discuss whether your-schdoldi;. , '

trict assesses the o~ language proficiency of ,


ELL students. How do they do this? What use l' "
can you make of this information for instruc-;
cion, if any?
4. With a partner who works or expec~ to'work at
the same grade level, plan a process to issess
oral language proficiency. \"!hat lan~ge func-
tions do vou want to assess?Will vou assesSstu-
I I . . .

dents indhidually, in pairs, or in small groups?


\\'hat t}pe of rating scale or rubric do you wam
to use? \\'hen and how often Willvou assess~tu-'
dents? Use Figures 4.3 and 4.4 to 'help you'plan'.
5. 'Work with another teacher-to 'develop 'a scoring
rubric for an orailanguage.inierView.' Use the"
oral language scoring rubrics in Figure~4.4 and
4.5 as examples. How many levels do you want.
". ~'~!
on the rubric? How is each level defined? \\'hat
,standard of performance doyou want your stu-
dents to attain on this rubric?
6. Identify an oral language actiVity,such ~ role-
play or simulation, appropriate for the studentS
,you teach or expect to teach. Develop a,rating I
',' scale for self-assessment and peerasse'ssment of.
oral language proficiency. Use the examples in
Figures 4.6 through 4.10. ' '
'{1~"" ~
-, ' 7. pia'n portfolio entnes for oral language assess-,
-~~"
::.:: :~ ment based on your instructional goals. Share
, them with a partner.
~:;:.:
, ,\ ,
',.' .

;;..~. .+.';.",;,\,..~::<.-~:
, Au-rHENTIC
.. '.
ASSESSMEJ-.'T FOR ENGLISH lANGUAGE LEARNERS
-
READING
ASSESSMENT
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • •• • • • • •••••• •

In this chapter we identify and describe practical students in self-aIlil peer assesslllent, developing
approaches to the authentic assessment of reading. scoring rubrics and procedures, and setting stan-
We begin by examining the nature of reading and dards. We elaborate on a number of instructional
the relationship between reading in the first lan- activitiesfor reading that ~an be particularly useful
guage and reading in a second language: This is for assessmenLSample assessment formats are pro-
followed by a description of new directions in read- vided as models for teachers to adapt for their own
ing instru'ction with implications for assessmenL and their students' needs. Finally,we suggest ways
We then provide step-by-step procedures for assess- for documenting teacher observations of reading,
ing reading with English language learners(ELLs), developing reading/writing portfolios, and using
including identifying the purpose of reading reading assessment results for instruction:
assessments, planning for assessment, involving

READING ASSESSMENT 93
l
I ~ature of Reading in School guage. Thase who. do. ha\'e nati\'e language literal
skills may nat knaw haw to.transfer their skillsto
• • • • • the secand language withaut specific str<ltegy
instruction_ No.empirical e,idence exist, to ,hal\'
REAmNG INTHE NATIVE LANGUAGE that readers do. in fact transfer reading strategies
~~~-'
,_. Allhoughreading was ance assumed to.be a cambi- automatically fram their first to.a secand langua
','''', nation at decading and arallanguage, it is naw (Grabe 1988; McLead and McLaughlin 1986).
acknowledged that reading camprehensian de- Anather difference between first and secand lal
-~1i?;~;:
~:e.-:l,.,
pends.heavilyan knawledge abaut the warld as well guage reading is that second language readers m;
••• J

..•..•.
, ,,"co' •
as an knawledge af language and print (Fielding. have.mare.varied levels af backgraund knawledge
and Pearson 1994):-ln additian to.producin,gliteral and,educatianal experiences (Peregayand Bayle
camprehensian, reading entails making inferences 1993). Students with a limited range afpersanal ~
and evaluating what is read. Readers canstructnew educatianal experiences an a reading tapic will
knawledge fram the interactian between texts arid have little to draw an in canstructing meaning
their O\m backgraund knawledge. We alSo.knaw from text. In fact. the biggest single challenge to.
that reading-and writing are mutually suppartive". .•teachers afEL:L -readers-may be the range af edu-
language processes; reading activities-mayha\'e as catianal experiences presented by their students
great an effect an "Titing perfarmance -asdaes (Chamat and O'MaIlev 1994b).

j
,
direct instructian in grammar and mechanics
(Farnan, Flaad, and Lapp 1994). " Models af Reading Thearies afreading in a
~cand language ha\'e changed sii1Cethe mid-
19iOs from exclusively battom-up madels to.mad
READING IN A SECOND LANGUAGE
els that descrihe reading as an interaction betweel
Reading processes in a secand langllage .are similar battam-up and tap-dawn processes (Carrell.
to.thase acquired in the first language in that they De\ine, and Eskev 1988; Grahe 1988;Samuels and
call for knawledge af saund/S)mbal relatianships, KamiI1988). Bottom-up models refer to.the decod-
syntax, grammar, and semantics to predict ~nd ing.af indi\iduallinguistic units an the printed
canfirm meaning (Pe,:egay and Bayle 1993)_As page, warking ane's wayup from smaller to Iarger
they do. in their first language, second language. units to.obtain meaning and to.madifjl ane's prial
i

readers use their backgraund knawledge regard- knawledge (Carrell 1988) _ Top-duwll mudels begin
ing the tapic, text structure, their knawledge af "ith the reader's hypatheses and predictians abOl
the world, and their knawledge of print to.interact the text andhi's ar her attempts to.canfirm them
with !he printed page and to.make predictians bywarking dawn_to..the smallest units af ti,e print-
abaut it. ed text.'_Readers weak in ane reading strategy
Twa important differences between -firstand sec-'- might rely an ather-pracesses to compensate far
and language reading can be faund in the lan~, . this weakness (Stanavich 1980).
guage proficiency and experiences af the students. Far second language learners, tap-da\m madels
; - Students reading in a'second language have varied do.nat appear to.fit the pracess
- .
af reading in the
j levels aflanguage proficiency in !hat language. second language unless the learners are already
The secand language learner may be in !he pro- proficient readers (Eskey 1988). The limitatian af
.1 cess afacquiring arallanguage while alSo.develap- tap-dawn madels is that they emphasize higher-
ing literacy skills in English. Limited proficiency in levelskills, such as predicting meaning with con-
a secand language maycause a reader literate in textual clues 0.1' backgraund knawledge; at the
the native language to.'shart circuit" and revert to. expense aflawer-level skills.such:asrapid and aCCl
paar reader strategies (such as reading ward by rate identificatian af vacabulary and syntactical
ward) (Clarke 1988). Also, students may nat have farms. In contrast, interactive madels suggest !hat
!he native language literacy skills to.transfer can- fluent reading camprehensian depends an mas-
cepts 0.1' strategies about readirig to. the secand lan- teryaf grammar. and a large vacabulary, and !hat

94- - AiJi:HENfIc
.
\
ASsESSMI:NT FOR ENGliSH lANGUAGE LEARNERS
.\t, .'
u(omatic word recognition is even n~oreinlpor- nents below and~c_l""-;~,
follO\o\ith
..,,,!'>'o.j*,,~"t-
an update on the
ant than the use of context clues. n;e\eader" phoni<:s'Vc!fsf,~\;.ii;;leJaliil,~g,\:debate. .
eeds to accesS lower-level skills, such as word Spending time reading in cla....s is important
ecognition and knowledge of cohesive de\~ces because students benefit from the time to apply.
d syntax, in order to read with automaticity reading skills and strategies and also because .time
Grabe 1988). In fact, research e\~dence suggests spent reading results in acquisition of new knowl-
hat poor r",,,ders can use the context but have not edge (Fielding and pearson 1994). In turn,knowJ-
'et acquired"automatic decoding skills (Eskey and edge aids comprehension. \ncabulary acquisition.
rabe 1988(Jnteractive models of reading are and concept formation. Research has shown a con-
roposed rotSecond language learners to give bal- . sistent positive and mutually supportive relation-
nced empl1asis to these top-down and bottom-up .shipl.etween.prior knowledge and reading
rocesses. In these models, the term interactive has :comprehenSion. However, providing time for sus-
hree meanings: (1) the interaction between the tained silent reading is not enough. To improve
eader and the text, (2) the interplay between reading comprehension, teachers must: (1) pro-
ower- and higher-level reading processes (decod- wde a choice of reading selections, (2) ensure that
ng and using prior knowledge), and (3) the rela- students are reading texts of optimal difficulty
'onship betlveen form (text structure) and function which challenge but do not discourage them, (3)
genre) in texts (Grabe 1988). encourage rereading of texts, and (4) allow stu-
For second language learners, because word dents to discuss what thev read \\;th others to en-
"leanings are context-sensitive, reading compre- courage social negotiation of meaning.
hension depends on specific examples in memory One of the more important findings to emerge
well as on abstract and general schemata from research on- reading ~instruction over the last
Anderson and Pearson 1988). Schemata refer to fifteen years is that reading comprehension can be
'nowledge already stored in memory, while abstract increased by teaching comprehension strategies
nd general schemata refer to distinctive features directly (Fielding and Pearson 1994). Many read-
at make up generic categories, such as bird, bach. ing strategies can be taught directly, including:
lor, and door. Readers' background knowledge is using background kno\,Iedge to make inferences;
. flen culture-bound arid may not match the finding the main idea: identif)ing sources of infor-
hemata needed for a given reading text. Reading mation needed to answer a question; and using
struction needs to acknowledge the life experi- story or text structure to aid comprehension. The
nce~ ~4 cpltural assumptionsiliat second lan- most promising result of the comprehension strat-
. age learners bring to schoo1(Au 1993). Reading egy research is that instruction is especially effec-
kills shoul.ik,therefore,be ta'.lg~f,in.the colltext of .tive \\;th "poor comprehenders." In fact, Fielding
eading and.\vriting actiwties that build on stu- and Pearson found that:
ents' prior'knowledge and exPerience. . In some studies, less able readers who had been
': . - '_;J-
" ..-, . ~ taught a comprehension strategy were indistin-
WHAT WORKS IN FiEiDiN~:iNsTRUCTION gUishable from more able readers who had not
..• ;c;>
been taught the strategy directly. (p._65)
In addition to hawng n~w kpc)",I~<lgeabout the
reading process, we also knowwhal works in read- In addition to class time for reading and direct
ing instruction. In particular, reading programs strategy instruction, peer and collaborative learn-
haWngthe following fcm(~~ijf~~.~nts can. lead to . ing also contribute to reading acquisition ,
student success: (1) extensiveimiounts oftime in (Fielding and Pearson 1994). By working collabo-
class for r€:i'dlng, (2). direet'stra.~ instruction in ralively, students gain access to each other's think-
reading comprehensiorirH)"8p~rniriities for col- ing processes and teach one another effective'
labOration; and (4) opporfunlties.f0r discussions reading strategies. In particular, cooperative learnc
on responses to reading.(FieldiIlg,and Pearson ing and reciprocal teaching, when implemented
1994). We briefly discuss each of these compo- correctly, appear to promote reading comprehen-

~WING ASSESSMENT 95
• ics in a meaningful context. Wbether teaching
sian. (See the discussion below on reciprocal
word skills and phoneJnic awarene:-:,through
teaching.) These approaches acknowledge the
direct phonics instruction is IllOfe tH"less effective
social nature of learning and the role of the reader
than learning these skills through reading authen-
as a negotiator of meaning.
tic texts remains unclear. \\'bat is clear. howe\'er, is
Traditionally, teachers hall: led discussions of
that low-achie\ing readers in Engli,h (and this
reading texts by posing a question for student
probabl~ inCludes most students in need of lan-
response and then evaluating that response. How-
guage su'pport programs) have 1'1'i[a11)'been pro-
ever, current trendS in reading instruction indicate'
,ided "ith phonics, instruction and basic ,kills
a move away from primarily teacher-directed dis.:
instead ofa~thentic -reading texts. hisalso highly
cussions to student-driven discussions, a1lo"ing for'
, probable that students who are poor readers in
acceptance of personal interpretations and reac" ,
first grade mil still be poor readers in fourth
tions to literature (Fielding and Pearson 1994).
grade. Perhaps for these reasons, Pearson suggests
These discussions are most effective when they
Jutur~research on reading Jocus on the reading
incorporate reading ,strategy instruction. Changing'l
acquisition of at-ri'sk students, reasons'whv some
teacher Istudent interaction patterns is challenging,
students fail and others succeed in both student-
however, since II13IlY teachers feel the need to main-
centered and ~urricllh.im-based approaches to
tain control while also .covering" the curriculum. ,
readjng,. and how linguistic and cultural conflicts
Similar to reading programs for native speakers:'
of English. reading instruction for English Ian: relate to reading failure.
guage learners should include at least five impor- ' Reading in the Content Areas Students read
tant components: a large quantity of reading; time' for many' purposes. One of the mosr important of
in class for reading; appropriate materials that , these is reading to learn in the coment .areas.
encourage students to read; direct teaching of Vl'benmO\ing from literature or tr~de books to
reading strategies; and a teacher skilled in match- content area texts. the purpose of reading changes
ing materials and reading strategies to the stu- from learning to read to reading to obtain infor-
dents' level of interest and language proficien(\' . mation, Both the content and organization of the
(De\ine 1988; Eskey and Grabe 1988). Such pro- text are likely to be new to readers. This shift
grams result in improved reading ability only when occurs in the middle grades, but it is highly unlike-
approaches to reading are holistic or integrati\'e ' ly that teachers in middle grades or high school
. ,~

rather than skills-based, and when teacher feed- '\\iU'familiarizestudents "ith the reading strategies
back is a'Core'e1ement,:-1n addition; reading , '. needed for :nialUng sense of content area texts
instruction for English language learners should ' '. (Alvermann and Phelps. 19901;Lapp,j100d, and.
tap students' prior knowledge and experiences, I
Farnan 1989),
focus on comprehension of meaning while teach-~ ,I For English language learners, it is important to
ing skills ,in context, teach text organization, and : make content area topics relevant by invohing stu-
allow for collaborative discussions of reading. dents in how they learn and by pro~iding opportu-
nities for them to negotiate meaning through both
Whole Language and Phonics With regard to
oral and written langUage (Peregoy and Boyle. I
the long-standing debate between advocates of
1993). By their very nature, content area texts pos~
whole language and phonics-based approaches to
spedal chaUenges to second language learners, !
teaching reading, there is evidence that phonemic
Among these are: .schema activation, text strue::-
awareness is a necessary but not sufficient condi-
ture;and'active use of'reading and.1earning strate-
tion for becoming an efficient reader (Pearson'
gies (Alvermann and Phelps 1994; Lapp, Flood,
1993). Skills are useful only to the extent that they
and Farnan 1989; Peregoy and Bode 1993; Vacca
.can be strategically applied to an 'authentic read-
ing context" (Routman 1994, p. 298). Routman and Vacca 1993),
Schema activation is the process by which students
points out that it is no longer a question of whether
access prior knowledge and match it to informa-
phonics should be taught but how to teach phon-

. 96 AUTHENTIC_-.s5LSSMENT FOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARI,ERS


.~\?r:~;."'.. , ';: .
t.~~.[;~:.\rh~,,~
~~i.'lI' "'.-

tion in the u~~t(Yaccaand Vaa:a,l993) , Research prior knowl.edge!as'weJli\~s,


t,eachnecessary back-
studies ha,'e shown that inappnjpriate or missing' ' ground knowledge. (2) teach students how texts
schema can limit learning from texts (A1vermann';, are org'\l-!i~$,?and how to use text structure to in',
and Phelps 1994). Students need to be famili~ " crease comprehension. and (3) teach reading
with the language as well as the concepts of the suategies that "ill help students bring meaning to
content area. Schema help reading comprehen- me text. Suggestionsfor assessment of content
sion in three w~Y~i,(1) by proriding the framework area knowledge are provided in Chapter 7.
for reading sele2tlvelyand purposefull\', (2) bv
helping reader{~etier organize and r~tain infor- , IMPLICATIONS FOR ASSESSMENT
mation, and, !~),?y i!,ablingstadents to elaborate A number of implications for assessment can be.
informationa"n;r askquestiollSof the text. ' ,drawn from theforegoing description of the
A second challenge in reading co';;prehension . nature of reading in first and second languages'
in the content areas is text .t",dure. The content ahd effective instructional practices for increasing
. .
and structure of the text together influence read-
mg comprehension.' Content area texts are written
readingcomprehension. Theseinclude the impor-
tance of determining students' prior knowledge,
to inform, prim~ly by descn1>ingand explaining. making students accountable for how they use
Written ine~p'o.~itof};.prose,most content area ['eading time in class.assessingstudents' progress
texts reflect ,?ri~_ of the follo"ing five text patterns in acquiring both decoding skills and reading com-
to express logical cOlinections:'description, preh.ension strategies. observing how students col-
sequence, comparison-contrast, cause-effect, and laborate in groups as well as how the" work
problem-solution (Vaccaand Vacca 1993). Each of indi,idual1y, and reviewingstudents' 'personal
these patterns has specific transition words.(e.g ..
responses to reading.
because, howe"er, first, secoJll!) that signal a particular Garcia (1994) and Routrnan (1994) suggest tha't,
type of organization. Students who are more famil- in l}ing instruction to assessment, the key ques-
iar "ith these patterns willcomprehend texts tions become: What do I as a teacher need to know
much better than those whoare not. about each student's literacy and language devel-
The third aspect affecting comprehension of opment in order to plan instruction? and What
reading in'the content areas is active use o/reading instructional acti,ities and tasks can I use to find
and learning strategies. Asdiscussedearlier in this this out and document it? Information resulting
chapter, more skill~dreaders have a higher aware- from literacy assessment should help teachers'
ness of reading strategies and are better able to identifY students' needs and plan for'th~most suit-
match them appropriately to text than less skilled able instructional activities. Activitiesdiscussed in
readers. Good !;eaders read with a purpose, sum- this chapter that correspond to specificr:c:ading
marize main ideas, organize information, and assessment purposes are described in Figure 5.1.
monitor comprej:lension as they read. If a break- In order for reading assessment to become use-
.,dO\;" in comprehension occurs, good readers may ful ih student evaluation, teachers\hould'consider
'apply one or more of the followinglearning strate- the following (Routrnan 1994):
gies: ignore the word or phrase and read on; think
• Be thoroughly familiar with developmental learn-
i of an example; produce a viSualimage; read ahead
ing processes and curriculum. '
and connect information; and use text patterns,
transition wo~s, and pronoUns to lllake connec- • Articulate a philosophy of 'assesSmentand evalua-
tions (Va~caanr Va<;ca1993). The question of tion. '
whether'l'eatlilfg skills and strategies are generic to • Knowabout and have e?,perience collecting:' ,
all content 'areas or content-5pecificremains unre- recording, interpreting, and analYzingmultipi~
solved (Lapp, Bood, andFaman 1989). sources of data. ' . ,
In summary, to help studeritslearn to read in the • Be flexible and willing to tryout multiple assess-
coiluerit areas, teachers can: (I) activate andass~ss
merit procedures. .

READING ASSESS'lE~T 97
FlQUre5.1 Reading Assessment: Matching Purpose to Task
,
What Do I Want to Know? , How WillI Find Out?

,
Reading comprehension • Retellings
• Literature response journals
.. • Anecdotal records
• Literature discussion groups
'. • Texts with comprehension questions'
,

, "

-
Reading strategies '. • Reading strategies checklists
"

. • Reciprocal teaching'
, ;
. .i 'j • Think-alouds
1 I .,Anecdotal records
,._-
1i .. -". "'
• Miscue analysis
..
I

4 , • Running .records
1
'

" ~H-~ .•. .. " .


, ,

Reading skills •,. Cloze passages


.. , • Miscue analysis
I, • Running records
, 1

,
Reading attitudes . • Reading logs
; ,
• Interviews
, • Literature discussion groups
I • Anecdotal records
i
, ' .
Self-assessment • Interviews
• Rubrics/rating scales
.'! .• Portfolio selections
Adapted from ROutman (1994) .

.. ,
'. . ,-,. • T .,
" ,'""", ,-~.
. - .. ., .' .
• Be committed to understanding and implem~nt; . "--assessment activities;-:ariCi~ecord teacher observa-
ing an approach to. evaluation that informs stu- . tions. In this section we discuss each'ofthese steps.
dents and directs instruction. . We follow this with suggestions for bringing all of
~, Jl
• the information together in reading/writing po~t-

Authentic Assessment of Readittg


folios and using reading assessment in instruction ,. .
. . . 'IDENTIFY PURPOSE
,..,;

As disCussed in Chapter 4. "assessment requires Any assessment of reading must begin with' the
p1anning and organization. The key lies in identi' • purpose of the assessment-At least four major pur-
fying the purpose of reading assessment and poses for classroom-based assessmen t of reading
matching instructional activities tothatpurp<>se. \ _,have .been.identilied. (Johns 1982):.c _ •__
,.
After Identification of assessment purpose. it is . • studying. evaluating. or diagnosing reading.
important to plan time for assessment; involve stu-' behaVior • .
, dents in self- and peer ,assessment, de~elop rubrics
.>
.• monitoring student progress
,and/or sCoring procedures, set stanclMds. select .
~;. . ,"

:£~7:l;iti~L->\~~.~'":
.--,..".. :~. ". - .' - .. ~:. .,1' '.,-..
,;f'''{~,'~.:?S.,:.~UIlIENTIC:ASSESSMENT FOR ENGUSH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

it4~B~\i/ I
'upplementing and confirming informatioil il1\'olved in planniI,lg ~Sp~~raleactivities for assess-
. . . ~I

ined from standardized and criterion-refer~, ,; ment. Youwill~l~'o war;t to'pIan for indi,idual. '
pair, ar;d gr~up assessment acti,ities. A,planning
enced tests
matrix similar to the one used in Chapter 4 could
obtaining information not available from other
be useful for assessment of reading as well (see, "
sources Agure5.2) .
j,
r se,cond language learners, other purposes of If you are considering assessing oral reading. be ~
ading assessment are: sure to determine the purpose of the assessment
initial identification and placement of students and whether it reflects instruction. All toofre-
in neet;! of~i';,language-based program, such as quently, teachers tell us they assess oral reading for
ESL or bilingual education "expression." However, unless students have been
trained in oral reading, they will have difficulty
movement from one level to another within a
performing to meet teacher expectations. Some ,
given program, (e.g., intermediate to advanced
teachers have told us the,.'ask students to read
levels of ESL)
aloud to determine the difficulty level of a text.
placemen t.out of an ESL/bilingual program and Based on what we know abont oral reading, unless
into a grade-level classroom you have specific goals to assess. keep a running
,',;;'"
placement in a Chapter I (Title I) or special edu- record, or conduct a ,miscue analysis, reading
cation classroom aloud by students may not be as infonnati\"e as a
graduation from' high school, student interview or group discussion.
In deciding how often to wllerl in/ormation on read-
In assessing reading skills and strategies. teachers
ing progress, take into consideration the number'
an begin by identiJYing learners' needs with regard
of students you teach. whether or not they need tc;'
o the local curriculum. At the beginning of each
be closely monitored for reading growth. and how
hool year and as new students enter throughout
you will make time during or beyond class time for
e school year, a baseline assessment of reading
assessment. You can make time for meeting with
bility should be conducted to plan instructional
indi,~dual students and groups during class by hay-
oals and activities. For the classroom teacher, the
ing a collaborative classroom where students are
urpose 'of reading assessment will most often be
used to working indi"idually or in small groups
onitoring growth in reading. For this purpose.
and monitoring their own learning (Routman
ou will need to assess both process (strategies) and
1994). To monitor surdent progress in reading, you
product (reading skills and comprehension levels)
may want to consider collecting and documenting
(Herman; Aschbacher, and Winters 1992),
information at least twice and preferabh' seyeral
times during each quarter or semester. The more
PLAN FOR ASSESSMENT frequenth' you collect this information, the'better
()nce you have identified your purposes for assess- you will be able to adjust your. instructional g-oals
ment, you can begin to outline Jour 11/(/jor instru(- to meet your students. needs.
tional goals IYr learning outcomes and match these to Be sure to provide swdl!1Its •.pith jffdb;uk periodical-
your learning activities. Ho\'¥'ever. you may tind it h- and each tiIne you conduCl an assessment uf
easier to icj~ntity ,instructional objecti\'es after work. for possible inclusion in students' reading
i naming different kinds of assignments or tasks stu- portJolios .. -\5 ill the asseSSluelll uf oral language,
, .
dents find:,!,ost interesting and challen~ing ~"ouw;lnt to pro\"ide feedback as soon as possible
(Hermanl~~hbacher, and Winters 1992). Bv irien- after students han:" been assessed,. but l.his does not
tifying'inst;:~';;ional activities IYr tasks currently ~sed mean that you ha\"e to assess e\"ef'~.thing a st1.ident
in the cfas~room,th~t can also serve for asS~SSnll"I;l. does ill your classroom". ,Rl'1l1l"lllber, students. call
you will be making the direct link between assess- also assess theiuselves as well as each other, thereby
ment and instruction and sa,y-ing)'oursdf the time freeing up your tiI11e H) "work with others.

RE..\l)I:\(; .-\SS[SS\IE'''\:T 99"

, I
{i'
Reading

Assessment Planning
, <
M~f'ti](,
- "- ~

Reading Assessment , Proficiency IndividuaV Age/Grade


.Skills/Behaviors Assessed"
Activity Level Pair/Group Level

Retellings ••Reading comprehension Individual, pair All

Checklists • Reading skills All Individual, All


• Reading comprehension group
strategies

Anecdotal records • Reading skills All Individual All


• Reading comprehension
strategies. .
. -." '<. ~

Cloze tests • Reading skills 'Intermediate, Individual, MS,HS,


""advanced group adult

Reading logs • Reading comprehension All Individual All


• Response to literature
• Choice in reading

'INVOLVE STUDENTS • What do you need to imprfJVein reading?


Students become partners in the aSsessment • What do you do when you come to words you don't
process when they are encouraged to engage in . know?
self-assessment and peer assessment. Student
In the case of young children or low literacy stu
reflection is a vital element of authentic assess-
dents, teachers can provide short sentences and
ment.
epictorial responses'(e'g;, smiling faces) for stue
Self.Assessment Self-assessment, while not 'deritStocirCle to' indicate their reading habits.
graded by the teacher, helps both teachers and stue Figure 5.3 provides an example of such a format
, .produced by an ,elementary school ESL teacher.
dents become aware of students' attitudes'.-.' .' ~.~ ..
For pre-readers, teachers can read questions alou<
strengths, and weaknesses in reading (Routman
1994). It alsoencourages students to become inde- and note students' responses.
.pendent learners. Self-assessment questions need Selfeassessment of reading can take various for-
to be modeled by the teacher before studen ts can mats. Among these are: checklists, rating scales"
be expected to engage in self-assessment activities. scoring rubrics, question/answer, sentence come .I
Demonstrate the kinds of questions to be asked pletion, learning logs, and reflection logs. In keep
with the whole class, then let peers select a few ing reflection logs. students are asked to express i,
questions to ask each otheL Some questi~ns might: .writingwhat.the\ feel the\' have or h,,\'e not '
~: ,.learned (Routman 1994). Students clarifj; for
themselves what progress they have made in read-
• Hihat have )'OU learned about reading in this ciass?
< ing while teachers get feedback on what students
• How do you feel about reading? ;;;f'~c.have actuallv learned or still need to learn.
• What thm things do good readers do? ~:~l'~::f~fRdlection l~gs can be \vriuen during the last ten'
~ <'I' ::>~]:r
->/:~'-
~<.,--."
".i __

:i~}j~~"<
If)f) .-\CTI{r'Tl(: :\5;SESS\1E~T n)1{ F'\;f;I.lSH 1_-\\:Cl"O\(:E i.~~~J~~'ERS
Figure 5.3 Self-Assessment of Emergent Reading
-.,."

Name _ Oale _

How.og you read? Circle one of the faces.

Usually Sometimes Not much

1. I read every day for 30 minutes.


OQQ
2. I read many different types of books.
OQQ
3, I look at the pictures for new words .
. r. OQQ
4. I pay attention when the teacher
",,,'reads a story,

.•.~~.
5, I read during free time,

6, I like to read.
OOQ
7, I tellothers about books I read,
-i'-.;..

OQQ
Adapted from a form developed by lMmen18ry ESt. teacher J. Eury (1994). Fairfax County Public Schools. Virginia.

• @Addison+Wesley.AuthenticAssessmentfoIEf'QI/Sh unguage Ledrners. O"MalleyNaldez Pierce. This page may be reprodUCed for classroom use.
}~v/!'
,'iJ<i1iinutes of class once a week. Some guiding ques- Portfolio partners can provide each other with
._~.>;;t.. ~ •.
ix';;/tions might be: , feedback on their portfolios (see also Chapter 3).
Using 3" x 5" index cards, portfolio partners can
'1r;'. \'\11at did I learn about reading this week?
respond to several guiding questions about their
• What did I have trouble with? partner's portfolio (Clemmons et al. 1993; Hill
• What would I like to know more about? and Ruptic 1994). Some sample questions/state-
To format a self-assessment, be sure to use lan- ments might be:
guage at students' reading levels, or ask students to • What does your partner's portfolio tell you about
work in pairs to write their own self-assessment him or her as a reader?
questions afteryou have modeled the kinds of • Write one. positive thing about your. parmer's
questions that could be asked. You might want to portfolio.
work with a colleague to develop and share various
• Write one thing your parmer needs to work on
formats; one version could be designed for begin-
in reading.
ning readers, and others might be. developed for
. intermediate- and advanced-level readers.' If the"",
I.•.

format consists of statements to beTated, be sure' "DEVELOP RUBRICS/SCORING PROCEDURES


to begin by first stating what each student can do Develop initial criteria by which students' reading
and put this in the first person (e.g., "I can ... "). progress will be measured beJoreusing instructional
For an example of self-assessment ofreading prac- activities feir assessmeilt. Criteria should be stated
tices and strategies, see Figures 5.4-5.6. in terms of what studen ts can do rather than what
they cannot do. The' best way to develop scoring
Peer Assessment To involve students in peer
procedures and rubrics or rating scales is with stu-
assessment, teachers can ask them to rate their
dent input (see Chapter 3). Get students involved
peers' reading comprehension levels and attitudes
by asking them what good readers do. Use a model
toward reading in reading discussion groups.
scoring rubric that you can adapt later or ask col-
Teachers will have to model for ELL students how
leagues for feedback on. You will probably need to
to use guiding questions or statements. The follow-
modify the criteria periodically, based on actual
ing questions might be used to get students to pro:-
student performance. Areas to be assessed in read-
vide peer feedback to a partner or group during ;
ing should include reading comprehension, use of
story retelling (adapted from Tierney, Carter, and.
reading strategies, decoding skills, response to
Desai 1991): ",.,. reading;' and 'student'choke in reading, depending
• What did you like best about your partner's stmy? on students'. level of literacy in English. Criteria
• What could your partner have done better? can .take the form.of a checklist or. a scoring
rubric. Because teachers we have worked with
• Suggest one thingfor your partner to work on for his or ~
seem to prefer a rubric, we have prO\ided one
her next story retelling.
based on a developmental model of reading, as
One ESL teacher'. suggests "riting the begin- shown in Figure 5.i.
nings of three statements (such .as "1 like ... ," "1 As suggested in Chapter 4. when using a holistic
want to know ... ," "Youcan make it better by... " to scoring rubric you will be assigning a rating for
be com pie ted by each student in a group. Each each student's performance, whether .or not that
statement is written On a different side of a con- performance. meets all of the criteria at a specific
struction paper prism or triangle (or other manip- level. Many students will be difficult to place in I
ulative). This reminds students of what they are one distinct category or another; but by assigning al
supposed to comment on and keeps them on task. rating you will have something to compare to simi-
lar performances by the same student. This is also
where multipie assessors and assessments come in;
1. Th;'lnks to ~tarv l.ol! Kulsick of Fairfax Countv Public Schools.
\ Oil-.::illi;l. t, ,f 11(.1' i",le:! IH\ The rli!'("llssilln grOllp n;;.mipIlblin'.

10'2 \["Tl1F.'-Tll .. \SSESS\IE:\T FOR E:\CUSH L--\.'\iGL\GE l.E"--\R~ERS


Figure 5.4 Self-Assessment Reading Surv.flY
..~
c""" •.

Name Date _

:',
.1. Do you like to read? Why or why not?
. ;'~"','
." "::'.'.';

2. What kinds of stories/books do you like to read?

,.i ,"
o.

3. What book are you reading now?

4. Howdo good readers read?

5. What do you need to do to be a better reader?


• ,,'- •• 1,".

.@Addison-Wesley.AuthentlcAssessmentfor EnglJsh Language Learners. O"MaHeyNaldez Pierce. ThiS ;;age To<l'I :::ere•.:r00l:CC!G 'C: ..::mss:.:,om~5e
Name Date
-(:_:~. >'~ '~ - ~>.•,~-.\.'',:
Read each statement, PutOcheck
, ..-. ';,f , '.'
(.1) in the box that is most true for you,
'. . - ,:.', ',-',~; -, ;.

, " , ',''', ' .:C:-', .


Statement ','c'. ,'L Most oftheJime, . Sometimes Not Very Often
-, .
-",\
1. I like,to read. '.:, "

, '

2. I read at home,

; "

'. "
,
3. I read different kinds of books. I
, ,

..

4, I read easy books,

5, I read difficult books.

6. I read books that are just right.

7. I talk with my friends about


books I have read,

8. I write about books I have' . -


-".'. .;
read (literature respo~se 16gj> [.-

~-- "1--. ------~- • --_ •..

Adapted tram a sell-assessment developed by ESL teacher K. Harrison (1994) and based on Sharp (1989) and Fairfax County Public
Schools, Virginia (1989). •
•,
.0 Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment for English i.anguag~"Learne(S_ O'MaHeyNaldez Pierce,
This page may be reproduced tor c1assr6om use. :
Figure 5.6 Self-Assessment of Reading Strategies

~""

Name Date

¥~check.<") the box that indicates how you read.

Reading Strategies Often Sometimes Almost Never

I. I think about what I already know


on the topic.
._. - _._------- . --

. 2. I make predictions and read to


I
find out if I was right. I
I _.--

3. 1reread the sentences before I


and after a word I do not know.
.~
I
! ----------

4. I ask another student for help.


.. - ------,,----

5. I look for the main idea.

_ 6. 1take notes.
--

7. I discuss what I read with others.


---------

8. I stop and summarize.


---- ----------"

"t 9. I choose books from the library


on my own.
----- ~-

10. I make outlines of what I read.


I__ ~ ___---~- _ .. ----

Adapted from Applebee, Langer. and Jullis (1988) and Rhodes (1993).

+@Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment tor English Language Learners. O'Mal1eyNaldez Pierce.


This page may be reproduced for classroom use.
"

~h~y provide other sources of information on whai groups, doze tests, texts with comprehension que
.',~f)fa'have determined
-. ,t~'''',-~~
a student's reading Jevel toi' tions, and reciprocal teaching (Garcia 1994;
~'~~be":< Pikul ski and Shanahan 1982; Routman 1994).
~-~~~: ••. !,-

«'Between three and six levels of student perfor-


.," . Retellings Students can be asked to retell a
mance are all thafare necessary when designing a
scoring rubric. More than that will not yield useful story or, text they have read or that has been read
'-"ii;. .
information. We recommend using analytic and to them. Teachers can use story maps (see Figure
weighted rating scales for diagnostic purposes 5.9), checklists (see Figure 5.10), or rating scales
rather-than for monitoring student progress (see! to evaluate students as they retell the story. You
Chapter 2). These types of rating scales are more' can ask probe questions to elicit information
time-consumiQg to use and may require rater train- whichispo} f9:.\!lcomingfrom the student. Some
ing before an acceptable level of inter-rater relia- examples of probe questions for fiction are:
,biliry is reached. It is desirable to use more than •. Who was the main character of the story?
one rater on occasion to check for inter-rater relia- • What happened 10Ihe main character?
biliry. By beginning with identification of at least, .
, .. 1" ~i Whichcharacter.did}ou.likebestandwhJ?
" •...
two categories of reading. performance,' high- a'hd' .
low-level readers, you can proceed to identify cases Some examples for han-fiction are:.
that fall along the continuum of reading perfor- • Whal'was Ihemain poinl of the lext?
mance.
'.• a'hat examples ordPlails wereprrruided to sllp/JOrtIhis
poinl?
SET STANDARDS
.• ~~7zatelse would JOlllike 10know aboullhitloPic?
Standards for reading comprehension can be set
Retelling gives students an opportunit):. t~ speak.
by establishing cut-off scores on a scoring rubric or
at length, if they can, without teacher i~erruptiori'
rating scale, For example, at least three levels of '
in an informal setting. Teacherscan'asKSStudents.
reading performance could be described as
to tell a story as if they were telling i't tofs~nieone
novice, intermediate, and advanced. If most of the
who is.notfamiliar with it. For English language
stud.ents you teach are in the intermediate catego:'
ry, you may want to establish several levels within
that category in order to show students they are
learners, retelling helps develop oral language
.
proficiency as well as reading comprehension
.
(Routman 1994).
making progress while still at an intermediate
Retelling what one has read is a much more pow'
level. These,sub-categories might be called:begin- .
erful tool for asseSsing reading coinprehension
ning, :expanding;'and bridging ,(see ,Figure 5. i),
than having students read aloud:This is because
terms borrowed from Hill and Ruptic (1994) .
.,,;henstudents read aloud teachers.inav focus on
Each category or level needs to he'defined byerite:'
, pronunciation and intonation instead of reading
ria to be clearly distinct from the next level (see 1
comprehension. Also. reading aloud is not an '.
Figure 5. i). An example of a reading rubric drafted,
authentic reading activit\' in that when good read- .
jointly by elementary and secondary ESL teachers is
eri; read, they read silently andquickh' .withont
presented in Figure 5.8.
reading every.word: in fact,Teading e\"eI:~'\vord.
aloud only sl0l"s them down. Further. students may
SELECT ASSESSMENT ACTIVITIES use quite different strategies when reading silently
Assessment of reading should be emb\"dded in than when reading aloud.
acti,ities for teaching reading. In this section ,~e ' TO.guidestudent" retelling. teachers can pro:
. describe instructional activities that can also serve vide -students with story maps. Slor)' maps outline
for assessment of reading in a second language. the structure of a story with .,;pecific headings
These include: retellings, reading logs, literature (such as "Setting, - "\hin Characters," "E"ents,':
response logs/journals, literature discussion etc.). Students fill in the story map with single'

I "~

106 AlTIIEYriC ..~~SESS\IE"'T FOR E~(;lJSH L"C;L\GE LEAR"'ERS


ESL Reading Rubric

Pre-Reader • Listens to read-alouds


• Repeats words and phrases
• Uses pictures to'comprehend text
• May recognize some sound/symbol relationships

Emerging Reader • Participates in choral reading


• Begins to retell familiar, predictable text
, • Uses'visuals to ,facilitate meaning
,. ~
, • Uses phonics and word structure to decode

Developing Reader • Begins to make predictions


• Retells beginning, middle, and end of story
• Recognizes plot, characters, and events
• Begins to rely more on print than illustrations
• May need assistance in choosing appropriate texts

Expanding Reade r • Begins to read independently


• Responds to literature
• Begins to use a variety of reading strategies
• Usually chooses appropriate texts

Proficient Reader • Reads independently


• Relates reading to personal experience
• Uses a wide variety of reading strategies
• Recognizes literary elements and genres
-' Usually chooses appropriate texts

Independent Reader • Reads for enjoyment


• Reads an'd completes a wide variety of texts
• Responds personally and critically to texts
• Matches a wide variety of reading strategies to purpose
• Chooses appropriate or challenging texts

Adapted from a draft compiled by the ESL Portfolio Teachers Group, Fairfax County Public Schools. Virginia (1995).
.,";~:;::~;:r:'~r2~):j;;~;[~~J::;~f:.~
; ,
j-

gure 5.9 Story Map


r

me .; ••.•• J.

Ii!i
II'
L
!

u
II
Setting Problem

Title

Author
L. I. \V;i,je-;~

Main Solution

RL \l l!:\{ .. \SSFSS\IE\:T I {J~J


Figure 5.10 Story Retelling Checklist

Name' Date _
~.;tf~.»;,;
Title
.... ';;;.)',
~.,,-,."c-------------______ Author _ _
f'
Quarter: 1st 2nd 3rd 4th

Text Difficulty: High predictability Moderate predict.ability .•. Advanced

Response: Drawing/pictures Oral response Written response

,to,

~Responds
Performance Tasks Initiates to Prompt Comments

Names main characters

Describes setting

Starts retelling at . i
,
the beginning

identifies problem
or issues

-- -_._.- --------------_._-----------
Identifies major events

---- ~ . .l __ .- . . _

Reports events in
chronological.order
- :t!'";;. ,'.

--.--.--~t'--------'--.-------_~ _
Describes resolution

----_._ .. __ .• ',,-- - -----,.'. --------. _. ---'--


Adapted from a formal developed by ESL teacher K. Harrison (1994), Fairfax County Public Sch~Ols.
and based on National Education Association (1993).

• C Addison-Wesley. AJ.JthenticAssessment for English Language Learners. O'MalfeyNaldez Pierce.


This page may be reproduced for classroom use. f . jj i
words or phrases under each heading. SLOrymaps of class can be.eD~~r~d
in a reading- log; (Garcia
.i',-" ,. ,".\.,. 'f,,.... ,. ,"
(see Figure 5.9) are particularly appropriate for ]994). An example ofa reading log is pro\'ided in
ESL and bilingual students, who may not be tamil- Figure 5, II.
iar with the discourse structure of a text or who Students can use their reading log to graph the
simply may need to sketch their ideas Otlt in writ- quantity of their reading O\'er time. For example,
ing before beginning to talk about a story or text. students can create a bar graph with ,the.Qymber
Story maps also help second language learners of books or other texts read during ,ea~h\~~iading
internalize storv and text structure so that thev
t. I ,
period, This gives students a visual rep;'~sentation
become better readers by being able to anticipate of how many texts the\' have read over a specific
.
the structure. of different texts. Students not vet period of time. Students can also graph the genre
or topicof their reading. Teachers'firstask stu-
proficient'enough,~o tell the story through oral or
written language can draw pictures to tell the story, dents to classify their reading by genre (fiction, ,
what Routman (1994) calls picture mapping.
English language learners are likely to be able to
non-fiction, biography, poetry, content area read-
ing, etc.). Then students review their reading log
i
Ii
tell more if allowed to use their native language. to determine the number books or other texts
Allowing'students to respond in the native lan- read in each genre. The bar graph is created by
guage can<p.rovide opportunities for them to entering the number of texts on the Y-iLxisand the
demonstrate their comprehension while oral and different genres on the X-axis, Teachers have indi-
written language skills in English are still develop- cated to us that students enjm' the graphing
ing (Au 1993). because it shows them how much they have accom-
Retellings can be conducted in pairs after you plished and if they ha\'e neglected one or more
have taught students how to engage in peer assess- genres in their reading.
ment using story and text maps. Text map, differ
Literature Response Logs/Journals Research
from story maps b\' representing expository prose,
shows that responding to literature helps students
as in readings in science or history. Each student
become better readers. With literature response
gets a different story or text to read and retell
logs, students respond in writing to materials they
while his or her partner conducts a peer assess-
have read (Atwell 198i; Garcia 1994; Hill and
ment using a completed story or text map and
Ruptic 1994; Routman 1994). Literature response
checking off elements of the text the student
logs, also called reading respome logs, are basically
describes (Garcia 1994).
journals about what a student is reading. As with
Reading Logs One way to hold students journal writing, teachers and students dialogue
accountable for their progress in reading is to ask about the reading material, with students provid-
them to document the type and quantity of read- ing a personal reaction to the material and the
ing they do. through reading logs (Atwell 198i; teacher comnlenting on the students' obsen-a-
Garcia 1994; Hill and Ruptic 1994; Routman tions. If students onl\' sUIllIllarize what they have
1994). Students are gi\'en a chart for entering a read without nlaking a personal re.sponse. teachers
story or book's author and title. the date complet- can respond with questions that call for sludents'
, ed, perhaps the number of pages read. and a brief personal reflection. In other cases, tea~hers nlay
impression or critique of the reading. By reviewing .
have to talk individuallv. with students to clarify the
reading logs for reading interest levels as well as procedure: Literature response logs. like dialogue
for the qU,antity of materials read independently, journals, can be reviewed on a staggered basis. a
teachers can provide feedback to students on their few each week. Figure ;'.12 shows a rubric de\l'l-
reading progress and on additional materials oped by an elementary ESL teacher for rating a lit-
which may interest Ihem. Teachers call ,'ncourage erature response log.
bilingual,students to recoro 111aterials read ill each Some guiding questions ft)r litcrature rt'~pI)IlSe
language. Whatever students are reading in or out logs that might be asked of students for selt'assess-
Figure 5.11 Reading Log: Books I Have Read

My Name Sergio Grade __ 1c_J_t_/_2_'r_,:)_:__ Date

Date I Date I •
Began Finished
Title Author Reading: Reading: How I Feel About It:

t02t:- wats to-st' 2 rei }d(~i2


r~.~._ ;_',.-;~~;~.in"e-;-,c:-"~e'
•....
~;,~d I d0!
r""j;.,.",;...">--.p; "'. ~F\
v.~.'-' '!,--
'I I ;::: :..-c)~:
. ga:;ia Th2t he gU3nd 2..- 2i:d
gU8n to.2 rd (30r ;; 0 V.;~ri ~cb

rvi2tthews Dream - Leo Leori::: . 6/8/95 fJ9/95 -: hkd the p8rt -'-"Jen.
)'.;lattf:1ew5 \,v~::-'n.(:,:: :;/"::.2/
,- 1+ 'ui;rj-l=, '~~,e
. ,,,. '-'<.' r'~>e7:;;. ...
I,... 0' - "L..\...

rp'_~!.--'eV'~
_f-iL <'.--,11 -I ~
"v:""":
d, Iv,'
i\/r'-.----;.-p"
::;;/:.,.,1
,-
::;
r;~ -ev'
~.:::::: '" I,
;r,
II I
~r:.
v'-..o', ";"-h,:oo;;:::
'...-' 1\...-,-, /rr".,r
/'J'_",
:: -"' ..... -
../ :::;.J::;;..'

2.:'/DOS r.-;: 'e


th2 WadE'~S •...
Vi;: to be and he :;ces .~,C

Adapted from a reading log developed by elementary ESL leac~er J. Eury-(1994) and a sample from first/second grade ESL teacher L. Morse (1995), FB!rlax
County Public Schools, Virginia

men t purposes include (adapted from Tierney, . read a single book or story, or studen ts can read .
Carter, and Desai 1991): , ,~.,?
different books on a similar theme or topic. j to:

• What did you like about this story/book? Shorter books and stories can be discussed in one:<;~
.. session upon completion of the reading: '"
"..• How waslhis the same or different from' other things
.,\"Ouhave read? 'Discussion groups (also called literature cirdes and'
book dubs) 'can:lastfrom a day to sneral weeks.
• Explain why you would or would not read other things depending on the length of the book. Students
tty this author. .• ,'I
can lise teacher- or student-made questions from
• \<Hwtkinds of stones do you like to read most? their literature response logs to begin the discus-
• Hi/wt type of story/book do you want to read next? sion. 'While the literature discussion group has
many advantages. some benefits for second lan-
• f"! .,what ways are JOu a good reade-r?
.~. guage learners and language minority students
Literature Discussion Groups . Literature. discus- include: increased comprehension le,:els: opportu-
simi groups are heterogeneous smaB group (five to nities to improve listening skills anddevelopspo-. .i
ei~ht students), student-directed. and teacher- ken language proficiency: increased participation I
~uided discussions that occur while stlldents are in' of quiet and shy students (with subsequent increas-
the process of reading a book (Hill and Ruptic es in self-esteem of at-risk students): increased '1
1994: ROlltman 1994). All students can be asked to respect for low-achie\'ing students; and more time I
for teacher observation of student learning. The I
II 't,
1I~ .Il TIIE'T" .. \SSFSS\IF.':T FnR r"(;i.ISIl 1--'''(;1 .\(;E I.HR"ERS
iscussion group is based on critical analysis of the vVeaker readers can listen to a tape of the reading
xt, with students' opinions being accepted if they or pair up with a stronger partner in order to fol-
an be supported with evidence from the text. low the text.
~ Even if the\tudent cannot read everv.
ral reading occurs only to cite evidence for an word of a book, as long as he or she has the oppor-
1dividual's observations. Students draw on prior tunity to listen to and understand it, the student
xperiences and background knowledge to make can participate in a literature discussion group
ferences and arrive at conclusions. (Routman 1994),
While some students are meeting in discussion Several types of assessment can be used in con-
roups, others c;iii' be working independently. junction with literature discussion groups, These

Figure 5,12 Literature Response Scoring Rubric

Outstanding • Describes most story elements (characters, setting, begin-


ning, middle, and end of story) through oral or written lan-
guage or drawings
• Responds personally to the story
• Provides an accurate and detailed description of the story
• Develops crrteria for evaluating the story

Good -f Describes most story elements through oral or written lan-


guage or drawings
• Responds personally to the story
• Provides an accurate description of the story with some
details
• Analyzes something about the story (plot, setting, charac-
ter, illustrations)

Satisfactory • Describes some story elements through oral or written lan-


:&.' guage or drawings
• Makes a limited personal response to the story
,.
• Provides an accurate description of the story
• Explains why he or she likes or does not like the story
,-

Needs Improvement • Describes few story elements through oral or written lan-
guage or drawings
• Makes no response or a limited personal response to the
story
, • Provides a less than accurate description of the story
, ,
, • • States that he or she likes or does not like the story

Adapted from rubrics developed by elementary ESL teacher J, Eury (1994). I="alrfax County Public Schools. and Lamme
and H smith 1991 ,
include self-assessment, anecdotal records, and need extra help or easier material, but the infor-
teacher observation checklists. In particular, , ",' mation prmided bj' a doze passage should be con-
because literature' discussion groups result i'n'a ri~'rrtedwith other authentic assessments over time.
change in student attitudes toward themselves and Cloze tests are appropriate for intermediate- and
, others as well as toward reading, some form of self- advanced-level readers, They typically involve silen
assessment might be a strong indicator of the' reading in a group or whole dass setting, require'
effectiveness of the literature discussion group. students to fill in missingwords from a passage.
Reading strategies can be recorded through self- and have pre-established standards.
assessment, anecdotal records, think-alouds, or Different types of doze tests are: fixed ratio,
-teacher observation checklists. An example of a rational or purposive deletion, maze technique,
self-assessment{or a literature discussion group is and limited 0;
multiple-choice doze (Oller, 1979;
provided in Figure 5.13, while a teacher observa- Pikulski and Tobin 1982). In a fixed ratio doze,
tion checklist is provided in Figure 5.14. words are deleted systematicallyby counting off,
, .. , regardless of the part of speech. Every fifth, sev-
Cloze Tests C~ze tests are readiI1.~passages~iql._, enth,.orninth word maybe.deleted. In a
blanks representmg words that have.been deleted, " rational/PUrposive dJ'letiondoze; words are deleted
from the originaltext; the blanks are to be filled in by part of speech or content area vocabulary
by the reader (Tav,lor 1953). The dene procedure' rather than' in a set numbering pattern. Using a
was originally developed over four decades ago to'.' rna"e technique, three word choices are prmided at
.det.ermine the readability of texts. Since then', the' , each missing word intervaL For limited doze, word
doze has emerged in various forms todetermine a choices (one per blank) are prmided all together
reader's ability to use context to predict missing in a word bank at the top or bottom of the page.
words from text (Pikulski and Tobin 1982). The For English language learners, you may want to
term cUnecomes from closure, a term used in use doze formats that prmide word choices before
Gestalt psychology to explain the tendency,to see putting students in a situation where they have to
the whole picture or fill in gaps in less than com- prmide the words for themselves. Only the' fixed
plete objects. Readers rely upon syntactic, lexical, ratio doze will be described here, because it is the
and seman'U'cknowledge as'well as cultural knowl- most commonly used technique and also the one
edge and prior background experiences or that has been subjected to the kind of rigorous
schemata to predict the omItted words. Cloze tests analysis needed to produce reliability figures for
"reflect overall comprehension of a text" by requir- ,establishing functional reading leveL
ing use of syntactic and discourse level c0!1straints
(Oller 1979, pp. 346-7). ',,' ,. ,To.constructa fixed ratio doze, select a passage
, about 250 to 300 words-longthat is representative of
Teachers can create doze passages from instruc,
the content of the book. Be sure to check that the
tional materials they currendy-use; this is more".', I passage does not reh' too much on'passages that
authentic than using commercially-produced doze went before it (possibleindicators are words such as'
passages. Cloze passages are best u~edas screening this and these). Keeping the first and last sentences
devices that quickly and.efficiently'!,stimate . '. intact, randomly choose one of the first fivewords
instructional reading level (independent, instruc- in the second sentence and proceed to delete every'
tiona!, or frustration). At the independnlt reading fifth word from the passageuntil 50 words have
level, students recognize most of the vocabulary been deleted. A word is defined as any group oflet-
and content in a reading passage (Routrnan, 1994). ters or'nuinbers separated by spaces. Hyphenated
At the instructionalleve~ students can proceed but d
words are generallv considere two words. Replace
only with assistance from a teacher. At the fru.stra- deleted words "ith blanks that are all about the
tion feue!, students struggle unsuccessfullywith a s,une size and number each blank consecuti,-elv.
reading text even with assistance. Teachers can use
Three levels of difficult)'can be constructed
doze procedures to determine which students. from one reading passage by deleting every fifth;
~.",t •

114 Al!THE:"TIC ASSESSME:"T FOR EIoiGLISHL,\:"GL,\GE I.L\R:"ERS

I
Book/Story Discussed . . _
Author(s) _'-- . . _.. ...._

Theme/Focus
_' ..__ ..__ .__ Date ..

Names 01 Students:

Preparation "
Brought book and other
materials

Read the assigned poges


.._-----_._-~,_ ..---.>-_ .....
_-..".----------
Noted excerpts to share ~
.•
-- -------_ .._---,---------._- 1_____ ... _- -1.--- .._1-
_ ...::
__ 1_.........:. --- .1_...;_ . ..
Participation

Contributed
"
to discussion
- .. _----_._---_._----- ...,..
,'~
------ .1 "1-'
-' .------------.1..:..:...:::..:---------,-- ...
Used higher-level thinking skills "to ~
'!
.. __ .--.-,' ..- -----~----,-
Used text to support comments
'._-"'-' ~ ._------_._._---_ .._-----------_ ..---_ .... _------ ---
.- .... _-----'-_. ---------_ .._--'-.------_ .._----_ ... ~._.. ------ ----_ - ---,----.-
.._-.-.,_ •. --_ ..
Elicited responses from others
... --.•... --------.- ..• "•. --- .._--.,.---

Listened to alternative points


of view
-- - -------'.---_.- -_.__ .._._------.
_-_
-." _. --_. ----,------ ---_. __ .. ..~.----_._---- _. . ~-_... _--------_ .. ..
lnIerred relationships not stated
in text
..
-.---.-----.'" ,,- ~-.-.. ---- ..
------ ...•
-----.---------.1.- -- __
. __ .. L ._~._
..
_.~ .. ,
Referred to story elements
(plot, characters, conllici, .'
theme)

Adapted from Hill and Ruptic (1994).


.'
igure 5.15 Sample C~oze Passage •• ,. 'j'

Intermediate levellext for middle and high school students

The Dream Keeper

. ,once, long ago, there was a girl who could talk to the birds. When she was little, she ------
;:"

happy. ,She walked in .... forest and played by _ stream and never thought

Rer purpose in life. as she grew older, asked: Why am I

______ ? Where am I going? am I? But no could answer these ques-

tions, _ __ one day she walked the forest. Maybe the will know, she

thought. are my friends and will talk to them, at how they live.

.'-"
is no hesitation in flight. There is no in their song, Surely

______ know their purpose, Maybe know mine, too,

She until she saw a eagle, "Eagle," she asked, " is your

. purpose?" "To above the earth: the replied, "From there I see all

things. Here my feather. Fly with ." Next she saw a ' "Hawk;' she

asked, "What your purpose?" "To be messenger," the hawk replied,

______ bring news of things come. Here is my . Listen for my call."

.
,~ ______ girl sat down next a river, The sunlight the water and it

______ beautiful, but she was ' "I know the purpose all the birds," she

______ , "but what is my ?" Then a dragonfly with like paper flew by,

______ dragonfly saw the girl sad and wanted to her, "And you. dragon-

fly." __ . girl finally asked, "What your purpose?" ''To help find their
I

I
dreams," the replied, "Help me, then," the girl said.
I
Adapted from "The Dream Keeper," in Tales at Courage, TaJesof Dreams: A Multicultural Reader by J. Mundahl. Reading, Mass,:- Addison-Wesley. 1993.

~t;r.-,••

or
0.'

seventh ninth word. For example, passages "ith need to be used with se\'enth and ninth word dele-
every fifth word omitted will be more challenging tions in order to obtain 50 blanks (250 words for
than those with only every ninth word ddeted, .\ deleting e,.ery fifth word. 350 words for deleting
sample doze passage with every fifth word deleted every seventh word, and 450 words for deleting
.is shown in Figure 5.1:1. HOWt.'\"t'T. longer passages ewn' ninth word), The greater the number of

Rf..-\DI:\"<.; .-\SSESS:-,IE:-':T 117


blanks, the more reliable the doze becomes as an doze, If the scan's average out to be on the
indicator of functional reading ability, • '! instructional level, then the text can be said to
Throughout this book, we encourage you to use at approximately the fifth-grade level. Due to t
your instructional activities for assessment. This amount of work involved in estimating grade-Ie
applies as much to the doze procedure as to anv reading equivalents, you may want to save this s
other technique, Students need practice with the for when you are ready to determine student a
doze in whole dass and group settings before ty to read grade-level texts.
being asked to work individually. To practice with
the doze, select an easy passage for most students Texts with Comprehension Questions Mo
and leave only ten to 25 blanks. Instruct studen ts teachers are familiar with asking questions to
that only one word goes in each blank, and that .' determinecomprehension:of reading passages,
they should'read the entire passage before going idea shared with us by an ESt Resource Teache
.back to fill in the blanks. Provide flexible time lim- at the middle school level allows immediate ide
its for completion of the doze. fication of a student's comprehension level "ith
To score a doze, count all.words 'that are seman- ..specifictexts. The teacher makes a copy of one
tically and syntacticallvcorrect or co"n':~xtU';ilv., 'cpage from a short reading passage or story stu- .
appropriate. Spelling is not counted.,Althou~h, . dents have been asked to read. On the reverse ;i
some specialists recommend counting only exact of this page, the:student responds independentl
word replacements (Pikulski and Tobin 1982), we to several comprehension questions posed by th
agree with Oller (1979) that for second language teacher (see Figure 5'.16). Students can also cre
learners, accepting anv word that is contextuallv their own questions if teachers have prepared
,appropriate may have 'instructional advantages' them to do so. After checking students' respons
(such as prmiding diagnostic information). In the teacher has a record of each student's comp
addition, all scoring methods used "ith doze t~sts hension level with a known text. "''hen the teach
are highly intercorrelated (Oller 1979; Pikulski knows the relative difficulty level of specific-texts
and Tobin 1982). Based on comparisons with he .or she can make an assessment of how each s
other measures of reading comprehension, criteri. dent is doing with a text at that level. Bvconduct
on scores have been determined which relate to a ing this type of assessment at least twice during a
reader's ability to read independently, with instruc- quarter or semester, students, parents, and teach
tion, or at a frustration level. However, these scores .ers can obtain concrete evidence of a student's
w<;reestablished based on exact word replace- ' ability to tackle increasingly difficult passages. T
ments. Criterion scores should be higher where 'type of-activitycan be quite informative when
synonyms are accepted: Altholjgh there is no exact'. .passed along to ihenext teacher in a student's
cut score, a range of scores can be used (Alverman .reading portfolio.
and Phelps 1994; Pikulski and Tobin 1982). :
A
~, 4 Reciprocal Teaching Reciprocal teaching is an
rough guide to interpretation of doze scores is as fol-
lows; . instructional approach designed to increase read
ing comprehension by encouraging students to
• more than 5G-60%correct = independent level use reading strategies (Palincsar and Brmm 1984
• 35-50% = instructional level In small groups offour to five, students begin by
• below 35% = frustration level all reading the tirst paragraph or passage of the
'same text silently. Based on the teacher's model:
Teachers need to establish their O"TI standards ing, one student begins the session'bv summariz-
based on experience with both native speakers of 'ing the paragraph in his or her own'jords, Then!
English and English language lear;"ers, A rough' • t ~.. •

estimate of grade level could be established bv tak-


" ing a group of native or proficient speakers at. 2. Thanks'[O Barbara fag;I/lI'i' :\rlingllJlJ C/lU'/HYPublic Schoob.
English in the fifth grade and administering a Virginia. for sharinF; her text ,,'jth C"omprehensi;>n que;;tions acu\in:

liS
, .
'Aith us, .

j." .
igure 5.16 Sample Reading Text with Comprehension Questions

One day Pa said that spring was coming.

In the Big Woods the snow was beginning to thaw. Bits of it dropped from the branches of the trees and
made little holes in the softening snowbanks below. At noon all the big icicles along the eaves of the little
house quivered.and sparkled in the sunshine, and drops of water hung trembling at their tips.'
I ....
.-,,"

Pa said'he must go to town to trade the furs of the wild animals he had been trapping all winter. So one
evening.l1e:made a big bundle of them. There were so many furs that when they were packed tightly and tied
together tlley made a bundle almost as big as Pa.
.f~S'~'::;"r" .•..
Very ea'rly one morning Pa strapped the bundle of furs on his shoulders and started to walk to town. There
were so many furs to carry that he could not take his gun.

Ma was worried, but Pa said that by starting before sun-up and walking very fast all day he could get home
. again before dark.

Questiohs~(on reverse side of text page)


"-t'-:~;~':
,

1. Who 'is telling this story? _

2. Why is Pa taking furs to town? _

3. Why is Ma worried about Pa? _

'i,.

~:-.

4. What'do you think will happen next? _


:'l~;l\{~
.. -,.. "

,
Excerpted from Little House in the Big Woods by L. I. Wilder. New York: Harper Collins. 1991.

,
,
I ,.;.;-,
'he or she ask~ the group one question about the critical analysis. Each student gets a turn to repeat
I ~ ""-"

'Icontentan.d.)~e.ntifies a comprehension problem these steps. Reading comprehension strategies typ-


or, something,that
,: "-Ir;.,_ .•.~:,1
was difficult to comprehend ically used in reciprocal teaching include summa-
'about the passage. Finally, the student predicts rizing, questioning, and predicting. With a good
what "ill come in the next paragraph or section. teacher model and sufficient practice. students
Mter much teacher modeling, students pose ques- should be able to formulate higher-order compre-
tions that elicit both literal comprehension and hension questions that go beyond factual recall.
Teachers can combine reciprocalteaching ..and Probes and individual student interviews allow the
assessment by observing each student's p<lJ;ticipa-••i ~ . teacher to discuss reading attitudes with students,
tion as students take their turns,' You can make askqu<'stioris, and obtain information on reading
i

- anecdotal notes either during or ,after the recipr,,; strategies (RotHman 1994). Inteniews also provid(
cal teaching session or use a chedklistfor register-' more information than written surveys. especially
ing the success with which students use various :,'ith ELL students. who may respond to questions
strategies and higher-order questions, You can fol- with only a few ,\'Ords, Interviews are useful at the
IaII' up reciprocal teaching sessions by asking'stu- • beginning of the school year so that teachers can ,
dents to report on their success in using summariz- come to know students' needs and interests. Some
ing, questioning, and prediCting in their indepen- ..guiding'questions to 'use in student interviews are
dent reading, " (adapteo fromRout1nan; 1994): .
• Do yoU like to read? I-Wzyor why not?
RECORD TEACHER OBSERVATIONS • I-Wzatdo you like to read?
One of the most effective ways for a teacher to'asseSs
.Do you read al home? Where? Howoften?
a student's reading comprehension is through." ~
teacher observation (Routman 1994), This assumes' '.'. Who reads to you at home?
that the teacher knows what to [oak for and how to .•• What do you'do when YOli are reading and yau come t
document student progress through observational '. -<a word yo" don 'I know?
methods. Some types of teacher observation to be . ',What do you
, like 10 do in .w"r free lime?
described here are: think-alouds, probes,' and :.
• What' can .1'011 do well?
interviews; reading strategies checklists and rating
scales; miscue analysis and running records; and • IVhat dn yau need to work on?
anecdotal records. • Tell me about the last slory or book YOll read.

Think.Alouds, Probes, and Interviews To


Strategies Checklists or Rating Scales
assess use of reading comprehension strategies,
Checklists and rating scales are good for docu-
teachers can use think-alouds. Think-alauds are
menting reading skills as well as reading compre- •
interactive and focus on active construction of
hension strategies (Cunningham 1982: Routrnan
meaning that emphasizes the use of prior knowl-.
1994). Checklisls are lists of characteristics or behav
edge. Because the think-aloud process may be new
iors that are scored as yes/no ratings (Herman,
or difficult for students, teachers should model the
Aschbacher, and Winters 1992). Based on observa-
process before expecting them to dothink~alouds
. ,. • 1 .. tion. of-student performance. teachers indicate the
independently (Garcia 1994). In a think-aloud,
presence of'a behavior with a check mark, For
you can ask students to look at the title orca story
or book and ask themselves what the title,means,
. .
what they expect the story or book to be about,
. example; a reading skills/strategies checklist indi-
cates which skills essential to reading a student has
exhibited (see Figures 5.18 and 5,19) .. \ process'
how to guess at the meanings of words; and hOl>lo
checklist might be used to assess whether students
selkorrect for errors in comprehension, Once stu-.
have engaged in ,'arious processes such as those
dents do this as a class various times, they will be
required for working in small groups, conducting:
ready to go through think-alouds in groups and
a science experiment. or conducting a research
individually. You can record strategies used in
report: Students can use a self-assessmentchecklis
.think-alouds with a checklist similar.to the one'
. to indicate that thev have completed all tasks 'or.
shown in Figure 5, I i, and take notes onea~h stu-
steps before submitting assigned Work, Because
dent's strengths and needs as they think aloud.
checklists limit'the nature of the teacher's observa-
Think-alouds could be used once or.twice each
tions. they shC;-uldprobablv be used judiciously and
.'lil<lrrer or semester to assess English language
only after 'the\: have been adapted for vour own"
learners' use of reading strategies.
students' need~ (Routman 1994), When working;

I:.!O .\l TIIE:\TIC _\SSESS\IE~T FOR F.'CI.!SII I_\:\(;l .\(;[ l.L\R:'\ER';


Figure 5.17 Think-Aloud Checklist

.'i<~.
~~-'J-.q'
•. ~:"'.c,?-
Student Date
..
Story!Text Grade!Teacher

,..Place a check <,J) or write examples in the spaces.


"'- 0 ••

,;~eadingStrategy Frequently Sometimes Rarely

"'1:'Uses'prior knowledge

2. Sel1-correctswords and sentences


.... --_.~-----_.__ .-._ ..- - -----_ ..... -
3 Rereads

'4. Makes predictions


.. - ---"
...
""5
i .. Forms opinions
1 ___ .-
_._----_.- --- ..-- .

"6. Paraphrases
-----~-- ----------

7. Summarizes
----- --_.- ---- -
8. Adds ideas
-- --_._._- .1 ... ------

9. Other:
.
.

.';

-- .
(t",: -.
7:'i~:.~~~
. 1
.'

.. 0;.

. I!
.,,-,
, '.'
'-~

• I
;:~." . -- --_. ........L________
:~:1 ... ';"
~"-;-
'+-~ ..
-'--'
,
'_~Adapted from Glazer and Brown (1993).
"

. :-@Addison-weSley. Authentic Assessment for E!!glish Language Learners. O'MalleyNaldeZ Pierce.


This page may be reproduced for classroom use.
Reading SkillslStrategies Checklist(for Emerging Readers)

Student Date
Skill/Strategy lst9Weeks 2nd 9 Weeks 3rd 9 Weeks 4th 9 Weeks
Pre-Reader

1. Tracks left/right, up/down

2. Distinguishes upper/lower case


. "

3. Associates sound/symbol

4. Begins to sound out words

5. Can locate words in text , ~,,*J


6. Can read a few words

Developing

7. Begins to self-ecrrect

8. Begins using reading strategies

9. Locates details in simple text

10. Reads short. predictable text

Reader

11. Uses several readir.g strategies

12. Identifies main idea

13. Recognizes logical order

14. Recognizes cause/effect '.

15. Reads short. simple texts - ..


Expanding

16. Draws inferences

17. Predicts outccmes

18. Draws conclusions


,

19. Recognizes paraphrasing

20. Chooses to read '.'

21. Reads chapter books


Ada p red fr.oma checklist develo p eel by middle school ESl teacher O. O'Neill 1994. Fairfax Coun ty Public Schools. Vir 9 inia.

• 0 Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners. Q'MalleyNaldez Pierce: This page may be reprod~ced for classroom use.
FigureS,19 Emergent Literacy Checklist

.""''''''', .
,
Student Date

Rating Code ,
U = Usually evident S = Sometimes evident
NY = Not yet evident N/ A = Not applicable

Peitoririi:mee Observed Date Date Date Date


~...
1. IdentiJies environmental print

2. Exhibits pretend reading

3. Listens with interest to read-alouds

4. Participates in discussions following class read-aloud

5. Reads from left to right

6. IdentiJies a letter and a word

7. Attempts to sound out words


~.~.--~ ,

8. Reads during free time

9. Re::xdsa variety of genres

Ada p ted from a checklist created by elemenla Of E$L leacher J. Eu ry (1994), Fairfax Coun ty Public SChools, Vir 9 inia.

• Q Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners, O'MalleyNaldez Pierce. This page may be reproduced lor classroom use.
with individuals or small groups, you can use a Procedure III consists of 1'0111' parts: (I) initia
reading strategies or decoding checklist and.9J?FU- interview, (2) oral reading, (3) retelling, and (
.. ment students' instructional needs over time.
..;'- .~.
.
reflection on reading. To begin the miscue ana
::':~:'MiscueAnalysis and Running Records One sis the teacher conducts an initial inten'iew to
. , :way to reveal reading strategies is to conduct a mis- at:t how the student feels about him or herself
cue analysis with individual students (Goodman, reader and about the reading process. Typical
Watson, and Burke 1987; Hill and Ruptic 1994; questions include What do )'011 like to read? and ~
Rhodes 1993; Routman 1994; Watson and Henson do you do when rOU come fo a word )'fYU don't know?
1993). Miscue analysis can reveal students' (&e the previ;us section on probes and intenie
strengths in using graphophonemic; syntactic, In the second part of Procedure III, the teache
•~ks stude~ts tCl~ead the story aloud. Students
i semantic, ail<!discourse knowledge. Miscue analy-
I
;
sis provides information of at least three types: (I) sho~ld be told ,~hether thev will be recei,.ing an
help as they read (as in cued questions) or will
the reader's ability to use language and the read-
t expected to read entirely on their own. Tell stu-
ing process, (2) the reader's approaches to read-
'.
ing and readIng comprehenSIOn, ..' and.(3) ""'.1',;~
"1
.-dents that they should. be prepared to retell the
. ,.story in.theipown words when they finish readi
information for revising instructional approaches
and materials. Miscue analysis involves listening to aloud. Using a tvpescript of the text with three
a student read aloud as well as having the student spaces betwe~n each line, the teacher records ill
retell the story or answer comprehension ques- cues on each line and makes brief notes in the
margins. .
tions. While the student reads aloud, the teacher
marks the miscues on a copy of the text. Miscues Once the student has completed the oral read
may include repetitions, substitutions, insertions, ing, the.teacher asks the student to retell the sto
omissions, and self-corrections (Goodman, Rate the retelling for main ston' elements (see t
Watson, and Burke 1987). For English language above section .on retelling). After the retelling, .
learners, pronunciation and intonation errors are lead students in a reflection on the reading, with
not counted (Garcia 1994). self-assessment questions such as: How do )'OU Ihi
. Four different types of miscue analysis have b<;en you did? or ~\lheredid ,vou have trouble reading?
developed by Goodman, Watson, and Burke Analvsis of miscues will reveal how students deco
(1987); Procedure I is the most complex and time- and ~se reading strategies (\\'atson and Henson
1993) .
consuming. Procedures II and III have a similar.
focus and provide in-<lepth information about a. .... Runningrecords are a type of miscue analysis
student's.reading. Procedure.IVis ,an. informal 'developed by-Marie Clay through her work i,ith
analvsis to be usedwithstudents'during individual . young children (Clay 1993a; Hill and Ruptic 199
reading conferences. We limit our discussion here' ..Routman. 1.994)..Unlike miscue analysis, running
to Procedure III. " "1 . records require little preparation. Thev- can be
To conduct Procedure Ill, the teacher identifies marked on any piece of paper and are more easil)
a story that is beyond the grade level indicated by used in dailv routines. Like miscue anah'sis. takin!
the student's test scores bv at least two or three running re~ords requires training. Csinga blank
years. The story should be new to the student and sheet of paper. the teacher places a check mark fo
present a complete text with a beginning, a mid-, everv word that is read correcth' and records word
die, and an end, The length of the story depends the ;tudent reads that do not appear in the text. I
on the age and language proficiency of the read~r. Each blank line corresponds to a lin.e of the text. I
At least 25 miscues need to be generated in order Analvsis of a runnIng record reveals use of readIn~
to profile students' reading strategies. All miscues ;trat~iies and miscue patterns and can inform ,1

are not equal; the most serious miscues are those decisions about text difficulty. individual reading:
that change both syntax and semantics. progress, and specific reading difficulties. Runninl
records can be condilCted on texts of vaning diffi.
ulty (both familiar and unfamiliar to the stu-
ents) in order to determine how the;reader 'reads
• ,~ .' ~_. -.
Anecdotal Records Anecdolal records are ohser-
. \'ational notatiqn~d".~Gr,i1Jinglangtiage and social
. ...;.
{~.;"?T._~.,":--:-: '."":'l,'!"; "-¥."'.~;- •.
~_-.'f _
, .'~1."{;"I ..
l
!

asy texts and what he or she does when problefu . development at'" specific point in time (Romman
olving or processing more difficult texts. 1994). As described in Chapter 4, anecdotal records
To take running records, allow about ten min- are typicallv briefcomments specific to how a stu-
tes for a sample text of 100 to 200words. Indicate dent is performing and what he or she needs to
'ord substitutions, self-eorrections, and hesita- improve. Anecdotal records can he taken in differ-
.ons, and just about everything else the reader ent situations (e:g., discussion groups or individual
oes while reading. Analysis of the running record interv;ews or conferences). Anecdotal records are
oes not penalize the reader formiscues that are useful for documenting a student's progress in
ventually cor~rected. Each word.that is not read reading. Each teacher determines what to record
oud correctly is counted as an error. More than for each student, hut three general rules are.
en percent of errors in the reading rate indicate (Rhodes and Nathenson-Mejia 1992; Thorndike
at the text is a hard one for the reader (Clay and Hagen 1977):
993a). • describe a specific even t
Both miscue'analysis and running records
• report what you see
equire attention to detail, take time to condue!,
.--;r._::'if.~ •• .~ ••. "":'
nd benefit from trammg and praeuce. They may • interpret what you see based on what you know
e most useful when a student isjust beginning to ahout the student
ead or is having difficulty reading. Teachers may Ha\;ng a collaborative classroom where students
ant to seek 'out a Reading Recovery teacher for are trusted to work independently or in groups will
ining on how to conduct running records (see facilitate the teacher's note-taking. To evaluate stu-
lay 1993b). In combination ,,;th retellings or dents. look for patterns of growth by relating an.ec-
omprehension questions, both of these observa- dotal records to other ohservations and actual .
ional approaches can prm;de useful diagnostic student work.
. ormation on studentreading growth. If you are new to anecdotal records, you might
. One study of miscue analysis mth ESL students want to begin mth a student interv;ew, where you
.ndicated the benefits of having studen ts read a sit ,,;th a student to talk ahoUl reading (Roulman
hole story (ranging in length from five to 30 1994). Ask the student to bring a book or story he
pages, approximately) ,,;thout interruption from or she has read and to either read from the book
the teacher (Rigg 1988). By allomng students to or to talk about favorite parts of the book. 'Iou can
read at length; the teacher encourages the reader take anecdotal records during the interv;ewby
to develop e;s'entia! reading strategies, such as pre- noting the title and type of book selected, the stu-
dicting, confifjfiing, and correcting.-This is in con- dent's attitude toward or enjoyment of the text,
trast to emphasizing perfect oral reading perfor- comprehension of main ideas and details. and
mance in the form of "beautiful expression," by strategies used in reading. such as predicting or
which teachers'fuay be emphasiz'i';g pronUllciation sumnlarizing .. -\ sample fortn for anecdotal records
and intonation at the expense of comprehension is presented in Figure .'i.20. Be sure to pn)\'ide pos-
(Rigg 1988). On the other hand, elementary ESL itin' feedback on what lilt., :-;tudent can do. upon
teachers tell ,:!S that when reade~sread with expres- completion of the interview.
sion they tend~to . have good comprehension,
.
bUl Taking anecdotal records can be tilne-consulll-
when they read in a monotone or ignore punctua- ing. challenging. ann rish (Rnlltll1an ]994). The
tion marks.lfl$(~",nd to have min,i~~l comprehen- risk lies in the heginning. when a teacher's notes
sion. Clay -(Hl93b) suggests hav;ng beginning may not he very informati\'e, Howe\'er. with prac-
:readers read orally only until it is clear that they tice. the records get hetter. \'inl will find the
lean decode successfullv; this is to avoid the habit of records useful for ,informing -students. parents, and
lword-by-word reading.' school staff ahont student progress. especially if
F •
I
~
- -- -~--.------

Figure 5.20 Anecdotal Record .,


i<'-':(~
'$';;)~~-
'S}qdent Date

k.~~:~~:
Teacher Grade

I. Reading Seiection

Title

lYpe (circle as many as apply):

fiction non-fiction poetry

biography content text.:!!, jL '! other:

2. Reading Comprehension (understanding of main ideas and detailsl:

3. Strategies (e.g.. using prior knowledge. skimming. predicting. summarizing):

4. Response to Reading latlitude and enjoymenll:.

Adapledtrom Aoutman (1994) .

• C Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment for EngliSh Language Learners. O'Mal1ey:Valdez Pierce. This page may be reproduced for classroc~use.

ff "

I 1 ~t'l \I lIIE'TJ(' \:,~F.SS\IE:'-iT FORf.:\'CI.ISH 1.-\:'\Cl'.\CE. l.L\R'ERS

!
J
ou keep them organized and accessible in a note- them for what we referred to in Chapter 3 as rollec-
x-.,:-j..,t.' .•~

ook or file. Routman suggests color ~oding stu- Lions. ' . .'. .

ent pages in a notebook by day of the week and Portfolio assessment means purposeful selection of
ach day focusing on several students who share specific samples of student work based on student
e same color. Using this approach, the teacher reflection and teacher observations that represent
akes anecdotal records on each student on a classroom activities and document student"';'" .
'eekly basis. While walking around with a clip- progress. Routman (1994) notes that portfolig :
ard, some teachers take notes on yellow sticky assessment at present "seems to overe~phasize"col-
otes or mailing labels and later place these in the lections of things" (p. 330). Collectio;,sma; be a
tudent's .rec9.nt first step toward portfolio assessment, but they
need to be followed by teaching students how to
evaluate their own work (see Chapter 3). In the
EADINGlWRITING PORTFOLIOS
case of reading assessment portfolios, students
ne way to get English language learners to tilOni- need to know the basis for selecting entries.
or their own progress in reading over time and in Teachers can provide guidelines for required and
wide variety'ofcontexts is to teach them how to optional entries, and these can be negotiated with
evelop and maintain reading/writing portfolios students. Teacher guidance can also be provided
(Valdez Pier~_",and O'Malley 1992; Tiernev. Carter, in the form of assisting students in the selection of
d Desai 1991). Portfolios can contain samples of portfolio entries; this might be particularly appro-
tudent writing (from drafts to revisions to final priate for low-level proficiency students and for
opy) , reading logs and reading response journals, those new to the process. Examples of literacy
necdotaI records, and any of the other instruc- portfolios designed by ESL teachers for use on a
'onal/assessment activities describedin this chap- program-wide basis are provided in their portfolio
ter. To ensure that portfolios go beyond a simple cover sheets, as seen in Figures 5.21 to 5.24.
collection of student work, select a purpose and
required contents as described in Chapter 3.
Teachers tell us they have too little time to use Using Reading Assessment in
portfolios, that they don't knew how to decide
what goes inside, or that they don't know how to
Instruction
begin to evaluate portfolios. In Chapter 3 we dis-
cussed possible approaches to answering these Results of authentic assessments of reading can be
concerns. Here we will focus on the possible pur- used in a number of ways,including informing
poses and contents of reading portfolios for ELL program placement, determining grades, and
students. improving instruction. For program placement
Portfolios have most typiCally been used in purposes, you will need to determine whether or
English language arts classrooms to monitor the not student performance meets standards for mov-
development of reading and writing (Tierney. ing on to the next level of your ESL/bilingual pro-
Carter, and Desai 1991). In ESL/ bilingual class-
gram or out of it completely. These standards are
rooms, they are beginning to be used for similar typically set by teachers within the program.'To
purposes. Should you choose to assess only read-
assign grades, ask colleagues about local grading
ing, a portfolio can be compiled which documents policies in order to arrive at your own. \V'hen
each student's growth in reading across time.
assigning grades, be sure that students know what
Although portfolios have been the focus of many each letter grade means by specifving the criteria
training sessions and publications, they are being upon which each one is based (sel' Chapter 2).
used in onlv a limited manner with ELL students. .Assessment results can also be used (0 improve
I Based on o~lr experience with ESL/bilingual
I teachers, those usmg portfolios seem to be using
instruction. By inlpn)\'ing instruction. we mean
making it more meaningful and useful for the stu-

t
Emergent Literacy Portfolio'
.

Student Teacher
:
School Year Grade

Proficiency/Program Level School

Native Language -
,
1st 2nd 3rd 4tl1
Required Entries Quarter Quarter Quarter Quaner

Emergent Literacy Checklist


-t.
, i
.

Dialogue journal

Reading log I
.
Literature response journal

Self-assessment of reading

Optional Entries
.

Fiction story
.

Anecdotal records
-
Revised .'::;Titing . --,-- - ------ --
.

Letters
... .. - .,' , 't

,
"

Comments t ,

- . ..

Adapted by elementary ESl teacher J_ Eury.-Fairfax County Public SChools. Virginia, from an ESl POrtfolio Cover Sheet developed
by Prince William Coun ly Public School E$L Teachers, Vir g inia 1994
Figure5.22 Elementary ReadinglWriting Portfolio Cover Sheet
..
. .. .~ :.: ~"/,:-\~ ..,~-r..,o; ,,:1-- :1""~'_~V'.(J)."';r, 'c' ''':n.;.''
'.
,
"
Student SchoolYear

Teacher Grade
..,
Level Base School

.: . ESL Center
_ • ,::J..~_"C• 7.
.:-: ••y.lHP=!"
2nd 3rd 4th
", lSI
Required Contents Quarter Quarter Quarter Quarter

I. Oral summary
._-~------ ---- -- -- .. - --_.- -- _._- -- ---_ .
2. Story s_YlTlmary(writing or drawing)
.----- _.

3. Writing sample (teacher choice)


,:---~' _._-----_ _-- - ----_ .._-~--
... . .- . - ---- -- - .'-----

4. Student choice of writing {any tvpel


----.- _. - -_._- --- --"

,5. Student self-evaluation

Optional Contents

I List of books/stories read In class


- ... ._- --- ---- -
2. List of books/stories read independently
.. _ .
\

3. Reading ,interest inventory .


},

.-----_.- ._----
4. Literacy development checklist .

_._- - .. _0_----.-
- .-
5. Content-sample (e.g .. reading comprehension .

sample ...project. report)


.. _------ ----- _ .

'.6. Stude.~.l...c;b.?iCe
(any type)

Test Initial Testing Final Testing

,.1PT Date Score Level Dale scnrl'l. Le\'el


--- _._--_.-
.-
Reading Date Score Level Date Score I Leu'l
._--- --_ ... _----- -_._--_. __ .~_._---- ----,--

wriling Date Score Level Date Score Level

.Placement

Comments
~-::' .~ ;-'.':.r~ '.
( M~ki1}
. .. .
PfOgfe~~
Developed by elementary school ESL teachers, Prince William County Public Schools. Virginia.

, .
,+ Q Addi.son-Wesley. Authentic Asse5smen~ for E[1glish Langu.age Learners. O'MalleyNaldez Pierce.
This page may be reproduced for classroo~.use. }{E.\j)I~(; \Ssr •...•
S\IF.:'\.! l:!lJ
.

.'

Figure 5.23 Middle School ReadinglWriting Portfolio Cover Sheet


.

a!

Student Grade

Teacher School

Level School Year

1st 2nd 3rd 4th


Required Contents Quarter Quarter Quarter Quarte

I . Cloze sample
.
.
2. Writing sample

3. Self-rating strategies checklist "t~'
.

4. List of books read .


5. Reading passage with comprehensiOn questions

Optional Contents

I. Content area samples

2. AudiolVideo performances

3. Illustrations
.
4. Other'

Teacher Observations ,

I st Quarter 2nd Quarter : 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter .


. , .
. . " "-''''-", ". .. . .. '. . " _. ~
. .,., "'-, •..• . ..
,~
.,

Parent Comments

,
.

Signature. Signature Signature


.. , Signature,
Developed by middle school ESL teachers, Prince William County Public Schools, Virginia.

• C Addison-Wesley. Authentic Assessment fo, English Lang~a'ge Learners. O'MalleyNaldez

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This page may be reproduced for classroom use.

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igure 5.24 High School ReadlnglWriting Portfolio Cover Sheet

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Student Grade

Teacher School
,

Level School Year


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- ;:,~..;r1>'
Date of Entry

< .. 2nd 3rd 4111


- lSI
Quarter Quarter
. Required;~onte(lts Quaner Quaner

I . Reading passage with comprehension queslions


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2. Cloze sample

3. Writing sample

4. Written response to oral slimulus


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5., Written respOJ1se TOprompt/literature

6. Self-rating strategies checklist


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7. Student choice

Optional Contents

1. Content area samples


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2, Audio performances
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3. LiSTreadings, with shan synopsiS


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4. Oral. language
~~
sample (including nalive language)
'

5. Other

lSI Quar,ter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4tl1 Quarter

TeSTscores

LPT

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Iii; SignCiHJr('
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I Developed by high school ESL teachers. Prince William County Public' Schools, Virginla.
WOw rio
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J-.@Addison-wesley. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners. O'MalleyNaldez Pierce.
" This, page may be reproduced lor classroom use.

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1,
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I
dent. How can we use assessment results to moti-
Conclusion
vate students to read and write more, to promote
responsibility for selt~monitoring, to communitate .
to students what they need to improve' We can This chapter has prm'ided an overview of the
:begin by using multiple assessments in diverse con- processes of reading in a first and a second lan-
.texts across time. Because individuals may vary guage, commonalities and important difference
,;'idelv in their performance across tasks and set-' between these two processes, and implications
tings, we need to collect information on ,which from research for the instruction and assessmen
conditions best support the development of each of English language learners. We described step
student's literacy (Wolf 1993). The informed to planning and designing valid and reliable
teacher observes students, keeping information on teacher-made assessments of reading, including
what studenis read, the contexts in which reading identifYing purpose, planning time for assessme
activity takes place, and the tasks that students involving students in self- and peer assessment,
engage in related to reading (Afflerbach 1995). developing rubrics and scoring procedures, and
For example, if students seem highly motivated to setting standards. \I'e provided examples of
read about a specific topic.and then seem to lose instructional acti,ities that can also be used for
interest, try having students read. in different COI1- . assessment of reading. We made suggestions for
texts, from individual silent reading to literature designing reading/writing portfolios and record-
discussion groups. When students lack background ing teacher obsen'ations.Finallv, we discussed
knowledge, help them acquire it or show them instructional uses for results of reading assess-
how to make predictions from cues in a text. If stu- ments.
dents lack rapid, automatic word recognition skills, Some basic points to remember in the assess-
you can help them develop those skills by increas- ment of reading of English language learners
ing the amount of challenging, interesting materi- include:
al read as well as by increasing the frequency of
1. Activities for assessing reading should be base
reading.
on activities for teaching reading.
In determining how to use assessment results to
improve instruction, make hypotheses about what 2. Assessment ofreading, like instruction, takes
students need and check against various sources of planning, time. and experience.
information un til you have iden tified the most 3. Assessment of reading should include both
beneficial combination of topics, settings, and con' decoding skills and reading comprehension
texts for students. As an observer of students, strategies.
,notice what.students.sayabout reading and writing .4. 'Assessment of reading should include student
and how they use literacy in daily tasks.'Students attitudes and feelings toward reading,
who do not use literacy for authentic purposes
5..Assessment of reading should hold student.s
(their own) or who do not read frequently wi1r''':'
accountable for how the\' use time in class for
need to be observed close Iv;\'Ou will need to trv to
I , -

reading. -.
••

inake out the puzzle each student poses by plan-


ning, 'teaching, observing, and reflecting 6. Assessmentof reading should be conducted
(Afflerbach 1993) and by talking with students regularly and be ongoing.
about how they view reading and writing (Siu- 7. Students should be activelv in\'Oln,d in their
Runyan 1993). o\vn assessnlenL-whether it be in setting crite-
ria, engaging in self~asst'ssl11ent. or t'\"aluating
peers.
8. Teacher observations of reading should be
recorded :sy-aem,-ilicalk

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9. Assessment of reading should consist of multi- APPLICATION ACTIVITIES


.. pie assessments for each student in order to
monitor student progress. •,,' i." .•.
. '

I. Wnatjmpl.i~ations for assessment can vou draw'


10. Results of reading assessment should be tised
from the following instructional acti\ities: (a) .'
to inform students, parents, and teachers of
direct strategy instruction in reading :r"'jo';,.,,,~
compie-
needed changes in student performance and
hension. and (b) opportunities for pers~,n'al
in instruction.
responses to reading? .
.•.• .
2. Make a plan for completing the following steps:
(a) identify a purpose for reading assessment,
(b) identify the major instructional goals you
want to assess, (c) identify instructional activities
or tasks that can also serve for assessment, (d)
develop scoring rubrics'for these activities, (e)
decide how often you wanUo collect informa-
tion on reading progress, and (I) decide how
often to prO\ide students with feedback on their
performance. Get feedback from a colleague on
your plan.
3. Develop and carry out a plan for teaching stu-
dents how to engage in self-assessment and peer
assessnlent in reading.
4. If you currently teach, try one or lIlore of the
following fOrlns of assessment \\ith your class:
retellings. reading logs. literature response
logs/journals. literature discussion groups, doze
tests. texts with comprehension questions, and
collaborative reading or reciprocal teaching.
5. Tryout one or mort' of the follo\\ing- forms of
assessment: thin k-alouds/ probes/ in teniews,
reading strategies checklistsor rating scales,
running records. miscue analysis. or anecdotal
records. Connnn the restllL .••YOU obtain by com-
paring different forms of assessment with the
same students.
6. Outline a reading/writing portfolio with
required and optional entries that reflect
InSlI'UCli()ll.

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1:1-1 \t If "STI< -_ISSES'''LYI FOR E:>;CI./SH I.':>;' :I.-":E LHR:>;ERS


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WRITING
ASSESSMENT
• • • • • • • ••• • • ••• • • • • • ••••• • •• • •

This chapter focuses on authentic assessment of tion and writing assessment. As in other chapters~
writing, We begin "ith an oveniew of the nature of we ha,'e induded sample assessments that ran be
writing in schools, including the role of tilt' writt'r, lIsed to e,'aluate student proficiencv, \Ve ellcourage
the purposes of writing, and recelll innovations in )'Oll 10 use or adapt any of these samples according
writing instruction, We then descobt, the natUft' of to the English proficiency of your students or to
the writing task, identify various types of autht'lltir adapt the samples for native language assessment.
assessments in writing, and suggest a number of Writing assessment with ELL students meets at
scoring rubors for "Titing. Two important pans of least three purposes. First, writing assessment in
this discussion are self- and peer as",,,'mt'nt. Wc English and/or in the native language is used for
" condude by describing instructiOlia! USt'Sof as,,"'" idclItilication and program placement in ESL or
ment results and the interaction between instrtK' bilingual programs, Moreover, ELL student, are

WR!TI:,\(, .\SSEss.\r[~T 1:'l?)


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1
typically reclassified as English proficient hased on
We can get a broad picture of the emergence
writing assessment in English when they are pre-
new views on lIl'iting by looking more closely at
pared for grade-level instruction. Second. writing
writer, the purposes for writing. and the nature
assessment can be used to monitor student
writing instruction.
progress and determine if changes in instruction
are required to meet studen t needs. The ongoing
THE WRITER
assessment of student writing enables review of stu-
dent growth over time and a determination of the Writing is a personal act in which writers take id
success of instructional approaches. A third pur- or prompts and transform them into .self-initiat
pose of writing assessment with ELL students is ed" topics (Hamp-Lyons ] 990). The writer draw
accountability. Writing assessment is often con- . on background knowledge and complex mental
ducted as pan of district or statewide accountabili- 'processes in. developing new:,insightS: To write w
ty assessment programs for all students. In some students need to incorporate the purpose or
cases, students must attain a minimum score for prompt into their own unique approach to writi
grade-level advancement or for high school gradu- How do the\' do this' By calling on se,'eral differ
ation. These vaqing uses of assessment results, ' ~, ent kinds of knowledge. 'Let's assume that you h
point to the importance of accurate writing assess- . asked a student to "Titean essay on an experien
ment with ELL students. the class shared together, perhaps watching a
demonstration on home fire safety conducted in
the classroom b~'local firefighters. The purpose
Nature of Writing in School. the essay is to convey to other students precautio
thev can follow in fire safety.
In writing the essay, your students wiI1rely on a
Teacher judgment has always played an important least four types of knowledge: knowledge of the '.
role in the assessment of writing. Teachers ask stu- content, procedural knowledge to organize the
dents to write on any number of topics and then content, knowledge of conventions of writing, an
assess the substantive information contained in the procedural knowledge required to apph' the thre
message, the clarity of the message conveyed, and other types of knowledge in composing a written
the mechanics of writing (spelling, capitalization, product (Hillocks 1987). In expressingknowledge
and punctuation). Teachers typically define the the content, students conduct a memon' search an
topics for writing, establish the criteria for evaluat- call on prior knowledge and experience. Wbat di
ing the writing, and grade the writing themselvd. students see and hear (i.e., what images and con-,
This teacher-£entered approach is not surprising ceptsdid they' retain from the safety demonstra-
given that many teachers have origins in a trans- .tion)?Generating ideas is one of the important
mission model of learning and instruction. in sub-processes that contributes to"planning in writ-
which teachers provide the basic knowledge to be ", ing (flower and Hayes 1981). Brainstorming, mak
imparted to students. The transmission 'model i~o- ing lists or semantic maps, collaborating with
lates content areas in teaching and emphasizes peers, illld elaborating on key.ideas with personal.
masiery of component skills in sequential order. information are useful retrieval strategies.
One by-product of this model has been that stu- Second, students need the procedural knowledge to
dents have learned to write in isolation from read- organize the fOntent. to group ideas, and to sequenc'e
ing and other activities related to literacy. Another the ideas in ways that match the purposes of the
by-product has been that teachers have tended to writing. That is. once students ha\'e retrie\'ed the
O\'er-emphasize mechanics (spelling, capitaliza- information .. the\' can.begin to manipulate and
tion. and punctuation) and gram mat in their eva!- organize it. Thev must also formulate goals and
U;Uill11S
.
al the expense of content and meaninu0 in plans for creating ~n organized stfu<;(ure for their
"Tiling (Glazer and Brown 1993).
compositions. Thus. more is required in writing ..

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han just prior knowledge about a topic. Students should look at the context in which the writing
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ust be able to manipulate ~is C;0ntent in i occurs. _,',?P;.:'.\~~;';:¥';:J,~rf'\


esponding to a writing prompt or in generating a <1'"'
,ritten composition suitable to the topic. PURPOSES AND TYPES OF WRITING
The third t}pe of knowledge students use in writ-
,
Students write to accomplish a \'arietyof purposes
ng is knawledge oj discourse structures, syntactic Jonns, and use a number of different genres to do so.
ndconventian5 of "'Titing. Discourse structures are Purpose in writing determines the nature of the
\'ident in ~e~ays that various types of writing are writing. Students need clear specification of the
rganized.:.~o(example, persuasive essays often purpose in order to plan and compose a piece that
ntroduce.a:pr?blem or question, state a position. responds to the task. The genre defines the st}'le
resent ar~entsip. support of the position or
the writer will use and suggests choices aboutthe
gainst other. alternatives, and draw some implica-
language and structure of the composition (:\AEP
ions of the position taken. Fables and autobio-
1987). Writers who gain control over various gen-
raphical compositions have different structures
res have a broader repertoire of writing abilities
ltogether. Writers must be familiar with the vari.
and an increased understanding of the value of
us ways of organizing different t}pes of writing
writing for interpersonal communication, for doc-
d in expressing meaning through syntactic con-
umenting important ideas. and for achieving their
structions and'writing conventions (e.g .. format-
o\\"n ends than those who do not.
ting and mechanics) .
. The fourth t}pe of knowledge students rely on is Purpose For what purposes can students be
procedural knowledge Jar integrating all the other f)'pes oj asked to write? There are at least three purposes in
knowledge. This is the basis for composition. Qualitv writing: informative writing. expressive/narrative
writing does not automatically result from simple writing. and persuasive writing, The three purpos-
knowledge oHormal grammar (Gebhard 1983) or es described are similar to the purposes used in
even the ability to recognize "good" paragraphs national assessments (NAEP 1987) and encompass
(Hillocks 1987). Rather, students must use proce- the major types of writing in programs for ELL stu-
dures that combine the three t)pes of knowledge dents as well as in many state writing assessments
'ust indicated in composing a written piece that (e.g., California Assessment Program 1990;
responds to the original purpose. Students writing Maryland State Department of Education 1987;
on fire safety in the home who can remember the Vermont Department of Education 1990).
procedures or who can recall the rules for gram- \Vriters use expositarJ or inJarmative writing to
mar have only the beginnings of writing. Students share knowledge and give information, directions,
need extensive opportunities for writing in which or ideas. Examples of informative writing include
all of the type's1bfknowledge are combined as they describing events or experiences, analyzing con-.
compose a message for a purpose with a particular cepts. speculating on Causes and effects. ai,d de\:el-
audience. oping new ideas or relationships. This type of
These four t}'Pes of knowledge used in writing writing could include. a' biography about a \....ell-
have at least two implications for writing assess- known person or someone from the writer's life,
: ment ",ith ELL students: First, writing assessment The \\-Titer can rely on existing knowledge. or new
:.should evaluate more aspects of wTiting than just sources of information and can cover a range of
I mechanics':and grammar. The types of knowledge thinking skills from simple recall to allah'sis and
required in writing go far beyond these familiar synthesis. Informatiye writing helps writers inte-
elements!"~e,,ond, writing assessment should cap- grate new ideas and examine existing knowledge.
ture som,(i)f the processes and complexit\ Expressive/narrative writing is a personal or imagi-
involved- ion ",Ti~ingso tha~tteachers can know in natiye expression in which the writer produces sto-
which aspects of the writing process students are ries or essays, This type of \\Tiring is often based on
having difficulty. In addition, writing assessment observations of people. objects. and places and

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mav include creative speculations and interpreta-


ries .. jourilal ell tries. letters. nt'\\".o,,;paper reports
tions. It mav incli,de an autobiographical incident
. . •. p manllals. and t"t':,earch papers. The \\Titer's sel
or a reflection in which a "Titer describes an
lion of genre depends on the purpose and ofte
occurrence in her or his Own life. This type of ';'rit-
detennines the ~r:'le.or decisions about langua
ing is often used for entertainment, pleasure, djs-
and organization (NAIP 19R7). For example, a
covery or, simply, as "fun" writing and can include
newspaper repon ",ill have a differenl style and
poems and short plays. '
organization tlull a research paper. \\'jth begin
In persuasive writing, writers attempt to influence
ning-Ievel ELI.,tudents. the genre may include
others and initiate action or change. This type of
correspondence" to. friends, descriptions of exp
'Hiting is often based on background information,
ences shared ",ith the class, journals or learnin
facts, and examples the writer uses to support the
logs; brief summarieso,r notes ..and .description
,iewexpressed. Writers use higher-level cognitiv!,
various experiences. Two important genre that
skills in this tj-pe of writing, such as analysis and :.
\vill discuss later (n describing writing assessmeil
evaluation, to argue a particular point ofviewina
afe dialogue journals and learning logs.
comincing way. This type of writing might include
evaluation of a book,. a mmie; 'aconsum~r proa,L .. ' _WRITlNGJNSTRUCTION.
uct, 'or a'controversial issue or problem. Writers .
can also use personal experience or emotional ,~ In traditional writing .instructioh:-reading and \\"
appeals to argue in support of their ,iew' .t'~ ih~
ing skills were taught independenth' of the \\Tilil
three purposes of writing described here can over- process. Teachers ~"fractioned" the curriculuIll il
lap, as when students write an info~mati,:e: persua- a variet\' of small skills -that were ta'ught largely il
SIve essay. teacher-direeted manner with little student pani
The three purposes of writing describe the kinds pation (Calkins 1994: Tchudi 19911. It "'as
of writing students do in second language class- assumed that kno\dedge about \\Titing corlid be'
rooms as well as in grade-level classrooms. ELL stu- assessed bv asking students to respond to multipl
dents, for example, write expressive narratives de' choice itenls on '.ocabulary. spelling. Plutctuatior
scrib ing personal experiences and write to inform and grammar. WI'iting skills were also taught ind
using biographies of peaple they have known. pendently of content-area instructioh. such as
Many teachers also ask .ELL students to write per- social st'udies and scien'c"e. pedlaps be'cause \\'riti
suasive essays in which they analyze a point of ,ie~ '-skills were presumed' to transfer once' instruction
or a book thev have read. had been completed. Two recent departures fi'on
, I '.

An important point to.remember is that student ,this traditional paradigm are Process \I"riting alld
writing ability may varyconsidetalily depending (in ..writing across the curriculum: Each .of these
the purpose (Herman 1991). Thatis, students who .instructi~;lal approaches has str91~g.implications
write excellent informative essavs mav not write for assessing writing with ELL ~i'Lide'l~
ts.
,; L-'
good expressive essays. E,'en within a particular:
Process Writing In Process Writing, students
purpose, students' writing may ,'ary depending on
.are in\'oh'ed'in th~ construction of narrati\"es on
the topic or prompt, which may match conyenient- .
topics in which they.hm"e a personal iilterest
Iv with prior knowledge in some cases and. less so
(Hudelson 19891: Students share their writing \l"it
in others. Assessnlent across a l;ariety of pqrposes .
peers, who comment on Ihe piece and ask ques-
and prompts is therefore necessa]"\"to obtain gen-
tions or offer comrllents ~Uld encc)llLl,~ement".~
eralizable inforrnation about studeT:!t p~rf?i-Inanc~
Student-teacher conferences -are also an inlportan I
and progress, in ""Titing.
fonn of feedback students Ff,'Ct'ive un their \~Titing
Genre Students can use a variety of genres or' Stu -(tents lIse- t~~'-~eedback[0 ed.i~a.,~dre\is.e tI~ei~
t~"pesof writing to accomplish "Tiling ta~ks. EX<1m-. work. 'Pn Kess \\ r1tlll,!! marks ~1sInh from exdusl\"t,
- pit's 4)f diflen;tll genres ai"e biographies. essa~'s,Slo- emphasis (-)11 the l)rI ,duets of \\Tiling 10 elnphasis
on the proce:o,,;sof \\Titing- and interactive learning
etween teachers and students with a focus on learning (Newe}~d,~8~)?:S.'?'1:eteachersin the con-
eaning. ' ~.:..t ' tent ar\'as,'particlilai'lfin,math 'and science, feel
To encourage Process Writing, teachers ca~"" that -t'rhihg\iistruction should beli,ft to language
model the selection of topics or the writing process arts teachers. The '\Titing across the curriculum
itself. Three stages of the writing process are: (I) movement counters this view by extending wTiting
ewriting, or motivation, discussion, and concept to all content areas. We discuss "Titing across the
development; (2) writing, which takes place in curriculum further in Chapter 7.
classrooms?~at home so students can rely on both
teachers an~;;other students for feedback and sup-
port; and (~);Postwriting, in which students share Authentic Assessment of Writing
g
their writirt 1with others, read aloud what thev
have written; or exchange writing with other ~tu-
In examining the nature of writing, we have
dents (Gebhard 1983). In the pre"Titing stage, stu-
looked at the ,niter and the type of knowledge
dents might use graphic organizers as an aid to
writers bring to the writing task. We have indicated
clarify the concepts they will use in writing. During
that the purpose ofv.Titing and the genre deter-
the writing process, opportunities should be pro-
mine what and how students write. We have high-
vided for st,l!dents
~~ to edit and revise their work . lighted twOrecent changes in wTiting instruction
share ideas \vith other students on how to impron,
to set the stage for describing changes in assess-
their \o\rriti~g,.or re\lew the criteria against \...hich
ment. These changes have strong implications for
the work.will. be evaluated "ith an eye . toward what is assessed, for how assessment is conducted,
improvement (Peregoy and Boyle 1993).
for the teacher's role in aligning assessment with
An important component of Process 'Writing
ins