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Unit 21:

Choosing assessment
activities

by
Porntip Bodeepongse
Assessment…
• means collecting information about
learners’ performance in order to
make judgements about their learning.
• can be done formally or informally.

Task 1:
• What are the differences between
formal and informal assessment?
Formal assessment
• can consist of tasks with single
answers (e.g. multiple-choice
questions, matching tasks, true/false
questions) that are easy to mark.
• Objective test tasks will give us
information about learners’ knowledge
of particular language items and
specific areas of language skills.
Some formal assessment
• makes use of more real-life tasks,
such as oral interviews, letters and
essays, to get information about
learners’ general ability to use spoken
and written language.
When preparing a class test
• include a number of different tasks so
that we get a good picture of
learners’ strengths and weaknesses
and to test the main things we have
taught.
• choose assessment tasks for young
learners very carefully, making sure
that tasks are familiar, not too
abstract or too difficult.
Informal assessment
• The amount of informal assessment we
do depends on a number of things:
– The size of the class
– The age of the learners (good for YL
as formal tests are too abstract)
– The language knowledge or skills
– The frequency of formal tests or
examinations
Key concepts
• Important for learners to know that
we are assessing them, how and when
we are doing it.
• Informal assessment of productive
skills in large classes, we need to
assess small numbers of learners in
different lessons. We can record
opinions on a record sheet or a check
list.
Key concepts 2
• We can carry out informal assessment
of receptive skills by checking
learners’ answers to reading or
listening tasks, and taking notes on
their performance.
• We can make separate assessments of
Ss grammatical and lexical knowledge
by using language games or quizzes,
or by monitoring practice activities
and making notes of frequent errors.
Key concepts 3
• We can give feedback to individuals or
to whole class in informal assessment
or return to the problems later in a
revision lesson.
• We may also assess other things such
as motivation and effort through
observation and also by talking to
learners about their learning.
Key concepts 4
• It is important to keep records of
informal assessment so that we have
information to report or give
feedback on our learners’ progress.
• These records can be simple, with
headings for, e.g. grammar,
vocabulary, language skills, motivation
and general progress against each Ss’
name.
Formal and informal assessment
• We may use the same methods for
both formal and informal assessment.
• In the case of productive skills we
need to judge learners’ performance
against clear rubrics or descriptions
of different levels of skill or give
separate descriptions of different
sub-skills.