English learners are affected by a plethora of factors, both personal and environmental. As a result, teachers have to use tools and approaches tailored to the students’ different needs to help them learn effectively. Assessments are one example of strategies that can be applied to better understand these factors, what impacts the student’s abilities, and their progress, and promote accountability. The assessment of English language learning students helps to promote learning by allowing to examine the progress of the students.
As noted by Dr. Lorraine Valdez Pierce, this can help keep the educational institutions and the teachers accountable and ensure that they are not overlooked by the government. Through these assessments, one can understand the capabilities and the progress of each individual and compare it to previous results. This enables the monitoring process, which can also help improve the learning by allowing one to see the areas where more attention should be dedicated. As a result, educators can make inferences based on the collected data.
In the podcast, Dr. Lorraine Valdez Pierce states that teachers face three key challenges when addressing the needs of students learning English – culture, previous experience with education, and native language. Assessments can help the teacher understand how each of these factors affects their students – for example, and previous experience can affect a student’s literacy or lack of it. Notably, as Delia and Dr. Valdez Pierce emphasize, teachers are constantly engaged in assessing students’ capabilities, either formally or informally. To conclude, assessments are an essential element of working with English learners that allows collecting data. This information can be applied to better understand the students, their progress, and promote accountability.
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Eastern Stream Center on Resources and Training (ESCORT). (2003). Help! They don’t speak English. Starter Kit for Primary Teachers. Oneonta, NY: State University College.
Pitoniak, M. J., Young, J. W., Martiniello, M., King, T. C., Buteux, A., & Ginsburgh, M. (2009). Guidelines for the Assessment of English Language Learners. Educational Testing Service.
Stefanakis, E. (1998). Whose judgment counts? Assessing bilingual children, K-3. Portsmouth, NH: Heinamann.