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Forum for discussing the design, creation and implementation of assessments, including alternative and performance-based assessments

Uses of Assessments 

Posts: 16

Posts: 16
※This posting is a summary of the discussion that took place in the networking session at the Coalition Conference in 2022
There are many ways to use assessment. One of them is to use valid and qualified proficiency-based assessments to officially recognize students’ bilingual/biliteracy ability. The qualified tests are scored on one of two language testing scales, the ACTFL scale and the CEFR Scale. Based on the scores of the tests in two languages, students can be awarded Seal of Biliteracy and Global Seal of Biliteracy. Recognition of these awards is increasing for academic and employment purposes. This type of official recognition motivates and provides a clear goal to all language learners, let alone students in community-based heritage language schools (CBHLS hereafter). One question to ask is how many CBHLS promote this type of official recognition of their students’ bilingual/biliteracy proficiency, and how they align their curriculum to proficiency-based instruction so that their students graduate from CBHLS with this credential.
The other type of assessment is the one that measures a student's learning outcomes. Instructors employ formative and summative assessments regularly in their classes to assess if students understand instructional content, and if learning objectives are achieved. One of the challenges that CBHLS face is varied levels of language proficiency and cultural sensitivity among students. One participant in this networking session teaches not only heritage language learners but also English language learners (second language learners), and world language learners (foreign language learners) in one class. This mixed class makes learning goals and assessment very challenging. Differentiated instruction based on a student's background knowledge and language level is a must in the classes of CBHLS to scaffold student’s learning, so as differentiated assessments.
Another example is to use oral mode for the students whose literacy skills are at an emergent level and cannot show their understanding by reading and writing. Students show their understanding by speaking. Technology tools that make individual assessment easy are:
● Flip (formerly Flipgrid) (free app) : video discussion app https://info.flip.com/
● MOTE (free app): audio recording app https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mote-voice-notes-feedback/ajphlblkfpppdpkgokiejbjfohfohhmk?hl=en-US
Another technology tool that integrates all instructional activities and assessment tools in one place
● Nearpod (need to pay, free version is limited in its function) https://nearpod.com/

Another challenge mentioned is a diaspora language. Hindi Urdu heritage language learners in the United States belong to diverse language and cultural backgrounds. Hindi HLL is grouped either as the language associated which is further bifurcated as cognates and non-cognate, ancestral or cultural associated. Hindi HLLs have good receptive and aural skills. They find paragraph-length discourse and writing in Hindi challenging. Cognate Hindi HLL code switch with their associate second language.
Dr. Gabriela Nik Ilieva's paper on Hindi Urdu HLL was mentioned for reference.

Illieva, G.N. (2021). Hindi Heritage Language Learners' Performance during OPIsCharacteristics and Implications
An interview with Dr. Gabriela Nik Ilieva from New York University about Hindi heritage language learners and their performance during ACTFL OPIs.

(Recorded by Bhavya Singh, Gabriela Nik Ilieva, and Masako Douglas)
edited by Masako on 10/29/2022
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