FC Assessment: Lesson 4

Assessment: Lesson 4


In order to decide what methods to use in assessment, it is important to clarify what you are trying to assess. While there are numerous methods to assess language, what you want to measure will determine how you assess students.
For example, is the assessment about the ability to use certain phrases appropriately in a situation? Or the comprehension of written text in a foreign language? Or progress toward the course goals?
Think about how you would define each of these three terms:
• measurement
• evidence
• inference


The concept of validity.
Duration: 05:50


The validity of inferences made depend on the assessment having a degree of reliability. Reliability could be described as the consistency of an assessment. It can be internal (the questions in the test) or external (the context of the testing situation). In large scale testing, reliability is a major issue, but it also holds relevance in the classroom.

What are some ways to increase the reliability of assessments you use in the classroom?

A definition reliability in terms of issues for classroom assessment.
Duration: 02:19

Assessment for Learning

Assessment for Learning (AfL) is the idea that learners should be part of the the assessment process. It includes building learner’s awareness of their progress in learning and encourages peer and self-assessment. Students may be asked to help design tests or the rubrics for scoring. They may also provide their classmates with suggestions and support. Assessment for Learning helps students evaluate their strengths and areas of needed improvement.

In an article by Chappuis and Stiggins (2002), three key components of Assessment for Learning are discussed:

• Student involved assessment. Students are not passive in the assessment process but are engaged in developing the assessment, determining what a good performance entails, and learning to score through models provided by the teacher.

• Effective teacher feedback. Teachers are the models for students to learn what is important in their performance. So feedback should be clear, descriptive, and illustrated for students. Students need guidance in giving their peers feedback as well as in evaluating themselves. This goal is grounded in the teacher modeling effective feedback.

• The skills of self-assessment. AfL should lead to self-directed learning, which requires learners evaluate themselves. This skill is not easy and requires guidance from the teacher. Students should be asked to think about their goals, their current ability, and how to work from one to the other. Feedback and self-assessment are critical parts of this process.

What is the difference between assessment of learning and assessment for learning?

Key ideas in assessment for learning and benefits of this approach.
Duration: 02:37


Language assessment can be an integral part of learning for students and teachers in language classrooms. It also appears in a multitude of decisions made by teachers, students and administrators. Assessment is used when placing students into courses, diagnosing their needs, determining when learning goals are met, evaluating teaching methods, as well as providing learners with self-evaluative information.
When teachers decide to use assessment, they should carefully consider why they are assessing learners, what information are they trying to access, and how can they best elicit this information. This module provides some ideas and examples for answering these questions. Teachers are also encouraged to bring students into the assessment process as a way to synthesize learning and assessment.

Instructor’s Final Comments

“During my first several years as a language teacher, I became really sick of tests, and would have been very surprised that I have since become a specialist in this area. I felt particularly frustrated by the power that examinations held over my students’ motivation and goals. Slowly I came to realize that the more I knew about testing and how to develop and use assessment in meaningful ways, the less I felt this struggle. When I think of assessment as more than “the final exam”, I can see opportunities for learning and for uses that improve teachers’ understanding of their students and that can be motivating to students. My hope is that this module helps teachers understand the usefulness of assessment for their classroom purposes and gives them an informed voice in decisions made with assessments.”




[Module Instructor Dr. Lia Plakans]. 2010. [Assessment]. In Foreign Language Teaching Methods. Carl Blyth, Editor. Texas Language Technology Center, University of Texas at Austin. http://coerll.utexas.edu

The material is provided free of charge for those that wish to study it.

How ever a no obligation exam is available at the end of this module.