Assessment in the Bilingual Classroom
Course objectives and knowledge acquired:
Some of the methods discussed includes formal and informal methods of assessment
which a teacher or administration may require. Within the formal arena
you may find, Standardized/Norm-Referenced Criterion-Referenced Test. The
need for formal assessment satisfies the need for accountability. Informal
assessments might include daily school work or observations. This is done
to ensure that students understand and comprehend what is being taught
in the classroom setting.
Describe the different methods and purposes for assessing bilingual
In class we had several discussions on the various tools that could be
used to assess our students. Observations, dialogue journals, portfolios
and conferencing are some ways of assessing a students’ work. The
traditional method of using teacher made test and text provided test are
also tools of assessment that can be utilized.
Apply methods of bilingual (Spanish-English) assessment. *
Many of the articles and text that we read gave ideas and suggestions on
various assessment techniques that should be used in the educational setting.
Immediately what comes to mind are the Criterion Referenced Test, Iowa
Test of Basic Skills, and Interim Benchmark Assessments. I have had the
opportunity to facilitate these tests to my students along with other students
that are given provisions due to language issues. As educators we can study
and apply those various techniques to assist our ELL population however
a universal acknowledgement of understanding is lacking by the system.
.Provisions provided to ELL students includes having the instructions read
verbatim in Spanish and then having the test read verbatim in English.
Although there is a language barrier the test is still read and administered
in English. Unfortunately this provision does not meet the assessment methods
and techniques as learned because we are not measuring their knowledge
Utilize different bilingual (Spanish-English) assessment methods
and techniques in various educational settings. *
A common thread that was woven in class discussions dealt with the importance
of integrating assessments in all subject areas. It is vital that all educators
have an understanding that the expectations for ELL students should be
as high as those for mono-lingual students. If we are to create an environment
of successful learners then we need to raise the bar of knowledge and expectations
for all of our students not just those who enter school speaking English.
Coordinate bilingual (Spanish-English) assessment with subjects
other than language. *
There are many subject areas where non-traditional assessments can be done.
For example, in math, assessments can be done by looking at the student
solve a problem using manipulatives. In writing, a student can complete
and answer a prompt by illustrating their ideas and in science projects
can be created to show understanding.
Implement bilingual (Spanish-English) assessment procedures
for coordinating instruction in content areas.*
In class we discussed various methods of assessment for our bilingual students.
Not only is it important for us as educators to be aware of effective assessment
procedures it is equally important that our school environment supports
the instructional programs for bilingual students. One of the activities
that we did in class gave us an opportunity to complete a “Checklist of
Criteria for Effective EE Programs”. effective
ell program This activity allowed us to assess how our
school administrators, teachers and support staff communicates with the
community at large, academic and cultural standards, appropriateness of
curriculum and instruction and development in language, academic domains
and culture. The results were very interesting and reaffirmed the importance
of educating teachers, administration and support staff on the importance
of understanding second language acquisition.
Apply principles of evaluating a bilingual (Spanish-English) instruction
An activity that I found extremely valuable included completing a “Classroom
Materials Checklist” and “Checklist for Choosing Materials” checklist
. What I found to be surprising is that I teach a transitional third grade
classroom and the materials that are provided by the school are not appropriate
for my students. Additionally, I work at an Edison school so all of the
texts I use are required and we do not have the liberty to delineate from
the structured curriculum. I enjoy the structured format of our curriculum
because I feel that our students benefit from structure however I do not
like the materials as I feel they are not culturally sensitive or appropriate
for second language learners. Another aspect that I don’t support is the
time constraints that are placed for instructional time. An example that
quickly comes to mind are the instructional times allotted to teach math.
Our math program works on the premise that students will gather information
and concepts in a spiraling mode of instruction. So you move on regardless
if concepts are understood as the topic will be revisited several chapters
down the road. Naturally this creates problems for our second language
learners as they are still trying to understand the language used to explain
Collect and use information and criteria for evaluating bilingual
*goals taken directly from course syllabus
Some of the activities that we did in class forced me to question our
school structure and the expectations that administration has for
our ELL students. I will take on the position of ELL Facilitator
our school for the 2005-2006 school year. Some of the changes that I have
In class we used the text, Dual Language Instruction. It proved
to be very informative however the chapter that made on impression on me
was Chapter Nine: Advocacy. I am committed to making a difference for our
students as I chose to teach Bilingual Education. The various strategies
that were taught in this course are skills and ideologies that I will be
using as I attempt to assist our ELL students move forward with their educational
presenting to new teachers effective teaching strategies for
ELL students along with varying assessment tools such as observations,
creating projects or using illustrations as a form of expression
conducting and modeling lessons that are ELL friendly
sharing with teachers how to read and interpret LAS testing
implement a grammar program for our students that includes posting language
objective in the classroom
conduct weekly teaching seminars to assist teachers with concerns they
might have with an ELL student
work closely with the reading coordinator to assist in teaching our ELL
population effective reading strategies
work closely with our World Language department which oversees the instructional
programs for our ELL students
Useful strategies for ELL Students:
• Using Total Physical Response to meet the needs of all students.
This would include model, model, model
• Encourage the importance of not making fun of a student or discouraging
attempts at language
• Use body language to act out what is being said or used.
• Ask “yes/no, who, what, and where” questions.
• Use dialogue journals to open the lines of communication.
• Have students retell instructions
• Peer mentoring
• Speak slowly and clearly.
• Use variations in intonation.
• Give concrete examples and explanations of new vocabulary
What I value:
Within the field of education the obstacles that are present for bilingual
students are varied. The first major obstacle is language followed by comprehension
and assessment methods that are used by educators to test students for
knowledge. Our federal government in an effort to meet the needs of all
students has mandated a program (No Child Left Behind) that should level
the learning field for all students. Theoretically, one can assume
that it sounds like a good ideal, however the practicality of the various
applications has shown that the field of education in regard to students
and assessment cannot be leveled as all students come to the classroom
with different needs and experiences. The task of assessing a student is
rather complicating and a cookie size cutter method does not work. There
are rubrics that can and should be used however as educators we should
have the flexibility to delineate from these rubrics to allow us to approach
each and every student with their individual needs. I firmly believe that
every child should have an equal opportunity to learn. Additionally, teachers
should have tools and knowledge provided to help them so that the goal
of learning is accomplished. As a student from a bilingual program, I learned
the English language through immersion. Studying various research data
has shown that this was not the best method of learning a language, however
the ultimate goal was met. By all means I am not suggesting that teaching
ELL students should be done this way, however I think that the need to
provide teachers with cultural understanding and knowledge about various
assessment tools is crucial in helping educate our ELL population.