Evaluation and Testing of Students in the ESL Classroom
Evaluations are the useful tools or techniques that provide insight for modification, planning and in some cases re-designing a course. Student evaluation also provides the opportunity to address issues regarding student learning while the course is still in progress. There are different ways a teacher can assess a student’s language level:
a) Tests b) Tutorials c) Evaluation by the students.
This post was written by our ITTT graduate Michael O.
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Students can be tested from time to time during the course. There are different kinds of tests that teachers need to give students and each has its own purpose. These tests can be categorized under the following:
This test is done in order to find the appropriate level to place a student based on their language ability and sometimes the age of the student also matters. Some schools use multiple-choice questions and some use picture-based questions. It should always start with greetings and simple questions to make the student comfortable.
The Diagnostic Test
This test is usually more extensive. Typically, students are given a diagnostic test at the beginning of the course to determine how much the student knows and also to check areas that need improvement. It is similar to the placement test.
This type of test is normally given to students from time to time with the aim of checking how much language they have acquired and how much they can remember and what they have forgotten, it, therefore, helps both the teacher and the student to know which areas need improvement.
This test is meant to prepare students for external examinations by following the specific format and structure of any upcoming exams. The most common external examinations include; TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication).
Besides these general examinations, we also have the Cambridge Assessment. This is a non-teaching department affiliated to the University of Cambridge which carries out a number of assessments such as UK OCR Examination Board, General English, and Business English. Last but not least is Trinity college London that provides ESOL Skills, mainly for those whose first language is not English and who wish to live in the UK.
This is another very important aspect of evaluation and teaching that can be done with an individual student or with the whole class. Although it may be difficult to do it every lesson, the teacher should find a way to spend some time reviewing what the students have learned and whether the aims of the lesson were achieved, and then make adjustments accordingly.
Evaluation by the Students
This aspect of evaluation and teaching involves asking the students to give feedback regarding the course they are learning and not the personalities of the teachers. This can be done either using questionnaires or guided discussions. This technique is very useful as it helps get the students own point of view. It can help improve trust between the teacher and the students, create awareness among students of what happens in the classroom, and also most importantly, help the teacher to know how the students react towards him or her. Evaluation by students can be based around asking the students what they think about the course material, whether it’s too easy or too difficult. It is recommended that if the student’s language level is not good enough, the questionnaire or the discussion can be done in the student’s native language.
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In conclusion, tests, tutorials and evaluation by the students as aspects of evaluation and teaching have further broadened my understanding of teaching English as a foreign language. I look forward to incorporating all these aspects into my teaching to make a big difference in the lives of the learners.
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