A Quiz on “Types of Assessment”

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How much knowledge do you have about assessment? Do you know how many types of assessment there are? Can you differentiate between formative & summative assessment? Do you know the importance of diagnostic assessment? What is integrative assessment?

To assess to what extent your knowledge about assessment is good, you can do that quiz on https://edmo.do/j/ud25fi on “Types of Assessment” which is a topic of six-topic course on “Assessment Literacy”.

To Follow the Course, you should:
1. Create a free account on edmodo.com
2. Login to your account.
3. Join my group “Assessment Literacy”
* Join Group URL is https://edmo.do/j/ud25fi

Four Necessary Characteristics of a Good Test

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Creating a good language test demand great care and responsibility on the part of the teachers. Most teachers don’t plan for writing their tests. As a result they often puzzle the students with these tests and reflect only their  own expectations. The most important characteristics of a good test are reliability, validity and practicality.

* A reliable test produces the same result under the same circumstances.
* A valid test tests what it is supposed to test.
* A practical test is as economical as possible in time and in cost.

Additionally, there are four more necessary characteristics of a good language test:

1. Based on what students should know and can do according to the learning outcomes of the syllabus.

2. Enable the teacher to find out which parts of the language program cause difficulty for the class.

3. Without any traps for students but provide opportunities for them to show their ability to perform certain language tasks.

4. Designed to be a valuable teaching & learning tool, that’s to benefit the teachers to adjust their teaching to match students’ achievement level and to benefit students to learn from their mistakes.

Teachers charged to prepare a test should put in their minds that each test is not an end in itself, but a means to reach effective language mastery.

Guidelines to Write Effective Test Questions

rrrPrepare Students for the Test by:

* Telling them the main purpose of the test.
* Specifying the content they should study for the test.
* Providing them with clear instructions during the test.

Decide the levels of thinking you will focus on when writing the questions:

According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, there are six levels of thinking, beginning with simple recall of information to analysis and evaluation of the material.
Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Knowledge – Comprehension – Application – Analysis – Synthesis – Evaluation

Write the Questions:

* Avoid ambiguous & confusing sentences or structures.
* Use appropriate vocabulary.
* Keep questions short and to the point.
* Write questions that have only one correct answer.
* Give information about the answer you desire or the items required for a correct answer.
* Don’t provide clues to the correct answer.

Guidelines to Write Effective Multiple-Choice Questions:

* Avoid lifting phrases directly from text or lecture. This becomes a simple recall activity for the student. Use new language as frequently as possible.
* Write the correct answer before writing the distractors. This makes sure you formulate one clearly correct answer.
* Choices should be similar in length and parallel in grammatical structure.
* Limit the number of choices. Research shows that three-choice items are about as effective as four-choice items.
* Distractors must be incorrect, but reasonable.
* Use words that are familiar to students when writing distractors.
* Don’t use exaggerations or extreme words when writing the questions or the distractors such as: all, none, never, always, etc.

Three Recommendations for EFL Teachers to Consider From the First Day Back to School

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Teachers of English as a Foriegn Language are asked to take into account the following recommendations from the beginning of the new school year to make great success in their career:

1. Control your teaching and make it as effective as possible by:
* Getting to know the course materials very well by reading them through in advance.
* Getting to know the outcomes of each unit sticking them at the front of your preparation notes to adjust your teaching accordingly.
* Preparing your individual lessons well.
– Preparation notes of each lesson should include mainly the following:
Objectives – Warm-Up Steps – Presentation Steps – Practice Steps – Assessment Procedures or Homework – Self-Evaluation Note.
* Making sure that you have any important information about your students; their names, level of learning, weakness & strength points, ….etc.

2. Improve your teaching and facilitate your students’ learning by:
* Learning & applying new teaching methods, techniques and activities.
* Adjusting your teaching according to your students’ level and needs.
* Reflecting on your successes and difficulties in the classroom.
* Discussing teaching experiences with your colleagues.
* Assessing your students’ progress giving them grades, marking their written work regularly and giving them effective feedback.
* Designing and using simple teaching aids in the classroom to attract your students’ attention and facilitate their learning.
* Organizing your class in different and various ways; whole-class, individual students, pair work and group work, depending on the activity being taught at different times of the lesson.

3. Give your students the opportunity for language learning and practice by:
* Creating a natural context and real-life situations to use the language.
* Giving students the chance to hear and use as much authentic English as possible.
* Using more and more teaching aids to untie your students’ tongues & encourage them to talk in English naturally.
* Contextualizing the new language asking students to put new words in sentences of their own and utilize new structures in real-life situations.

Some Writing Tasks for Beginners

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Writing is like swimming – it needs a conscious effort and repeatedly practice. We as teachers should be aware of the difficulties our learners may face on their writing tasks at elementary level.
Unexpectedly I think it is not easy for elementary students to simply copy a couple of lines without making mistakes or compose a paragraph on their own. Therefore, I suggest the following tasks that enable learners to write in English without having the burden of thinking too much about content and text organization.

Some controlled writing tasks:
1. Present a sentence to the class, then cover it and make the class write it from memory.
2. Hand out a text including some mistakes for the class to find.
3. Distribute a story in the classroom with some missing words asking pupils to write them correctly.
4. Take a story, then cut the sentences into strips and distribute them in the classroom. Pupils can work in pairs: One is writing and the second student is running to find all the paper strips in the room and then dictate them from memory to his partner. After dictating, the sentences need to be ordered
correctly and told by one of the students.

Some guided writing tasks:
1. Let students read a text and note 5 to 7 keywords. Then put the text aside and try to reconstruct the original text using the keywords.
2. Let students listen to a story and then write about the main ideas included in it.
3. Ask questions that the learners are answering based on a picture. What/who can you see? Where is it? What happened? What will happen next?
4. Expose the students to some factual information in table like city or country fact files or personal profiles, then ask them to write a new version of the text based on the given one.

Writing is not a frightening experience. By doing some controlled and guided activities learners can find a balance between rule oriented (spelling, grammar) and creative expression.

Why Pupils Must Listen Before Speaking

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All children need to listen first before starting to produce the language. In order that pupils can speak comfortably and fluently in English, they must be exposed to some silent or per-speaking periods.

From these periods pupils can foster vocabulary and build comprehension. They can also get and store the right phonology features such as stress and intonation.

But how can these periods be like in the classroom?
1. They can be periods of listening using Total Physical Response approach:
* Giving some series of commands and pupils demonstrate and act them.
* Pupils can give commands to each other and show understanding of they listen to.

2. They can be periods of listening to tape recorded conversations for 2 or 3 times before they can answer some comprehension questions and then they can act the conversations out comfortably.

Guidelines to Consider When Teaching Listening

listening is learning

1. Relate listening to students’ interests, goals and experiences to keep their motivation and attention high.

2. Select authentic material both in language and tasks. Language should reflect real discourse using videos, audio tapes and TV or radio broadcasts of actual exchanges.

3. Give opportunities to develop both top-down and bottom-up processing skills

* Top-down activities = discussing what students already know about the topic.

* Bottom-up activities = practicing components of the language ( sounds, words, intonation, grammatical structure )

4. Encourage development of listening strategies such as predicting, asking for clarification, using non-verbal cues, … that increase the chances for successful listening.

* e.g. using videos:

When sound off, students make predictions and answer questions about setting, actions, interactions, …

When sound on, students confirm or modify predictions.

5. Teach activities not test them:

– Don’t focus on memory rather than on the process of listening.

– Don’t give practice rather than help students develop listening ability.

e.g. * having students listen to a passage followed by true/false questions might focus on the learners’ ability to remember rather than help them to develop the skill of determining main idea and details.

– Pre and post listening activities should help students focus attention on what they listen so that they can transfer the listening skill to the world beyond the classroom.

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