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Deconstructing Assessment

Classroom Assessment Toolkit.

Developing materials for Adult ESL Literacy learners.

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Site: LISTN E- Learning Portal
Course: Course 4: Tools and Best Practices for Working with Literacy Learners
Book: Deconstructing Assessment
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Sunday, 13 June 2021, 6:53 AM

1 Learning intents:

1. Enrich our assessment tools and record keeping strategies.

2. Navigate resources available for planning tasks and assessment. 

3. Use CATK to select an assessment tool for our class.

4. Review principles for creating intructor-made resources.

2 When and how to assess in the Adult ESL literacy context?

Since the implementation of the PBLA in LINC and Adult ESL, the classroom-based assessment practices have been in the spotlight. I have often heard concerns regarding the implementation of PBLA in the ESL Literacy classes. In my experience using PBLA with ESL Literacy students, it is important to remember that the assessment (similar to the tasks discussed in Module 2) can and must be level appropriate, deconstructed into smaller, manageable, and comprehensible at the ESL Literacy level steps. Assessment practices at this level must be used with consistency to allow ESL literacy learners develop skills necessary for understanding and performing assessment processes and requirements.

"Informal assessment happens in the classroom all the time. Instructors can work to turn informal assessments into formal assessments by making adjustments to their teaching practice. Ideally, assessment is an integrated and on-going process--a regular classroom routine--that feedbacks both teaching and learning." (CATK, 2015: vii-viii).

How do you keep track of the assessment in your classes? Time for a challenge:
Can you think of 10 assessment tools that you can use to assess/evaluate learner progress? If you can, share your list of 10 on the forum (Task 1). 

If you are not sure or cannot think of anything at this moment, feel free to scan through the CATK to make a list of assessment tools suggested in the toolkit. For example,

1. Go to "Assessment”

2. Go to "Reading”

3. Access PDF available for 2L

4. Find the "Tool”

5. What tools are used? Scroll down to see what they are. Have you used any of them before?

6. Continue till you get a list of 10 tools.    

3 Which tools to choose for my class? What are the steps to use the CATK?

CATK contains practical ideas on tasks and assessment tools that can be easily adapted to the use in the classroom.

  Which tools to choose for my class? What are the steps to use the Toolkit?

  For each assessment, you need to choose a Benchmark, a skill area    (listening/speaking/reading/writing), and the competency you are addressing in class  (interacting with others, instructions, getting things done, information).

 The toolkit will have ideas and methods of formative assessment at each of the CLBs. The  toolkit allows the flexibility of calibrating tools up and down. See CATK, 2015: iv.

Go through the following steps to see CATK in practice. For example, I have been looking for an assessment tool for reading, Foundation Literacy, interacting with others. In this case:

  1. I go to Assessment at
  2. Access Reading.
  3. Check FL, interacting with others. Unfortunately, there isn't a specific tool in this category. However, there is one for CLB 1, interacting with others.
  4. I access the CLB 1-I tool.
  5. The tool used is a simple checklist.
  6. I decide to adapt the task and the assessment tool to the level of my learners.
  7. I download the Word document to introduce the changes. In my case, I change the target vocabulary my learners will need to identify in order to complete the task.

Identify your skill, benchmark, and competency area that you are currently working on or would like to address with your learners and follow the steps described above. This is an individual learning activity. 

4 CLB and CATK.

- CLB: ESL for Adults, 2012
- CLB: ESL for ALL, 2015
- CATK, 2015

All of the documents above include a wealth of real-world-focused, skill-based sample tasks in 4 competencies (interacting with others, comprehending instructions/reproducing information, getting things done, and comprehending information/sharing information) and 3 areas of communication (study, community, work) that can be used and adapted in Adult ESL literacy instruction.

I have identified 3 steps that will allow us to use these tasks in our own contexts.

Step 1. Select a level appropriate task (use a task as is, design a new task based on the sample, tweak the sample to suit own needs).

Step 2. Identify the skill-building activities and supports appropriate for Adult ESL Literacy learners in your context.

Step 3. Select a level appropriate assessment tool (use as is, design a new one, tweak the sample to suit own needs).

Following the steps in the table below, devise an assessment plan for a level in your group. Fill in the Assessment Plan (brief notes) column and share your ideas on the forum (Task 2).

5 Instructor-made materials.

In Adult ESL Literacy, we are often required to devise our own materials. Instructor-made or modified resources can greatly enhance learning. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the features of communication when selecting and designing materials/tools for Adult ESL Literacy group. This applies to both designing the assessment tools and the worksheets for skill-building activities.

To identify benchmark specific features of communication appropriate for ESL Literacy learners, check "Conditions for Learning” for each benchmark in CLB: ESL for ALL. For example, see p. 35 for Foundation L. 

For convenience, I have included a screenshot from the page 35 below.

Access the CLB: ESL for ALL, 2015 to check conditions for learning for the benchmarks inyour class. What is specific for levels in your class? This is an individual learning activity.

To learn more about developing worksheets for Adult ESL Litearcy learners, proceed to the video activity in this Module.