Validity in ELL Assessment

Discussion in 'ESL/ELL' started by Christina DL1, May 23, 2016.

  1. Christina DL1

    Christina DL1 Rookie

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    May 23, 2016

    When assessing ELLs, validity is often a challenge that must be addressed. Validity is the ability of an assessment to measure what it is intended to measure (Herrera, Murry, & Cabral, 2007, p.25). Often times with standardized testing, students are forced to read a lot of instruction and questions in order to demonstrate the skill being assessed; this is, therefore, assessing their ability to read and comprehend English instead of, for example, show their understanding of animal adaptations or mathematical skills. As a dual-language teacher, I am faced with the challenges every day to ensure that I am providing students appropriate ways to show what they know in ways that are valid and reliable. One way to provide valid assessments is to include a variety of assessments throughout the course that adhere to multiple intelligences (verbal, mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic), as identified by Howard Gardner (Brown & Abeywickrama, 2006, p.17). A few examples of assessments I have provided to students that are valid are: assessing bodily-kinesthetic students' spelling/phonics skills by having them build their words with wiki sticks instead of using paper and pencil, and assessing math skills by allowing students to build 3-D shapes using marshmallows and toothpicks. Please share different types of assessments that you have used with ELLs to ensure that assessments are valid and provide ideas for other ELL teachers.
    Thank you,
    Christina

    References
    Brown, H.D. and Abeywickrama, P. (2010). Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.
    Herrera, S. G., Murry, K. G., & Cabral, R. M. (2007). Assessment accommodations for classroom teachers of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon: Pearson.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 23, 2016

    Is this for a class?
     
  4. Christina DL1

    Christina DL1 Rookie

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    May 23, 2016

    I would greatly appreciate any comments that you have on this topic; it is for a class, however I am very interested in the responses that others have to share, as I am a bilingual teacher. I will take all of the responses given and take them to heart, enabling me to better myself as an educator.
    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  5. Christina DL1

    Christina DL1 Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2016

    Please share your thoughts on this topic, I would really appreciate any responses.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 2, 2016

    This falls in line with what I learned in SIOP training. EL Students may have strong conversational abilities in their second language (L2) but still have difficulty processing educational information. Also, there is a possibility that the students didn't receive adequate schooling in their native language (L1). Finding multiple ways to teach and assess student mastery of concepts is the only fair and valid solution.
     
  7. Christina DL1

    Christina DL1 Rookie

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    Jun 3, 2016

    Ah yes, I have seen similar things in my classroom. Conversational language is developed first and more easily; this can be misleading when assessing a student on academic language in standardized testing. Students come in with all different educational backgrounds, and we must find ways to teach and assess them in order to provide valid assessments. What are some ways that you use in your classroom, or that you have learned in training to differentiate these activities and assessments to ensure validity for our students?
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    One of my ELs is on her third language (Somali, Arabic, and now English). She is hesitant in English but is far better speaking it than writing it. Therefore, we TALK through her written work first. If she is able to verbally articulate her ideas, I tell her what her minimal grade is based on the conversation. If her written work is equal to her spoken, I bump it up at least one grade level for the doubled effort. If not, I show her how it SHOULD be written, and I bring in her ESL teacher for additional support / consultation.
     
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  9. sjanew15

    sjanew15 Rookie

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    Jun 4, 2016

    I use group work and cooperative learning projects to assess student learning. I am also looking in to PALS (peer assisted learning) to boost the performance of my special ed. ELL students who also need social skills development. I have material easily accessible for students. For example, I do themed units. We just did a unit on paragraph writing around the theme of bullying using the book "Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon." I introduced new vocabulary at the start of the unit and left it in a grade-specific new words basket so kids can pull the words while they write. We review vocabulary for the book at the start of each lesson. That way, kids can then assess themselves on their progress as we go along. I am also teaching one mature kindergarten student and one mature first grader to use PALS. The kindergartener uses PALS to provide basic reading instruction and letter sound assistance to a newcomer ELL student with limited English comprehension. My first grade student is being taught to teach a special education student at the second grade age level to self-monitor her writing for basic mistakes like capitals and periods in sentences. He went above and boyond the other day and taught her the difference between a capital and a lowercase letter yesterday.

    I trust in my kids, love pair and group work, and hope they can use what I teach them to help each other grow. Then, I assess students based on their level. If they are low-level but produce in-line for expectations at their level, they get an good score. If they go above and beyond, they get a great score. If they can explain what they are doing verbally, I might give them extra points on an assessment if it better helps me understand what they did. I let them know I look at them as a whole and use all areas of ELL to give them a score. So, if they can explain a project, read it back to me, write stuff, and just show general growth during a unit, they never suffer for not being able to do stuff that is way beyond their ability.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2016
  10. Christina DL1

    Christina DL1 Rookie

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    Jun 5, 2016

    sjanew15,
    That sounds like an incredible learning model for students; what age are most of your students? The way that you assess your students makes a fair assessment for all, taking into account writing proficiency, ability to orally support work, and grade-level expectations. What is most challenging for you when assessing student improvement? What do you use to monitor their growth? I would be interested in trying some of these things in my own teaching and assessing.
     

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