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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Catch 22- do they pass assessment or not?

JAMES MICHIE wrote an great post (great slideshare to ) in his blog last year on assessment and learning, which is relevant to my class at the moment because I am always thinking of how to record and give student sample tasks that could be used for cumulative assessment throughout the term.

The trouble with assessment in our area of learning is that the assessment is not really used. Hmmm you ask why? Well, if the student has high oracy and low literacy (being refugees with little, to no education), then it takes more than the 6 month-long course to catch up on 10 or 12 years of standard education (learning HOW to learn, then setting about learning the stuff being taught) needed to get by in the higher level. It's a catch 22. What if they are good at reading and writing and get all this right, but can't speak a word of the language orally or understand what is said - aurally?
Our administration doesn't like to re-enrol students who may have passed a unit. And yet, to offer them a full course, they will need to pick up that unit again. It's good for them to repeat it, it is revision and consolidation, often different theme or content, further cultural lessons, but the same type of assessment. E.g 'Post beginner learning strategies' - how broad is that?
 Another is 'post beginner listening and speaking skills for transactional exchanges'..again, you could teach this a thousand different ways and have different content every term, but the outcome is the same, students pass a test or partially pass or they were'nt there for it. (High truancy, busy new immigrant lives). It's a hard one!

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