Informal assessments enable teachers to identify the progress individual students have made without having to rely only on standardized tests. It should address specific challenges that students face and compel the identification of different intervention criteria. Therefore, this paper will explore informal language assessments, informal reading assessments, and written expression assessments so as to establish how teachers can employ them to identify specific challenges faced by students and subsequently create a plan and intervene.
Language plays a critical role in determining students’ levels of understanding and this makes effective informal language assessment skills important (Kaplan, Carolyn and Shemwell). Reliable informal language assessment criteria include the labeling of information using vocabulary outlining frames, individual sentence writing, speaking frames, writing work samples and video-taping assignments.
Performance-based assessment can be done through daily tasks and classroom instructions that enhance language proficiency by relying on diagrams, grids, checklists to organize information. Portfolio assessment relies on identifying practical ways to assess students throughout the year. This can be achieved through the tasks of individual sentence writing and speaking frames. The assessment criterion relies on collecting written samples of student work, drawings that represent a student’s proficiency and content knowledge, and also descriptions by teachers. Additionally, assessing a student’s content knowledge through the assessment of their thinking ability can be done. Through writing work samples and video-taping assignments, students demonstrate their language skills through graphical representations, drawings, and recordings.
However, the success of the informal language assessment criterion relies on differentiated scoring that distinctly separates a student’s understanding of the content knowledge from their proficiency in language. Only when this is achieved can the teacher have a clear idea of the language proficiency of the student.
Informal reading assessment skills assess the reading capabilities of students (Umam). Effective methods include doing exit charts at the end of every learning process, using KWL (Know, want and learned) charts, developmental reading assessment tests, the checklist criteria and the developmental reading continuum. The concept of the KWL (Know, want and learned) chart aims to identify whether the students understand what they have read and also if they can identify the various features of a book such as the title, pictures, punctuations, space, and words. Additionally, the checklist criterion is engineered so as to identify what a student understands from reading and acts as a teaching guide. Developmental reading continuum splits the complexity of reading and attempts to evaluate what a student has learned at every stage. The criterion, developmental reading assessment tests, is complemented by a developmental reading continuum because it concentrates on the gradual improvement of individual reading skills over a period of time.
Informal written expression assessments identify whether students correctly apply the acquired skills so as to identify those requiring remediation (Scott, and Michael). Project-based assessments, individual sentence writing and speaking frames, self-assessment outlines, grading portfolio between content and language mastery, and the milestone portfolio grading criteria are reliable informal written expression assessments. These complement the informally written expression assessment because they systematically identify the planning abilities, organization, writing style, editing and rewriting capabilities of a student. Additionally, rating the students’ writing attempts is important because it is a good tool for determining the language proficiency of each individual.
The informal assessment of paragraph emerges as another reliable tool that teachers can use to evaluate the students’ ability in expressing themselves through writing. Moreover, using the milestone portfolio helps to evaluate students’ familiarity with written conventions such as spelling, capitalization, grammar, and punctuation. The individual sentence writing and speaking frames complement project-based assessments to analyze fluency, content, conventions, syntax, and vocabulary. In summary, it is impossible for teachers to make the required adjustments and guarantee a student’s success without relying on effective informal written expression assessments. They enable teachers to identify the progress that individual students make without the need to rely on standardized tests.
Kaplan, Carolyn and Shemwell. “Alignment Of World Language Standards And Assessments: A Multiple Case Study”. Foreign Language Annals, vol 49, no. 3, 2016, pp. 502-529. Wiley, doi:10.1111/flan.12220.
Scott, B. J., and Michael R. Vitale. “Informal Assessment Of Idea Development In Written Expression: A Tool For Classroom Use”. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education For Children And Youth, vol 44, no. 2, 2000, pp. 67-71. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/10459880009599786.
Umam, Chotibul. “INFORMAL ARTICLES AND READING-WRITINGSPEAKING CYCLE IN EXTENSIVE READING (ER) PROGRAM: EFL LEARNERS’ PERCEPTION”. INFERENSI, vol 9, no. 2, 2015, p. 279. State Institute Of Islamic Studies Salatiga, doi:10.18326/infsl3.v9i2.279-304.
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