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Assessment - What a minefield!

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  • Sandra Piai
    Dear Diarmuid and fellow Listers I m now working more in the field of EAP than EFL, so I doubt what I do is really relevant, but for what it s worth ........
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 1, 2002
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      Dear Diarmuid and fellow Listers

      I'm now working more in the field of EAP than EFL, so I doubt what I do is
      really relevant, but for what it's worth ........ On our Access courses at
      ELT, which is part of the University of St Andrews, students are evaluated
      by continuous assessment and end of semester exams. The same is valid for
      the university's EFL module. The Japanese course which I work on is broken
      down as follows:

      20% writing exam
      20% reading exam
      20% listening and speaking exams
      20@ academic essay (title chosen from a possible 12 given by academic
      tutors, ie two titles per academic subject)
      20% course work (of which 33% Dec exams, 33% academic tutors' reports, 33%
      course work since September)
      (The Japanese academic year runs from Apil till March)

      Students need 55% to pass the course and enter the university.

      Having said all that, I am a great believer in portfolios as they do not put
      students under unnecessary pressure and they encourage learners not only to
      take a pride in their work, but also to take some responsibility for their
      learning.

      Debbie Smith (YL SIG coordinator) and Mina Patel have done a lot off work on
      portfolios with YLs in Sri Lanka, it might be an idea to contact her. (I
      think she calls them files or folders rather than portfolios).

      I think you're right that intuition comes into it a lot too, we all have gut
      feelings about our students' levels/abilities. People also tend to hold
      very strong views as to what is the 'right' or 'wrong' way to assess. Exams
      are obviously a more convenient way for most institutions to evaluate and,
      in my experience, a lot of teachers do not always keep up with continuous
      assessment.

      However ...... it's still a minefield!

      Good luck with the assignment!

      Sandra
    • Glynnis McCourt
      I too like the idea of portfolios for assessment as it enables the tutor to observe a progression and would be really wonderful to develop on a floppy disc,
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 4, 2002
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        I too like the idea of portfolios for assessment as it enables the tutor to observe a progression and would be really wonderful to develop on a floppy disc, rather than paper based.  The latter could ??? speed up the whole process.  However, having being involved in building individual portfolios before, it is slow and difficult with large classes and heavy teaching loads.  Perhaps we could teach the class how to develop their portfolios independently ( would work well with the motivated student) and perhaps also develop a class profile of student work - I'm sure the latter is being done all over the world.
        Glynnis

        >>> smp6@... 02/01/02 01:53pm >>>

        Dear Diarmuid and fellow Listers

        I'm now working more in the field of EAP than EFL, so I doubt what I do is
        really relevant, but for what it's worth  ........ On our Access courses at
        ELT, which is part of the University of St Andrews, students are evaluated
        by continuous assessment and end of semester exams.  The same is valid for
        the university's EFL module.  The Japanese course which I work on is broken
        down as follows:

        20% writing exam
        20% reading exam
        20% listening and speaking exams
        20@ academic essay (title chosen from a possible 12 given by academic
        tutors, ie two titles per academic subject)
        20% course work (of which 33% Dec exams, 33% academic tutors' reports, 33%
        course work since September)
        (The Japanese academic year runs from Apil till March)

        Students need 55% to pass the course and enter the university.

        Having said all that, I am a great believer in portfolios as they do not put
        students under unnecessary pressure and they encourage learners not only to
        take a pride in their work, but also to take some responsibility for their
        learning.

        Debbie Smith (YL SIG coordinator) and Mina Patel have done a lot off work on
        portfolios with YLs in Sri Lanka, it might be an idea to contact her.  (I
        think she calls them files or folders rather than portfolios).

        I think you're right that intuition comes into it a lot too, we all have gut
        feelings about our students' levels/abilities.  People also tend to hold
        very strong views as to what is the 'right' or 'wrong' way to assess.  Exams
        are obviously a more convenient way for most institutions to evaluate and,
        in my experience, a lot of teachers do not always keep up with continuous
        assessment.

        However ...... it's still a minefield!

        Good luck with the assignment!

        Sandra





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