Assessment Modifications

Learning English as a second language is a difficult challenge that requires time. English language learners face various difficulties during their academic career, especially with the challenge of learning both educational content and social English. While English language learners struggle to learn English, it is equally hard for the students to gain content-based knowledge at the same time as their native English speakers (Sunal, Sunal, & Wright, 2010). In particular, limited proficiency in English makes it hard for ELL learners to benefit from the instructor’s teaching. However, the major issue comes in during assessment of ELL students. Research on assessment and accommodation of ELL students shows a considerable performance gap between English language learners and their native English-speaking peers. This means limited proficiency in the English language affects both learning and assessment. Thus, to close the performance gap between ELL and other students, learning and assessment issues should be addressed. Accommodations in the classroom instruction are often made to ensure that children have equal access to the curriculum as their peers. On the other hand, assessment modifications allow teachers to measure ELL students using individualized tests considering what the students are capable of doing or not (Oliveira & Shoffner, 2016). In light of this, we first analyze the attached English Summative Assessment to determine the learning outcomes for the objective and performance section. We will then consider the most appropriate modification to the English Summative Assessment for the two English language learners and assess how the adjustments could have improved their performance based on curriculum content and instructional strategies. 

English Summative Assessment Analysis

Learning Outcomes for the Objective Section

  1. Students were expected to show their understanding of the various types of figurative language by identifying the correct type used in a sentence.

Learning Outcomes for the performance Section

Students should be able to:

  1. Write original sentences that are correctly punctuated and capitalized showing examples of figurative language
  2. Identify the type of figurative language used in each of their sentences

Modifying the English Summative Assessment

Within the instructional settings, student assessments are used to decide on various important matters such as a child continuation to the next level, or graduating from school. Recording student performance data also helps support modifications to curriculum content and instructional strategies to be able to maximize the learning potential of learners. State standards require that a student IEP should include a statement of accommodations needed for their participation in assessment. In light of this, we will base the modification of the English Summative Assessment on the two students on their ELL plan to design the most appropriate modifications for improved performance. According to the ELL plan for Vincent Flores on testing adaptations, it is recommended that he should be allowed to answer orally, be given multiple choice questions, shorten the test length, create an alternative assessment. Ideally, Vincent Flores did not attain the average score, but his performance acceptable compared to some of his peers.  In light of this, although in the testing adaptations, it is recommended that the test length should be shortened. However, it should be extended to allow him more time to process information slowly in his second language. The student should also be allowed to use tape record materials to listen as he reads along, emphasizing main ideas to improve his performance on the summative assessment. On the case of Mingyu Wong, the first language is Chinese, and her testing adaptation shows that she can participate in regular assessment activities and within the stipulated time. Unfortunately, the performance score reflects that she still has problems with the assessment. The recommended modifications would be to allow the student more time to the student to complete tests. Similarly, the teacher should consider increasing access to learning for the two students to improve their understanding of concepts. For the two students, the teacher should consider linguistic modification also referred to as language simplification. This can be achieved by modifying the language of the test and giving the learners some lead examples to follow to help them relate and understand what is expected of them in the test. 

Improving the Performance based on Curriculum Content

Assessments are designed for a specific purpose such as ranking students for accountability. Sometimes educators use tests as a measure of achievement of the student learning goals. Whatever the reason, the best assessment is designed to guide student improvements within the curriculum content (Farenga, & Ness, 2015). Additionally, evaluations serve as meaningful sources of information that reflect the concept and skills emphasized in the instructional setting. In this case, the assessment modification forms an integral part of ensuring that student needs and interests are addressed for effective learning. In the case of the two ELL students, the assessment modifications are expected to exhibit positive impact on their performance of the English Summative assessment. More precisely, allowing extended time to the two ELL students will also ensure that they understand better the evaluation, which in return will reflect their understanding of the curriculum content. The simplified language in the modified version of the assessment also eliminates the barrier difficulty in reading level and foster understanding of the content of curriculum for increased comprehension. The modified assessments also inform the performance of the student, which can act as a guide to the teacher to change the curriculum content to meet the needs of the learners. In addition to the above, Rojas & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (2007) note that performance assessment provides purposeful feedback to the students, which is appropriate and provides insights on ways to improve the level of performance based on the content of the curriculum.

Improving the Performance based on Instructional Strategy

Within the instructional settings, instructional strategies are methods of teaching intended to help students become independent and strategic learners. The approaches are often referred to as learning strategies when students use them effectively to accomplish tasks and meet learning goals. In essence, they are meant to motivate students and encourage them to focus, organize information for understanding and retention, and to help monitor and assess learning. The modifications for the English Summative Assessment that allows students extended time is expected allow extra time for reading and understanding the assessment instructions. This will help the students to develop adaptations of the learning strategies and become independent in their learning activities. It will also help the teacher to modify the instructional methods to meet the needs and interests of the students.

In today’s education systems, learners are undertaking more mandated assessments than before. The outcomes of the tests have more implications for the students than ever before. For instance, some high-stakes assessments are being used to determine student placement, promotion to the next grade and even graduation. However, perhaps the most serious effect is the implication these tests have on students with learning disabilities. Thus, testing accommodations are only fair for the students with special needs and interests or language difference. Teachers are also not only responsible for preparing students with learning disabilities but also determining and implementing the needed accommodations. 

References

Farenga, S. J., & Ness, I. (2015). Encyclopedia of education and human development: Volume one-three. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Oliveira, L. C. D., & Shoffner, M. (2016). Teaching English language arts to English language learners: Preparing pre-service and in-service teachers. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rojas, V. P., & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (2007). Strategies for success with English language learners. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

Sunal, D. W., Sunal, C. S., & Wright, E. (2010). Teaching science with Hispanic ELLs in K-16 classrooms. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Pub.

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