The measurement of English language proficiency can be performed using the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) for ESL students (Connecticut State Department of Education, 2010, p. 1). This test is designed to assess the knowledge of students in terms of reading including comprehension and fluency of oral reading for English as Second Language (ESL) students. In this respect, students that acquire the English language are assessed with the help of a test that takes place in the class.
The Developmental Reading Assessment can be applied to students of the 8th Grade to measure their reading skills such as comprehension of the text using oral and written responses to open questions and fluency of the oral reading. The main drawback of this assessment measure is that it is based mostly on the teacher’s perception of the student as the teacher is the person to select the text for assessment and measure the proficiency of students.
Kathleen Graves suggested in her book Designing language courses: A guide for teachers (2000) a list of aspects to be assessed at the end of the semester when the time comes to measure the performance of students and their achievements. In other words, assessment of needs, students’ learning, and evaluation of the course are of primary importance for the measurement of the situation that emerges in the teaching-learning process. As ESL students may fail to understand the information and the material in general in the right way, they may fail to pass the tests as well. As suggested in the report by the Connecticut State Department of Education, “Midyear, PSDs must select a four-week period in January-February to do the testing.
The end of the year administration must take place during the last week in April and the first three weeks in May” (2010, p. 3). In this respect, it is necessary to make sure that the needs of all students are taken into account and met in the teaching-learning process. Every test is unique and aimed at analyzing and assessing the achievements of students with regard to potential gaps in language skills due to the acquisition of the second language. However, it is necessary to focus more on 8-12 Grades and Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) for students.
The application of the Developmental Reading Assessment for ESL students can be useful in terms of meeting needs of students with regard to the educational standards established in the country and language proficiency tests aimed at assessment of the language skills of second language learners and implementation of specific programs in case these students fail to acquire the English language as effectively as expected by the educational standards. Though students can take a number of different tests to know the level of their language skills, the tests should be standardized to the extent of the national educational program.
In addition, the Developmental Reading Assessment is designed to measure students’ reading skills in terms of comprehension level and fluency of oral reading. It is necessary to learn about the essence of the test and the methods used for measuring and assessing the outcomes of the test-taking activities. As soon as the student knows what type of questions are included in the test, he/she can get ready for the test adequately because some information can be interpreted as complementary while it is obligatory. So, assessment should take place with regard to the students’ skills and abilities in terms of reading fluency and comprehension.
Connecticut State Department of Education. (2010). DRA2: Developmental reading assessment, second edition. Questions and Answers. Web.
Graves, K. (2000). Designing language courses: A guide for teachers. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.