Evaluating students’ performance, as well as defining their overall progress and identifying the stage at which their current level of proficiency in the designated area is, is essential to the further location of the strategies for enhancing their learning process. It is also crucial for identifying the instructions that teachers and learners will have to follow in enhancing the academic progress of the latter. In fact, the very concepts of assessment and instructions should be viewed as inseparable (“Planning Assessment with Instructions”). Therefore, in case the assessment outcomes received in different settings differ from each other, a teacher must determine whether the language used for instruction and the assessment was accessible to students. In other words, there are significant chances that, at some point, the students were provided with the directions that they failed to understand due to the complexity of the language. Indeed, as the author of “Supporting English Language Learners” explains, when worded in a particular way, some instructions may confuse learners, distract or even demotivate them (Roots 55). Therefore, considering the use of assessments that include less complex wording and allow all learners to understand the goals of a test, as well as the tasks that they will have to complete, should be deemed as a necessity. Furthermore, the lack of connection between the assessment and the provided instructions can also be regarded as one of the problems that may have left to students underperforming in their tests. For example, the evaluation process may have included the items that had not been mentioned in the instructions. Thus, a redesign of the instructions for them to align with the assessment process may be due.
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Learning Goals and Success
Success criteria for learning can be interpreted as the minimum requirements that students must meet in order to proceed to the next level of proficiency in a target subject (“Feedback”). Therefore, it is essential to have success criteria firmly established and well defined in a specific academic setting. The development of the learning goals can be viewed as the identification of the skills and knowledge that learners possess at a particular stage of their development, the areas that they will have to embrace in order to proceed to the next stage of learning, and the methods of teaching them the necessary information. Although one must not conflate the individual progress of a particular learner and the set criteria for performance, it is crucial to meet the said objectives to ensure the further development of a learner (“Feedback as a Powerful Tool”).
Therefore, the purpose of learning goals is to define the stage at which a student currently is, as well as receive detailed feedback from the latter to create an individual learning plan that will contribute to the further successful development of the student in question. Thus, learning goals support ELLs by setting the standards that they will have to attain, at the same time taking the unique characteristics, abilities, and backgrounds of ELLs. Furthermore, the use of learning goals helps define the needs of ELLs in a more detailed way; as a result, the opportunity to enhance the learning process is created. Teachers can receive more detailed feedback about the challenges that their diverse learners face when studying and the success criteria on which further assessments must be based (“Feedback”). Consequently, the management of ESL students’ needs becomes more efficient.
Assignment – Theory into Practice: STEP Application
Exploring opportunities for motivating learners to develop new skills in English and, furthermore, gain independence in their academic progress is crucial since it is likely to lead to students’ ultimate academic success. By embracing the sociocultural factors that affect their studying and using metacognition as a tool for improving their ability to memorize and use essential information, learners will be able to attain an impressive success in their personal, academic, and, later on, professional development. Elena’s case shows that, by focusing on the sociocultural aspects of language acquisition, a teacher is likely to prompt the process of lifelong learning and encourage learners to build their ability to coordinate their studying efficiently. In other words, the case under analysis reinforces the significance of providing learners with a certain amount of independence, thus, entitling them to responsibility in managing their academic progress. Moreover, the impact of family support needs to be referenced as one of the key components leading to faster development of necessary skills.
Using the Continua
Elena is a student from Greece, who is currently actively acquiring English language skills. Since she is very active in her learning, it can be assumed that she is at the level between Collaboration and Initiative (“Orientation to School Life in Ontario” 2). Indeed, a closer look at the actions that she takes will reveal that she is very curious about the language, and that it lays a significant role in her life. The interest that she displays to the items belonging to the English culture indicate that she is ready to become independent in her academic progress (“Orientation to School Life in Ontario” 2). Nevertheless, she clearly needs the further guidance of her teacher to steer her academic development in the right direction. Moreover, the student has been displaying the awareness of sensitivity in the realm of a diverse community, which can be viewed as a sign of her being ready to engage in a multicultural dialogue. Thus, there are reasons to believe that the learner will need further assistance in being transferred to a new stage of her development.
Benefits and Challenges
Nonetheless, one must admit that using the OLB continua also implies facing certain challenges and handling the limitations that the proposed framework incorporates. For example, the fact that the OLB continua allow only for a rather approximate assessment of the learner’s progress and the issues that they may face in their future academic progress should be mentioned. In addition, the information in the OLB chart cannot possibly embrace the complexity of external and internal factors defining Elena’s progress. For example, her background cannot be explored with the help of the proposed framework. Thus, the influence of her prior knowledge on the current academic process, as well as the impact that her social and academic environment has on her learning, cannot be taken into account. Herein the primary issue with the OLB approach lies; it fails to provide a teacher with an opportunity to deconstruct the factors that affect the learner and her progress. Instead, the OLB approach only gives a brief summary of the student’s performance levels by pointing to the essential skills that they possess and the knowledge that they have acquired.
However, the specified issue can be addressed by creating a repository of the essential information. For instance, a teacher may also focus on the external and internal factors that shape Elena’s performance such as the support of her family members, the influence of media on her performance, etc. Thus, the teacher will receive crucial instructions about the possibility of using music, particularly, pop music, in designing assignments and tests for Elena in order to maintain her engagement levels high. Thus, the learner will remain motivated and eager to improve her performance. In addition, the significance of family support is not to be underrated in the specified scenario. The fact that Elena has developed a strong rapport with her sisters shows that she will need their encouragement to advance unlearning English. At this point, the issue of parental involvement and the provision of instructions to parents to enhance Elena’s academic progress will have to be mentioned. By instructing parents to encourage Elena to succeed, as well as prompt further communication between Elena and her sisters regarding Elena’s academic progress, in general, and learning English, in particular, one will be able to achieve impressive results. Particularly, Elena will be motivated to engage in the active process of studying. The fact that her current school environment is similar to that one of her school in Greece also creates opportunities for making Elena’s process of learning faster and more efficient.
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Therefore, it could be argued that, to design a coherent strategy for meeting Elena’s needs as an ESL will have to be based on the principles of OLLB rather than OLB> The reasons for the specified choice include the need to prompt the development of an intuitive understanding of the language and, therefore, a greater emphasis on helping Elena build English literacy. For instance, the fact that the student related to the English language on not only academic but also cultural and, thus, personal level shows that Elena needs to build the language literacy that will allow her to recognize the patterns associated with the English language use. As a result, chances for spurring her acquisition of essential language skills and the development of a strong connection to the English language and the English culture can be created (“Kindergarten”).
Moreover, the issue of clusters should be borne in mind when developing the learning program for the student. Because of the cultural background that Elena currently has and that is profoundly linked to the English language, restricting her learning the language to the set of requirements that are provided to the students of her grade cannot be deemed as reasonable. Instead, it is crucial to prompt language curiosity in the student, thus, helping her embark on the process of lifelong learning, in the course of which she will be able to acquire new skills and knowledge on a regular basis. Furthermore, the application of the specified approach is likely to assist Elena in becoming significantly more independent in her language studies. Consequently, she will not need the unceasing supervision of her teacher in order to train the newly acquired skills in the context of her personal and social life. For example, Elena will feel comfortable not only discussing but also training her new English-related skills with her family member. Herein the significance of the family support mentioned above lies; it is essential for Elena to receive positive feedback from her parents and sisters to retain her motivation and advance in the process of learning English.
“Feedback.” Ontario Ministry of Education, n.d., Web.
“Feedback as a Powerful Tool.” Ontario Ministry of Education, n.d., Web.
“Orientation to School Life in Ontario.” Ontario Ministry of Education, n.d., Web.
Roots, Mary. “Many Voices – Supporting English Language Learners in Every Classroom: A Practical Guide for Ontario Educators.” Edu.Gov.On.Ca.Eng, 2001, Web.
“Planning Assessment with Instructions.” Ontario Ministry of Education, n.d., Web.
“Kindergarten.” Ontario Ministry of Education, n.d., Web.