One of the most important elements of the curriculum, the knowledge assessment is supposed to suit all students of the given level and evaluate the basic skills. Hence, it is necessary to achieve high degree of validity, reliability and fairness in developing a set of tasks. Choosing such a topic as Traveling in the Holiday and performing an oral assessment, a teacher is likely to spot the progress each student makes and the difficulties (s)he faces. The assessment suggested below seems to follow the demands of a perfect Master ELL and ESS Students Assessment fully.
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To evaluate the students’ ability to present their experience orally and to offer a cohesive and enticing story to the audience, it is recommended that all students should answer several simple questions concerning their vacation. It is worth noting that the questions should not be complex – on the contrary, offering the students the most general questions concerning their last travel is the most likely to sour their imagination and provide the most enticing story.
Hence, it is reasonable to provide the following questions:
- If you had an opportunity to travel to any country of the world, where would you go to?
- If you could afford anything that you wanted to, what would you do on your holiday?
- If you had the chance to take anyone you want with you, yet there were the room only for one person, whom would you choose?
- If you had a plenty of time to spare, how long would you stay in this place of your dream?
- Why would you choose this particular place? What is the place where you would not go on any occasion and why?
The second assignment should concern the students’ ability to support the conversation and be able to talk to an English-speaking person on a certain topic, traveling in the given case. It would be a good idea to split the students into pairs and offer them to share their traveling experience with each other. To make the task different from the previous one, the given speech could concern the worst experience that the students have ever had when traveling. Alternatively, the task could concentrate on the most exotic one. After the students have shared their traveling experience, they should retell the story of their partner, thus, training their memory and the skill to paraphrase.
It is important to mark that the given task allows the students to introduce certain creativity into their studying process, which is likely to enhance them for the further learning. Moreover, with the help of the given task, the students learn to handle the situations when they have to communicate with the English speakers.
In the given case, the students’ ability to offer a cohesive dialogue to the public, their ability to support the conversation and the volume of their vocabulary concerning the topic of traveling will be the key assessment tools. In the given case, the criteria for an excellent grade will be the one offered by for the ESL and ESS students and presupposes that the student “uses extensive vocabulary – may lag behind native-speaking peers” (Ministry of Education, 1999, p. 61). With the help of the given assessment, all students’ knowledge will be evaluated on the same basis; moreover, the professional skills of each student will be assessed separately, which speaks in favor of the test fairness, reliability and validity.
Ministry of Education (1999). English as a second language learners: A guide for ESL speakers. British Columbia: Ministry of Education, Special Program Branch.
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