The practice of alternative assessments has been introduced in many ESL classrooms across the country to make the process of assessment more efficient for the teachers as well as the ESL students. As an educator, I have observed different types of alternate assessments being…
In this paper, we shall discuss alternative assessments like portfolios and K-W-L charts that are being frequently used and have gained tremendous success in the ESL classrooms.
Learner Portfolios are one of the most common alternative assessments that are being used widely in the ESL classrooms nowadays. A portfolio refers to a compilation of a student’s work which can include such items as notes from learner/teachers discussions, learner’s writing samples, reports on books read, learner’s reflection on their development, and statistics from performance based appraisals, and scores of commercial tests. Portfolios are a holistic, student centered and performance based approach of assessment. This method of assessment is tremendously beneficial to all the students especially the ESL students since portfolios focus on students’ strengths rather than their weaknesses. Moreover, it provides room to the ESL students to display more than what they are tested for. In this way, students are encouraged to work more efficiently and display their best work. They provide prospects for students to look upon who they are as learners, writers and people. In addition, portfolios enhance the communication between the teacher and the students, the teacher and the parents, and the school administrators as well. However, these portfolios are very time consuming and don’t give quantifying outcomes which only commercially available tests can provide. Moreover, these alternative assessments may not meet eligibility necessities in career training programs, or higher level classes of ESL learners. Therefore, it is important for ESL programs to use a combination of commercial based and performance based assessments to test the language proficiency of ESL learners (Burt &Keenan, 1995).
As far as native English speaking students in the classroom are concerned, portfolios are fair to them. All the students, irrespective of ...
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