My (initial) two cents on Assessing students…

Photo by Shemer (on Flickr) CC

This weekend thousands of educators from all over the world will take part in The Reform Symposium, which will happen between today, July 29th and Sunday, July 31st. The Reform Symposium is an global online conference for everyone concerned with education. With more than 75 presentations and 12 keynote speakers it is sure to be an incredible event! Organised by educators for educators, it is FREE but will offer more valuable and inspiring PD than money can buy! I was delighted – having had the experience of being a participant in previous editions – to have the chance to participate as a presenter this time. I will be part of a panel about Assessment and then present about Alternative Assessment.

Assessment has always been a special area of interest for me. Education seems to be moving away from traditional testing – or at least trying to. More and more teachers discuss assessment, the different ways we can do it, effectiveness of each of them. I am a product of traditional testing (with a few rare occasions / teachers / classes). I had to memorize dates, names and formulas. I had to memorize rules when it came to language. To get into the university I had to endure a whole year preparing for the entrance examinations, taking special extra classes that reviewed what I had studied in the previous 12 years and taught me tricks to get the best score possible. Yes, unfortunately, due to the way our educational system in Brazil works and universities and college select their students tricks are what come handy in those examinations, finding easier ways to get to the result of a math problem, using mnemonic sentences to remember the elements of the periodical table of elements…*

Hold on a minute there! Was I supposed to be tested on how much information I could retain (even if temporarily – just for the test) and remember or in whether I knew how to use that information, whether I had been successful at transforming that information into knowledge?

In my (very) humble opinion that is the biggest and eventually fatal mistake of traditional assessment. It doesn’t check the right thing, it is unfair and in a certain way it side tracks students from real, meaningful learning.  I believe myself to be unbiased as far as the topic goes, especially because I was an A student all my life. But the fact that I did well in traditional testing does not mean I agree with it.

I always questioned the effectiveness (and real results) of the type of evaluation I (as well as the rest of the world) had been assessed by all my life. That questioning became even more serious – and finally active – when I started teaching. For a few years I taught the history classes for Graphic Design undergraduate students at UFPE (the Federal University in Pernambuco) and it bothered me to think about assessing my students in the same way I had been. Memorizing things isn’t learning! And what about if the student learned a lot about the Modern art movements, but not exactly about the artists and movements I decide to ask about? Not fair, right? At least I thought so. So I started experimenting. Instead of telling students what I wanted them to tell me, I would give them a number of key words and they had to use at least 70% of them in an essay telling me what they had learned on a specific subject. I tried to bring art history and its characteristics to their reality, encouraged them to find influences from those movements in their modern world. That, in my opinion, should be the main reason we study history: to understand the effect it has in our lives today, to understand the why and how. So I focused on that. I focused on trying to assess what they knew rather than what they didn’t. I hope I was successful. I enjoyed it.

I hope I was able to give you a background of my views on assessment and how I had an early start at using alternative ways of evaluating students – even if I had no idea I was doing that in the beginning, I just wanted to experiment and find better ways, ways I found more fair, effective. To avoid making this post too long – which maybe it already is, I have a tendency of getting carried away – I’ll skip about 10 years to my current reality and how I use alternative assessment today, with my English students.

The school where I teach, ABA  has recently abolished all forms of traditional testing and uses an electronic portfolio, developed by a team of IT people, graphic designers and teachers. The process took years, moving from traditional, slowly and gradually into what we have now.

I believe the portfolio (and even more, the e-folio) is a more effective, meaningful and authentic assessment tool. Why? Throughout the semester the students select samples of activities and tasks they have doneusing the four skills and post them in their electronic portfolios. It is not required that these activities posted be from the ones done in the classroom, they can be samples of anything the students have done involving English that they feel has helped them learn. For instance, the student can post the video with an interview of their favorite singer they have watched and write what he/she understood of the video.

Alternative assessment is cool! (Photo under Creative Commons by Settle.roamer on Flickr)

An important part of how we work with portfolios has to do with having students self-assess, reflect upon their own learning, therefore understanding it better so as to hopefully knowing how they learn better and what they should do to develop their target language. For that to happen, for each activity the student posts on their electronic portfolio they have to write a reflection (that is displayed by the post) explaining why he/she thinks that activity is a good example of their English learning process and what he/she has learned from it.

Using electronic portfolios as our sole tool for evaluating students has proven to be extremely effective and rewarding. The students have total freedom to choose the way they use the language and they are assessed through that, making it much more meaningful and motivating to students. It also allows the teacher to see the student’s performance in the language, by accomplishing authentic tasks, things they would actually need to use the target language to do, such as commenting on a movie they have watched or talking about current events. The principle of authenticity can be noticed in this aspect of the assessment since the tasks the students choose corresponds to situations they (would) use the language for in real life.

Throughout the whole semester the teacher visits the students’ portfolio to check on new posts and may write comments on each post. These comments may provide the students feedback on the content, choice of activity posted or on the accuracy of it, giving them specific points to work on and possible suggestions on how to do so. This is a good example of washback. Students get individualized feedback on how they are doing and what they should do to improve.

Every level in the school has a specific set of rubrics for the portfolio evaluation and all students are assessed using them. The rubrics are very thorough and presented to students in the beginning of the semester, as well as made available for reference whenever they want. All the students use the same system for creating their portfolios and receive the same training and support. This makes the portfolio assessment a reliable one.

Since the students are the only ones responsible for choosing and adding the activities they will be evaluated on, they feel it’s a fair way of being assessed. It is content-related because the students are assessed by using the skill they are being assessed in – for speaking they have to upload videos and/or audio files of themselves speaking for example. And since the objective of the course and the students is to effectively use the target language for communicating, the portfolio is the best way for students to prove they can communicate effectively in English.

All in all, portfolios – and especially electronic portfolios, for the flexibility they give students in the type of media they use to perform in the language – are proving to be a very effective and rewarding way to assess students.

If you are interested watching my presentation Alternative assessment and electronic portfolios: sharing a successful experience and ideas” on the last Reform Symposium (which took place on July 29, 30 and 31) you can see the recording here. The recording for the RSCON3 Assessment Panel can be found by clicking here.

As usual, I’d love to hear what you think? How do you think assessment should be done in the ELT classroom?

 * (for those who are not familiar with the Brazilian educational system, after the 5th year students have to study all subjects of all areas – from Physics to Biology – every year. There’s very little change from one school to the next because of the requirements of the Ministry of education).

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33 comments on “My (initial) two cents on Assessing students…

  1. […] My (initial) two cents on Assessing students… This weekend thousands of educators from all over the world will take part in The Reform Symposium, which will happen between today, July 29th and Sunday, July 31st. The Reform Symposium is an glob… Source: cecilialcoelho.wordpress.com […]

  2. Fiona says:

    Thanks Cecilia for a very interesting post. I’m sure this is the direction our college will be going eventually and it sounds great that students have ownership in that they are responsible for their own learning in content, self assessment and reflection. At the moment we have ILPs (Individual Learning Plans) which are paper-based, clearly not owned by the students and teachers have a huge responsibility in administration. Can’t wait for e-portfolios for both teachers and students!

    • Hi Fiona!

      First let me apologize for taking a while to respond…I was taking a break after RSCON and catching up on sleep a bit :-)

      And I believe you can rest easy as far as assessment being in the means of changing. If the sessions I’ve been attending in both face-to-face and virtual settings – especially in the recent Reform Symposium – give any indication of where assessment stands and how educators feel about it, we’re definitely moving towards shifting from formal assessment to alternative, more authentic and meaningful assessment.

      I hope you and your college start your path on that move soon!

  3. jeremyharmer says:

    A fascinating post, Cecilia, and exciting and challenging.

    I understand exactly why e-portfolios fulfill all sorts of wishes and requirements to create a more desirable environment for study, and memory retention etc – and to teach and test in a more creative and humane way.

    The only slight worry is about how equitable this kind of assessment is. When lives and careers depend on exam success, or course achievement, how do e-portfolios ensure scorer reliability, for example; how do we hold up a universal standard?

    I’m not disagreeing with anything you have said; just wondering.

    Jeremy

    • Hi Jeremy,

      I loved your wondering… I am a fan of reflection, of comments that make me read what I wrote again, analyze through the lenses of the comment. you’re always welcome to “not disagree but wonder” here :-)

      I see what you’re talking about and I think about that too… As a teacher who also works with exam prep groups, I know exactly what you’re talking about. And I see eye to eye with you on it, The way exams are formatted these days, assessing students through an e-portfolio is unrealistic, and quite frankly, pointless. In the post I mention that “(…) since the objective of the course and the students is to effectively use the target language for communicating, the portfolio is the best way for students to prove they can communicate effectively in English.” that does not apply to students preparing for exams – at all.

      I guess when I wrote the post (and when I think of assessment in general) I focused on regular groups, the students whose objective is effective communication and not pass in an exam. In my teaching context a very small percentage of the students will eventually take a proficiency exam (or any other type of more formal language exam), so naturally my initial attention turns to them.

      The key in assessing being fair and effective is designing and applying it always having in mind the student’s objective in learning the language. If communication is that objective, e-portfolios are, as of now and in my very humble personal opinion, the most effective way. If passing a formal exam is the desired final result, different approaches have to be taken, because our job is to “train” the learner to use the language being presented in the way expected by the exam. You know as well as I do that each of these exams has different characteristics, they test language differently, they have peculiarities. It’s not about the language per se, but how you can adjust to the test.

      But I am an optimist. I see a light in the end of the tunnel (even if far, far away) even for such exams. When you consider the changes that the TOEFL has gone through and how much more authentic and less rigid it is in its current iBT version, you can see a hint of a change there. And I think other will follow suit – eventually. Maybe I should’ve said hope instead of think, but as I said, I am an optimist.

      Thanks for the wondering ;-)

      Ceci

  4. Your post resonates in so many ways!

    It is actually a reflection of my deepest belief as a teacher of English: “the objective of the course and the students is to effectively use the target language for communicating”

    However, although I admire the fact that your ABA has achieved this, I still see many obstacles to it happening in regular schools. Some of the reasons have been rightly pinpointed by Jeremy…

    So, for the time being, we might settle for striking a balance between the use of e-portfolios and more traditional testing methods, which are still forced upon us by administrators and educational policy-makers.

    However, I do hope that assessment in education will be moving towards that direction.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Vicky

    • Dearest Vicky :-)

      Why am I not surprised with your deepest belief as a teacher? I guess deep down many of us think this way.

      I agree with you as far as regular schools go. As far as we’re tied to standardized testing for certificates and official “proof” the learner has achieved a certain fluency in the language, there is little chance of our moving into the kind of alternative assessment I am fortunate to be using in (most of) my teaching. Much like what many people said during both the Panel on Assessment and my session during RSCON this past weekend, in the case of learners whose objective (or requirement established by the school or government) is pass such exams, change has to start in the syllabus. It has to start in the exams themselves.

      Sharing is always a pleasure, especially when I get comments like yours, that make me assess ;-) my thoughts and either change them or be even more assured of them. thanks for your comments!
      X
      Ceci

    • seburnt says:

      As I have just introduced the idea in a (informal) curriculum planning meeting for the academic year at the university I teach in, there was definitely some resistance, including my own, to e-folios replacing overall exams, papers or whatever other one-size testing we need to do in this context. My suggestion eluded to the idea that we try out an e-folio in smaller stakes situations, like for weekly assignments or as participation marks, replacing the ever-useless, ‘did you show up in class and ask questions’ token percentages. Not sure exactly where it’ll lead, but it’s a start in that direction, even within mainstream schooling.

      • Hi Ty,

        I agree making the shift is not as easy as it may seem – in the school where I work it tooks us years, nearly a decade. Even more complicated, as Jeremy and Vicky pointed out, in some cases the shift is still not possible because of the objectives / requirements of some courses. So, like Neil says in his comment, before we really move into more authentic, alternative assessment all around, there has to be a change in the syllabus and how language is taught and measured altogether – which, IMHO is not going to happen overnight or anytime soon, but we are moving in that direction, even with mainstream schooling I think.

        And to get anywhere there’s always a start, right?

        I like the idea of experimenting with portfolios in smaller stakes situations. They can be the perfect medium for a more reflective analysis of the learning by the student himself. I think we have to be patient, experiment, be VERY careful and self-critical (not just get overly excited by the possibilities and how it’s been used in this or that context and dive into it), and find the best way for each of our teaching contexts.

        x
        Ceci

  5. mcneilmahon says:

    Hi Cecilia,

    Sorry couldn’t make either of your contributions to #RSCON3 but thanks for the post to give us a taste of your thoughts.

    Reading the early paragraphs makes me wonder whether assessment didn’t get a bad name because of the forwardwash caused by education systems and curriculum based on fact retention. I have always been struck by not just the amount of learning demanded of my Czech and now Argentine students in their schools but also the lack of thinking it inspires.

    I remember hating having to put myself in the shoes of a loom operator soon after the industrial revolution hit Britain and write a diary entry detailing impressions of a day in my life (and I scored much worse at this kind of task than the fact recall types) but I now appreciate how valuable those attempts at developing my critical thinking skills were.

    Before we change the assessment, perhaps we need to change the curriculum and the forwardwash effect it has?

    • Hi Neil,

      As I have mentioned in my replies to both Jeremy’s and Vicky’s comments, a change in the curriculum is essential to achieve a full transformation of how language (and who knows what else?!?!) is assessed in schools and courses.

      And the simple (?!?) fact we are here reflecting, sharing, challenging and discussing how assessment is done and the new possibilities, tells me we’re moving somewhere. Baby steps, yes, but steps nonetheless. Let’s keep our fingers crossed :-)

      Thanks for leaving your two cents here!

  6. AdultCentre says:

    I really love this post. thank you so much

  7. Hi Ceci,

    I think what you are writing about here is exactly where we need to go. Giving students choice, having them reflect, and having them self-assess is very important to the process of learning. Memorizing and regurgitating is a huge waste of time. If I’m going to memorize something I do it to use it for something. I’m not saying no memorization, just not an emphasis on memorizing, and use the information to gain deeper understanding or for critical thinking.

    And I agree that e-portfolios or portfolios of any kind are what our kids should be developing in all their classes. Whatever their next step will be I’d rather my students move forward with artifacts and examples of their work rather than a transcript full of letters and numbers that truly mean nothing.

    As for me, I’ve gone back and forth on the use of rubrics. I used to like them because I wanted students to know exactly what I wanted of them, which I found limiting. I want them to do what they want. Besides, very few of my students ever referred to the rubrics while working! Even now I give students the standards we are learning from and they don’t give them a second thought. I much rather guide, model and give ideas then let them learn and create as they will.

    In response to Jeremy and Vicki I humbly believe it better for career advancement to be able to produce samples of what you can do instead of grades. I’m just not sure that equitable, universal standards are what we need when we agree that one size doesn’t fit all. And I strongly believe that the biggest obstacles to this happening in schools is us! If all teachers and admins wanted to do this with our students we’d do it and then the policy makers would have to contend with us instead of the other way around.

    Thanks again for all your help, Ceci. I wish I would’ve been awake during your sessions!

    • Hi Al,

      Happy to hear (or rather read) we see eye to eye on the benefits of portfolios as an assessment tool. And the reasons for it that you mention are the ones who weigh more for me as well.

      Differently from you, I like working with rubrics. I think rubrics are necessary to keep evaluation the less subjective possible ( I still haven’t found a way of getting rid of it altogether, not sure there is). We are able to keep the “limitations” you mention to a minimum if we find the best wording for it. Much like what happens to you, not many of my students give a second look to the rubrics. But for me, what matters is that I show them, they know it. And if they choose not to pay attention it’s their choice and they should be able to see the benefits of knowing it. Despite my belief that students should be evaluated not by what we think they should know (in a more micro-manner of speaking – am I making any sense???) but rather on what they have learned, I think we need to have a “macro” framework of what they should get out of the course knowing. Otherwise, we’re looking into chaos and very uneven learning.

      Let me try to make myself more clear: I think we need to have – and let the students know – WHERE they are going, WHERE they are getting (the “final” learning, the result)… HOW they get there is their choice, and there are many paths to get from point A to point B.

      I always think I have trouble expressing my views… I hope I was understandable :-)

      Helping you (and learning from you) was a pleasure. It got me in touch with you and we’re already sharing and learning together. How fantastic is that?

      Ceci

  8. seburnt says:

    I think the e-folio system your school created and uses is a fascinating alternative to traditional assessment. I’ve always heard you speak about it, but never fully understand what was in it or what the reasoning behind it has been. Now, I have a better grasp of how you and your students actively use it and am feeling inspired to look into it more, especially in conversation with you. One thing I do wonder though is how a video of a student speaking really demonstrates ability to communicate effectively given any set of rubrics. My curiousity really stems from a skeptical suspicion that students rehearsed before recording themselves–an artificial result.

    • Hi Ty,

      Glad the post could shed some light into how we’re doing it and especially that it inspired you. And I am looking forward to talking about assessment with you – I think discussing can only make it better, even if our teaching realities are very different.

      As for your question on how a video / audio of a student can really demonstrate ability to communicate… well, I see your point. But I have some considerations to make about it. The first is that you can have students record their speaking in class or in a conversation with another student to post as a speaking activity. You can think of authentic posts. And we can tell when the student is either reading from a paper or has memorized everything, it’s just not the same…

      So what I do when I come across posts like these is I go and talk to the student, have a heart to heart and say it’s not a reading post, and he/she has the chance of replacing it for something more authentic. They have to realize they get better feedback (therefore better summative assessment) when they may make more mistakes but favor the fluency. But sometimes they just don’t. The key is on persisting and not giving up. Changing the system, one student at a time :-)

      Thanks for the reflection. X

      Ceci

  9. […] panel on assessment, which only made me wish I’d got up earlier and caught more of it.  And #CeciELT’s blog post on her views on the subject only augmented that view.  It was heartening to see braod agreement […]

  10. Hi Cecilia,

    Coming to your post rather late in the day, but, wow, it was well worth it. Good way to round off a Sunday evening before getting into the swing of things at the office (and believe me tomorrow I start by sharing your post with the Academic department as we have also been thinking how to radically change our evaluation system).

    I agree with you fully that if we are to fully prepare learners for the demands of this century (and society in which they will work & socialise), the old form of evaluation (especially what we are traditionally used to here in Brazil) really needs fundamental revision. I really don´t see why ELT schools need to tow the same line as regards testing as the traditional school system. After all, most of us are advocates of a more reflective & collaborative approach towards language teaching and this is in total dissonance with the testing we´ve been applying.

    Having said that, and picking up a bit on Jeremy´s point about the importance of assessment as a formal tool in people´s career etc., I think we can separate quite nicely one thing from the other. One thing is the language course and it´s demand. We need to prepare learners to communicate effectively in different situations. The international proficiency awards which so many of us prepare our learners for is something completely different: they require a great amount of preparation in terms of the type of exam learners will take, specific skill building. This can be dealt with as an additional facet of language learning – it doesn´t have to come in to the daily practice of our lessons or course evaluation, for that matter.

    Having seen what Cambridge ESOL has just done to its tests: the enhanced results information to candidates (http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/exams-info/results-information/enhanced-information-for-candidates.html), I actually see this as an attempt to solve 2 problems: 1) a marketing problem in which people pay for exams & don´t pass (now all will get a statement of level); 2) an understanding that there is an alternative view of assessment which increasingly needs to be catered for (this is my interpretation of this move, I may be totally wrong,).I tend to agree with you, education will in the end influence the way testing will be carried out. It is a slow process, which is good as this allows all involved to fully consider the implications.

    But,wow, we´ve seen so many changes in education in the last few years that I’d like to believe that this is yet another one which is just round the corner and we depend on educators such as yourself to share examples which are working.

    Thanks again for this great example. Sorry for writing such a huge reply (but I guess all have found out that I really can´t contain my long blog post comments….sorry).

    Valéria

    • Hi Valéria,

      Sorry for taking so long to reply… first week of classes can be very crazy, and this has been a memorable one ;-) I was very happy to read we see eye to eye on the topic of assessment and the necessary changes it has to go through. It was a very nice feeling to see educators I respect and whose opinion I value agree that something needs to be done, for the traditional method of testing is no longer really measuring how effectively our students are learning the language. This has been happening for a while, but I believe technology and how it has sped everything, the fast changes it has made possible, the widespread of opinions, ideas, discussions it has enabled… well, it has made such changes even more evident and urgent. The students we are teaching today are certainly not the same as 10 or 15 years ago, and their needs have changed much as well.

      As for the restraints we sometimes have that prevent us from making the change more quickly and possibly more smoothly, such as governments/school/society requirements of students sitting through certain standardized tests… I agree with you. I think we can do both things, we can separate that quite nicely – at leats here in Brazil. In the most part we can focus on communication and use alternative assessment tools for evaluation, and prepare those who intend on taking such tests (or have to for some reason) with the mechanics of the test, as an additional facet of the language, a task-focused one. That’s what we’ve been doing at ABA, and so far it has worked well. Our statistics for both ECCE and ECPE tests have actually improved ever since we adopted the portfolios, which, in my humble opinion, only validates that students are actually learning the language and how to use better, and they can focus on the test if they have to – language is not such a big issue then. After all, we also have to remember that most times the students have already achieved considerable fluency when they need to take such tests.

      Like you, I’ve been watching with keen interest the changes in the big standardized language proficiency tests, the change on TOEFL was a big (and positive one) and now others are slowly following suit. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best :-)

      Thank you for your great comment, kind words and for sharing this with other educators in you school. I hope they liked it :-)
      X
      Cecilia

  11. At the British Council in Barcelona we have based all internal assessment on the speaking and writing done by students during each term. This assessment has higher stakes at the end of each academic year when it is used by teachers “to advise students about what course would suit them best the following year” to pass and fail students.

    At the end of each term teachers have a short 1-to-1 interview with each student used for two-way feedback.

    We also prepare a lot of students for public exams and for them there is a lot of exam practice including a complete practice exam mid-way through the year, the results of which are also used to advise students about their chances in the real exam. Students largely follow their teacher’s advice about whether they are ready for the exam, but take less notice of suggestions about what they need to do to increase their chances.

    Personally, I give my students a huge number of exercises/tests on different aspects of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, reading, listening and I try to give them feedback about their problem areas by using statistics to compare them with others in the class and previous classes. But this is NOT used for (summative) assessment only for feedback (formative assessment)

    We probably do a better job with assessing writing than we do with speaking largely because we organise cross-marking sessions three times a year for the writing. Organising cross-marking of speaking using recordings has only been tried once, but I think technology has reached a stage where this should now be possible. We also collect more writing grades than speaking grades each term, which means that writing is seen as much more important then speaking. Technology should make it possible to redress this imbalance.

    This year I plan to get my students to post their writing and recording to their own posterous pages, which I will try to give some feedback on. This will include a formal grade for a limited number of posts.

    I like the idea of the students owning their e-portfolio so that when they move on to another class they can take it with them and continue to use it either independently or with their new teacher.

    It remains to be seen how many other teachers would be prepared to work in this way for fear of the technological problems and or the extra work involved.

    • Hi Chris,

      First let me apologize for taking so long to reply. As I mentioned in my comment to Valeria, this was the first week of class and welcoming students to a new semester as well as handling the little problems that always arise at this time of a school year. Thank you for giving me a detailed account of how you are dealing with assessment at the BC in Barcelona.

      It was very interesting to read how you have been mixing different types of assessment and especially the important role feedback plays in it. We also use grammar, vocabulary, reading activities as a resource for formative assessment. We used to give students quick pop quizzes throughout the semester for the same purpose, but we had to stop that, because our students (and their parents) had difficulty understanding those were to help the teacher see what needed to be done, which way to take from there, and not the actual (summative) evaluation tool. I blame this in the fact we’re still very much rooted in traditional, formal types of assessment in the region wehre I teach. It’s harder to show everyone that there are other and more effective ways of accomplishing that, of evaluating students and giving them a “grade”. So dependent of the numeric values we still are!

      And as you correctly guessed (?!?!) fear of technology, the problems that come with it and the extra work it represents have been obstacles in getting teachers to fully and whole-heartedly join the change. It has been a matter of being persistant, firm and always pointing out the advantages of it. And every semester more teachers”bought” the idea. We have been at it for at least 5 years…

      I think you’re finding good ways of dealing with it within your possibilities. The important thing is to keep looking for ways to change it, insisting in it, experimenting… :-)

      Cheers,
      Cecilia

  12. […] As you may have noticed through some of my last posts, assessment is the “apple of my eye”. More accurately, alternative assessment has been my biggest interest in education lately. And not only because it’s how I assess my students at the school where I work, but more importantly because I believe in it and love reading, sharing ideas and discussing benefits and difficults in doing it. I talked about it on a recent post: My (initial) two cents on Assessing Students… […]

  13. […] My (initial) two cents on Assessing students… « Box of Chocolates […]

  14. mmebrady says:

    A very inspiring post. I will be expanding my use of eportfolios with my students this year. I do have exams to give at the end of the year, but they are proficiency-based, so the eportfolios should mesh nicely. I will be checking out your RSCON presentation as well. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Thank you for your kind words! And I’d be very interested in learning more about your use of electronic portfolios (Which platform are you using? How much of the assessment will be done using it?).
      Maybe we can continue sharing and getting ideas that will be helpful to both of us :-)
      Cheers!

  15. […] of the electronic portfolio (which is our school’s tool for evaluation as you can read about here ). They’ve had bad experiences I suppose and started the semester voicing their hatred for […]

  16. […] My (initial) two cents on Assessing students… by Cecilia Lemos Though I’ve never fully believed in standardised tests like TOEFL or TOEIC thanks to years watching Korean private language schools teach the test not the language, Cecilia’s post about e-folios pushed the debate further and gave me that push to try out portfolios in my own program. This is what is supposed to happen from a post–real change. […]

  17. […] I’ve always thought portfolios, if relatively all-inclusive, were excellent representations of a body of work. For reflective purposes, they provide ‘a forest’ and individual ‘trees’ views that can be valuable learning experiences for teachers or students. On the forest level, they value the overall development of skills and growth as a teacher/student; while looking from tree view, they provide an invaluable detail the individual skill strengths and areas to work on. If used merely as a reflective tool (which initially for Bailey, Curtis & Nunan, they are), some meaningful ideas can sprout (e.g. data showing consistent weakness, skill areas that need developing more, etc.). While a bit unwieldly if carried around as hard copies, one could instead consider an e-folio. […]

  18. […] blog post about assessments is very relatable. She explains how traditional testing is probably not the best […]

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