Assessing young foreign language learners: When assessment serves learning

  • Claudia Mewald
  • Sabine Wallner Pädagogische Hochschule Niederösterreich

Abstract

This paper is about the first in a series of diagnostic tests developed for young learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) in year one of primary education.  In Lower Austria, learners who transit from kindergarten to primary school have already made their first experiences in EFL. This suggests that starting from scratch with little or no information about what the learners already understand or can do in the foreign language would be a waste of time and a loss of opportunities for new input. Thus, a diagnostic test has been developed which can be used by primary school teachers to assess their learners’ current ability in the foreign language to be able to plan and guide their teaching in a more informed way. The playful and communicative organisation of the test allows diagnosis without putting stress on learners or teachers and fits into classroom practice without disturbing the regular workflow. As the retrieval relies completely on pictorial input, the test can also be used to assess other languages, if the instructions are translated accordingly. This paper presents the test specifications of the test, several item exemplars and links to the test materials which are available on-line.

Autor/innen-Biografien

Claudia Mewald
Claudia Mewald is a lecturer at the University College of Teacher Education in Lower Austria. She specializes in early FL education, learner autonomy, and testing and assessment. She has researched the input and output in CLIL classes and portfolio assessment in teacher education. Since 2004 she has been involved in the development of educational standards and standardised testing at lower secondary level. Her current research interest is the washback of testing on teaching and learning.
Sabine Wallner, Pädagogische Hochschule Niederösterreich
Sabine Wallner is lecturer in Department 6 of the University College of Teacher Education in Lower Austria.

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Veröffentlicht
2015-04-14
Rubrik
Fachwissenschaften