Leveling the Playing Field: Assessment Strategies for ELLs
As teachers, we all know that assessment is important. Summative or formative assessment, criterion or normative referenced, traditional assessment or alternative assessment, or what about performance-based assessment, authentic assessment and self-assessment? Even computer-based testing or adaptive testing as well as achievement testing, diagnostic testing, and dynamic assessment are all worthy of mention here. But what do they mean? For the most part, assessments are given to measure students’ learning performances and tests are the instruments through which this is accomplished (Bachman, 1990).1 Assessment is all about giving teachers, parents, and students valuable feedback about a student’s progress as well as a means for a teacher to evaluate his/ her own instructional eectiveness. During the era of No Child Le Behind, tests have taken on a high-stakes quality: a level of accountability that has been unparalleled in the history of education in this country. Yet during this same period there has also been an explosion of alternative ways in which teachers have carried out assessment on their students.