Assessing foreign/second language writing ability

My training and research focus is in second language pedagogy, and computer-mediated communication. In addition to teaching language courses and graduate courses on foreign language pedagogy, I have been the language program director in Germanic Studies for the last eight years. In this module, I was asked to focus on second language writing. In foreign language instruction, writing often plays only a support role, especially at the beginning stages of learning.

Assessing foreign/second language writing ability

These feelings tend to have their roots in a couple of problems in language assessment. First of all, sometimes we find that the tests we give don't connect to what is happening in the language classroom. There might be a lack of cohesion with course and the test. And, equally important, there might be a lack of connection between the test and what is considered real language use.

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This first issue can be a problem for teachers as they might feel that the test is not an accurate picture of the students' ability, which they often have a sense of from daily work. And this can lower their confidence with assessments.

For students, this can render a test un-motivating, it could lower their engagement with the task, and, as a result the test will not elicit their best performance. Another problem with assessment is that tests hold a good deal of power over teachers and students.

Homogenizing the Participants

The tests can have a great impact as well as a negative impact on the classrooms and lives of those involved.

Important decisions are often made based on test scores, such as final grades, exit from a program, even employment or citizenship. Tests hold power in how they impact the classroom and the perception of learning goals.

So if an assessment and course don't connect, as I mentioned with the first problem, then it is often the test that takes over in the classroom. Students, and teachers as well, may see the test as the learning goal.

For teachers, this is generally not a happy situation.

Exploring Language Assessment and Testing: Language in Action | ELT Journal | Oxford Academic

However, if the assessment well is aligned well with the course and language use, then the impact can be positive. The goal in this module is to increase confidence and competence in developing and evaluating language assessment. Hopefully, with this will help teachers assure that the tests they use connect to their classes as well as their thoughts about what language is.

It should also help them voice concern when it does not. Lastly, approaching assessment as part of learning, not just a measure of learning, may help lessen the impact and perhaps create a more positive relationship between teaching and testing.

Your browser does not support the audio element.7 Teaching content through a second language. as collecting lunch money to cognitively demanding tasks such as learning how to read—are conducted in a foreign (second) language.

For those who teach content in a second language, assessing background knowledge also means knowing the range of the students’ linguistic ability to handle.

assessing foreign/second language writing ability

In the past twenty years, language testing research and practice have witnessed the refinement of a rich variety of approaches and tools for research and development, along with a broadening of philosophical perspectives and the kinds of research questions that are being investigated.

As efficacy research began in the foreign/second language teaching context, considering the importance of language proficiency, researchers began to investigate the relationship between (self-) efficacy and proficiency.

Elder, C () Assessing the language proficiency of teachers: Teachers’ writing proficiency and assessment ability. List of language proficiency tests This is a non-exhaustive (growing) list of standardized tests that assess someone's language proficiency of a foreign/secondary language.

Various types of such exams exist per many languages—some are organized at an international level even through national authoritarian organizations, while others simply. Investigating the effects of strategy use and second language test performance with high- and low-ability test takers: A structural equation modeling approach.

Language Testing, 15, Rasch, G.

Assessments for World Languages

(). Originality/value – This topic is significant as assessing foreign/second language writing skills is one of the most problematic areas in language testing. It is made even more important because good writing ability is very much sought after by higher education institutions and employers.

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