Presentation on theme: "Making the most of assessment: designing multi-purpose tasks for young language learners Louise Courtney Warsaw 21st October 2011."— Presentation transcript:
1 Making the most of assessment: designing multi-purpose tasks for young language learners Louise Courtney Warsaw 21st October 2011
2 Presentation Outline Introduction Presentation of tasks used in transition projectPresentation of tasks used in Younger=Better projectDiscussion
3 Introduction - Assessment 3 Types of AssessmentExternalClassroomSLA research(Shohamy 1994)
4 Introduction - UK Context Primary Languages InitiativeCompulsory for all children aged 7-11 from 2011 (did not happen)Key Stage 2 (age 7-11) Framework for Languages incorporates 5 strands:LiteracyOracyIntercultural AwarenessKnowledge About LanguageLanguage Learning Strategies
5 The transition studySuccess of primary languages depends upon effective transitioncontinuity, building on previous learning, managing a mixed in-takeLongitudinal case study of 26 children who learnt French in primary school.Pupils from two primary schools feeding in to one secondary school.Focused on the problematic transition period – 12 months from summer term year 6 (aged 10/11) until summer term year 7 (aged 11/12).
6 Research Questions:How does the children’s target language proficiency evolve during the transition from year 6 to year 7 and is there evidence of linguistic progression/attrition?What are the similarities and differences between the primary and secondary foreign language curricula and pedagogic practices and how do they effect the children’s language learning?What effect does the transition from year 6 to year 7 have on the children’s motivation for foreign language study and their confidence in the classroom?
7 Assessment challenges Variability of pupil experienceReluctance to assess at primaryDeter enjoyment of lessonsLack of teacher experience/confidenceLittle knowledge of young learner attainment in schoolsIncongruence of standard framework level descriptors and SLA measures of grammatical progressionDevelopmental route/rateerrors/accuracysensitivity to progress
8 Considerations when assessing young learners Age-appropriacy/cognitive demandShort/fast-pacedNeed for ‘warm-up’Interesting/fun/engagingL1 literacy skillsContent validity - UK Primary Framework and National Curriculum
9 Guiding principles for assessment Focus on productive skillsLanguage useImplicit knowledgeMore varied outputAbility to measure individual achievementAssessment of progression over three roundsEmphasis on what the learners were able to produceMeasurement of multiple aspects of linguistic progressionAbility to analyse data on different levels
10 Evaluation of target language development Two key areas of focus:Vocabulary development – productive vocabularyPredominantly nouns, few verbs(Cable et al. 2010, Low et al. 1995, Szpotowicz 2009, David 2008)Morpho-syntactic development (grammar) – emergent creativityformulaic chunksverb morphologynounsacquisition sequences for negation and questions(Mitchell & Hooper 1999, Rule & Marsden 2006, Myles et al. 2004)Two further areas of investigation:Interactive/communicative capabilityDevelopment of L2 literacy
12 Negation Task Designed to elicit a specific linguistic structure Well-documented path for acquisition of grammatical negation in L1 and L2Role of chunks – je n’aime pas and je déteste in expressing negation
13 Data Processing and Analysis Oral tasks – transcribed using CHILDES CLAN programWriting task – entered into CHILDES CLAN programReading Comprehension – marking criteria – score out of a maximum of 36 pointsReading Aloud – transcribed - rating scale 0-3
14 Advantages of using CLAN program Vocabulary measures – lexical diversity, TTR, word countsPermits analysis of specific grammatical structuresAggregation of files for analysis across modes/groups
15 Younger=Better Project Document the development of linguistic competence among young classroom learners of French at three different starting ages, and identify similarities and differencesCompare the rates of development at different ages after the same amount of classroom exposureVocabularyMorpho-syntactic (grammar) development
16 Younger=Better Project 73 young learners in two schools, all L1 EnglishYear 1 (5/6 year olds n=27)Year 3 (7/8 year olds n=26)Year 7 (11/12 year olds n=18)No previous instruction in target languagePart-time teacher employed by the project38 hours of instruction over 19 weeks
17 Empirical Design: Testing Four testing cycles:Pre-instruction testsMid-instruction tests (after 18 hours of teaching)Post-instruction tests (after 38 hours of teaching)Delayed post-tests (2 months after cessation of teaching)
18 Empirical Design: Testing Role Play taskStory Retelling TaskElicited Imitation
19 Elicited Imitation Task Used to investigate whether there are age differences for knowledge of grammatical structureLimitations in working memory in young children (Gathercole and Baddeley 1996) and working memory develops through childhoodAdult working memory capacity has been determined by Miller (1956) as 7 chunks plus or minus 2, where a chunk is defined as either a stand-alone word or multi-word phrasesSo we would expect young children’s capacity to be less
20 Elicited Imitation Task Administered the task with contextual supportStimuli of varying lengths. Up to 9 words. The participants had encountered all of the vocabulary itemsIn this task an utterance read out and then learner asked to repeat the utterance as exactly as possibleIt is claimed that if the stimulus is the appropriate length the learner can only repeat the utterance if it has been processed and some understanding has occurredLearners also asked comprehension questions in English after each section – focus on meaning rather than form
21 Scoring Different codes used: 0 not produced 1 produced prosodically only2 produced incorrectly but understandable3 produced correctly
22 Multiple levels of analysis Is it also possible to apply task data to national framework measures?National Curriculum Level DescriptorsWould my oral tasks provide evidence to assign learnersto levels?What kind of rating scheme could you develop?