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Alternative Assessment

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1 Alternative Assessment
Lesson Twelve Alternative Assessment

2 Contents Tests vs. Assessment
Definition & Characteristics of Alternative Assessment Traditional vs “Alternative” Assessment Performance-based Assessment Why Alternative Assessment Portfolios definition, characteristics advantages, guidelines Observation Journal Summary Yun-Pi Yuan 2

3 Questions to Discuss What’s the difference between tests and assessment? What does “alternative assessment” mean? What’s the difference between traditional and alternative assessment? Is performance-based assessment the same as alternative assessment? Yun-Pi Yuan 3

4 Tests vs. Assessment (1) All tests are assessments, but not all assessments are tests. (Brown 5) Tests Assessment Teaching Yun-Pi Yuan 4

5 Tests vs. Assessment (2) Tests: Assessment: Formal procedures
Strict time limitations Sample the performance of an individual in a specific domain Assessment: Includes all occasions Both formal and informal Alternative assessment: early 1990s Fairness Balance of power relationships in the classroom Yun-Pi Yuan 5

6 Alternative Assessment
Definition: Any method of finding out what a student knows or can do that is intended to show growth and inform instruction and is alternative to traditional forms of testing, namely, multiple-choice tests. Multi-assessment methods, rather than sticking to traditional paper-and-pencil tests. Yun-Pi Yuan 6

7 Characteristics of Alternative Assessment
Require Ss to perform, create, produce, or do something Use real-world contexts or simulations Assess Ss on what they do in class every day Focus on processes as well as products Higher-level thinking & problem-solving skills Provide info. about Ss’ strengths & weaknesses Use human judgment in scoring More (cited in Brown 252; Brown & Hudson ) Yun-Pi Yuan 7

8 Traditional versus “Alternative” Assessment (1)
One-shot tests Continuous, longitudinal assessment Indirect tests Direct assessment Inauthentic tests Authentic assessment Individual projects Group projects No feedback provided to learners Feedback provided to learners Speeded exams Untimed exams Decontextualized test tasks Contextualized test tasks Norm-referenced score interpretation Criterion-referenced score interpretation Standardized tests Classroom-based tests Bailey, Kathleen M. (1998) Learning about Language Assessment . (p. 207) Yun-Pi Yuan 8

9 Traditional versus “Alternative” Assessment (2) (Brown 13)
One-shot, standardized exams Continuous long-term assessment Timed, multiple-choice format Untimed, free-response format Decontextualized test items Contextualized communicative Scores suffice for feedback Individualized feedback/washback Norm-referenced scores Criterion-referenced scores Focus on the “right” answer Open-ended, creative answers Summative Formative Oriented to product Oriented to process Non-interactive performance Interactive performance Fosters extrinsic motivation Fosters intrinsic motivation Yun-Pi Yuan 9

10 Advantages Traditional multiple-choice tests: Alternative assessment:
Highly practical Highly reliable Alternative assessment: Beneficial washback Authenticity greater face validity Some suggestions: See Brown 254. (See figure 10.1, Brown 253) Yun-Pi Yuan 10

11 Performance-based Assessment
Productive, observable skills of content-valid tasks A subset of authentic assessment, but not all authentic assessment is performance-based Alternative assessment could be performance-based. Characteristics of performance assessment: Constructed response Higher-order thinking involved, with open-ended, meaningful, engaging, and authentic tasks Integration of language skills Both process and product are assessed A student’s mastery is emphasized Yun-Pi Yuan 11

12 Three Basic Assessment Types
Following Brown & Hudson’s (1998) classification: Alternatives in assessment: Selected response: T/F, matching, multiple-choice Constructed response: Fill-in, short answer, performance assessments Personal response: Conferences, portfolios, self/peer assessments Yun-Pi Yuan 12

13 Another Classification
Evaluation with tests Purposes/uses Kinds Formats Characteristics of good tests Evaluation without tests (alternative assessment) Portfolios Journals Conferences, interviews Observations Performance assessment Self & peer assessment Yun-Pi Yuan 13

14 Why Alternative Assessment?
Uncertain about test scores What’s the real difference between scores of 59 and 61 (esp. 60 = passing score) Small or chance difference in test scores No such thing as a perfect test Multi-method assessment in order to account for multi-culture, multi-intelligences of learners It can assess learning processes in an on-going manner Many Ts become dissatisfied with the mismatch between how they teach & how assessment is done Yun-Pi Yuan 14

15 Definition of Portfolios
“A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student’s efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas. The collection must include student participation in selecting contents, the criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student self-reflection” (Paulson, Paulson & Meyer, 1991). “A purposeful collection of students’ work that tell the story of their achievements, skills, efforts, abilities, and contributions to a particular class” (Brown & Hudson, p. 664) Yun-Pi Yuan 15

16 Characteristics of Portfolios
Teacher and students can negotiate to decide what is included. The learner has some control over what is being assessed. (learner-centered) Not necessary to include everything, depending on the purpose To document development over time (e.g., drafts) Typical portfolio: four sections Introduction: portfolio contents, reflective essay Academic works Personal section, e.g. journals, photos Assessment section: evaluation from peers, teachers Yun-Pi Yuan 16

17 Guidelines State objectives clearly.
Give guidelines on what materials to include. Communicate assessment criteria to students. Designate time within the curriculum for portfolio development. Establish periodic schedules for review and conferencing. Designate an accessible place to keep portfolio. Provide positive washback-giving final assessments. Yun-Pi Yuan 17

18 Advantages Foster intrinsic motivation, responsibility & ownership
Promote S-T interaction with T as facilitator Individualize learning & celebrate uniqueness of each student Provide tangible evidence of a S’s work Facilitate critical thinking, self-assessment, & revision processes Opportunities for collaborative work w/ peers Assessment of multiple dimensions of language learning Yun-Pi Yuan 18

19 Good Assessment Method?
Is portfolio a good assessment tool? Check against the characteristics of good assessment: Validity Reliability Practicality Authenticity Washback (Brown 259; Bailey 218) Yun-Pi Yuan 19

20 Observation (1) Purpose:
for teachers to make inferences about instructional or learning processes or strategies to explain failure to learn Systematic, planned procedure for real-time recording of S verbal and nonverbal behavior Yun-Pi Yuan 20

21 Observation (2) Planning classroom observation
the objectives of the observation aspects of teaching/learning included in obs. keep elements of observation at one time limited number of Ss being observed at one time how many observations, one occasion or repeatedly? how to record your observations Anecdotal records, checklists, rating scales (Brown 268) how you will use the results Yun-Pi Yuan 21

22 Journal (1) Definition: Features:
An account of one’s thoughts, feelings, reactions, assessments, ideas, or progress toward goals With little attention to structure, form or correctness Features: Self-reflection Writing practice; writing as a thinking process Individualization Communication with the teacher Most formative Yun-Pi Yuan 22

23 Journal (2) Guidelines: A good assessment measure?
Introduce Ss to the concept of journal writing. State the objectives of the journal. (Brown 262) Give guidelines on what kinds of topics to include. Provide optimal feedback in your responses. Designate appropriate time frames & schedules for review. Provide formative, washback-giving final comments. A good assessment measure? Yun-Pi Yuan 23

24 Summary of Alternative Assessment
principle portfolio journal conference interview observation self/peer prcticality low mod reliability Face validity high Content validity washback authenticity Yun-Pi Yuan 24

25 Performance Tests Second Language Assessment: performance of a particular job or set of situated functions. Strengths: using stimulus materials Authentic Direct Highly contextualized (Bailey ) Yun-Pi Yuan 25

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