With common core will come a new look at assessments. The traditional bubble sheets may still play a part in creating grades, but it will have a smaller influence. This is crucial when talking about ELLs (and other struggling students) who will not have the academic English proficiency that their English speaking classmates possess. How can they demonstrate to a teacher's satisfaction that they DO understand the key concepts covered in the lesson? If teachers take creative, out-of-the-box approaches to designing effective, targeted, content vs. language dependent assessments, they will receive a more accurate picture of how well their ELLs and others understood the lesson.
ASSESSMENT Teachers need to do regular checks-for-understanding often throughout a lesson. This approach allows a teacher to see who understands the concepts and how well as well as who is struggling in the lesson and where. For ELLs, it will often times be language issue--the language of the text as well as the English language needed to share their understanding of concepts with their peers in academic discourse. If teachers can identify strugglers before homework or independent assignments are doled out, they will be able to supply crucial mini-lessons to those who need them the most while the others continue on with the final assignment.
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES ARE SUPPORTED BY ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENTS Multiple intelligences should be welcomed as an important instructional tool to develop assessments or assignments which tap the gift or those gifts that all students possess including the ELLs. Remember that ELLs are students or kids first and students second. Not all students learn the same way. Not all show their understanding in the same way. When teachers weave multiple intelligences into the mixture, they have the potential to set up each student to be successful with the assignment. This approach boosts student confidence and that leads to good grades and good grades open the door to career choices. (For more on multiple intelligences, search within this blog for earlier postings on it).
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