Lawrence J. Zwier, testing expert and series advisor for Q: Skills for Success, Second Edition, looks at some strategies for measuring student progress in language learning.
Language teachers often discuss the difficulty of measuring how well their students are doing. A typical comment goes something like, “When you’re testing in a history class (or biology, or law, etc.) it’s easy. They either remember the material or they don’t.” This oversimplifies the situation in “content classes,” where analysis might be just as highly valued as memory, but the frustrated ESL/EFL teacher has a point. Teaching in a language class does not aim to convey a body of knowledge but to develop skills—and skill development is notoriously hard to assess. It’s even harder when the skills are meant for use outside the language classroom, but the only venue in which you can measure IS the language classroom.
However, all is not…
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