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Опубликован: 18.11.2015 | Уровень: для всех | Доступ: платный
Лекция 10:

Learning and teaching


Class assessment can be divided into two main types:

Formative assessment and Summative assessment

Think about the word formative: it looks like the words ‘forming’ and ‘reform’. Formative assessment means assessing in order to do something about the situation.

Think about the word summative. It looks like ‘sum up’ and ‘summary’. Summative assessment means finding out what point you have got to.

Most teachers have to do a summative assessment in the form (usually) of a test at the end of a course or an end of course report. The problems in learning start when that is the only assessment they ever do.

Look at this imaginary and very simple test.

On Monday, students learn family members.

On Tuesday students learn the possessive ‘s’.

Wednesday is the test.

10 students get it all right 2 students get 3/5

4 students get 2/5 6 students get 1/5


If you were this teacher, you should now ask yourself:

How are you doing as a teacher? How are they doing with English?

Ask the question to yourself and think of an answer.

Once you have asked the question, what happens next can be summative or formative assessment.


Some revised. Give them a merit mark.

Some did badly.

Tell them off. Give them a D grade

They must do better.

Just over half got over half marks.

From a summativ test you can only record and then go forwards. Some students will fall more and more behind. Generally, summative assessment concentrates on what students KNOW.


Which family member was the biggest problem for my students?

Nearly half the class had problems!

What did they all get right?

We must discuss the test and which answers confused them .

If you have a formative approach you can try to work out what the problems were and do something to improve. Formative assessment concentrates on HOW THINGS ARE TAUGHT AND HOW PEOPLE LEARN. Did you just tell students about family members or did you let them use the language in group or pair work during the two lessons? We remember the language more if we have a chance to use it. Perhaps you didn’t spend long enough on some of the words?


Which of these are formative and summative comments? Write F or S next to them. EXAMPLE:

Watch out for future tense forms F



You are ready for the next level.

Check the vocabulary reference on page 10.

Correct your errors and hand in again.

See me about this result.

Davide has progressed this term.

Davide still struggles with ‘th’ pronunciation.


Assessment does not always have to be on paper or formal.

Save yourself some marking and test your students’ recall by asking round the class.

You can even have a team game. If you regularly have team tests it encourages students to help each other outside class. Have an extended writing task in the middle of a course. Tell your students that there will be a test and let them prepare some ideas. Then get them to write in a time limit without support. This will tell you who has prepared as well as who can write! Writing tests can be directed to cover language you have studied.


Write a clear description of five family members OR

Describe your house and say why you like it/don’t like it OR

Tell the story of a time that you got lost. Where did it happen? How did you find your way again?

Test listening and speaking too. Give a dictation or get students to make a presentation to the class. Presentations assess study skills, writing and preparation, speaking and pronunciation and confidence, all important in English improvement.

Make sure that this goes into their assessment grade for the end of the course so that they value the activity.

Chat to your students at the end or beginning of lessons. This helps you to know them better and judge their abilities more accurately. And notice anything strange - someone who has stopped doing well may have trouble at home or work. Grading them with ‘20% - should try harder’ does not help.

By the end of a course you should have a record of your students’ achievements in a range of activities, not just a few percentages and letters. This helps you to see patterns. Assess all the four skills and do not give them just ‘tick the boxand multiple-choice tests. Listening tests are useful for assessing sound discrimination and understanding.

Always make assessment formative so that your students know what to improve.


In the following classroom, the teacher is assessing students. Answer the question below the scene.

Teacher at the front of the class - students watching with pencils in their hands.

T: Listen carefully as I say the same word twice. Circle the word you hear.

glass grass

risk wrist

what watch

train crane

plank blank

thing sing

crab grab

What is the teacher assessing?


The teacher is assessing which consonant clusters (tch, gr, pl etc) the students find difficult so that she can do further work on these. In order for the assessment to be formative she must record who had what problem. They may have no trouble at all with one cluster.

Note that she is not interested whether they understand the words. If she was, she would need to put the words in sentences and she would not be assessing only pronunciation.


And finally, a word on tests and examinations. We talked in Unit 3 module 1 about public English tests for which your students will be preparing and you will often come across these. But there are a great many classes in which the teacher is responsible for administering an ‘end of term test’. At this stage in your career you should not be asked to write tests for your classes without help.

If you do by any chance have to write one, here are a few things you MUST do every time.

  1. Decide EXACTLY what you want to test, including which skills.
  2. Show the test to a colleague, not only for proofreading but for checking if the questions are logical and sensible.
  3. Make a sensible mark scheme that gives marks for the content as well as the mistakes.
  4. If you do a writing task, make sure that the students have studied the form - don’t give them a story to write if you have been studying letter writing.
  5. Make the marks add up to a sensible amount.
  6. Decide on a pass mark based on what you think is acceptable or on the school rules. Beginners, for example, are more likely to get over 90% right than advanced students who have more scope for making mistakes and will take more risks.
  7. Never use a course book test without checking that you have covered everything in it and then doing it yourself.
  8. Make instructions as simple as possible!

Always allow time to go over and discuss the test with students, if possible individually, so do not make your test right on the last day of the course. THE TEST should not be something that looms large to frighten people in your classes, and you must be fair.

Now consider the following extract:

There are four main reasons for testing, which give rise to four categories of test:

  • Placement tests: placing new students in the right class in a school is facilitated by the use of placement tests. Usually based on syllabuses and materials the students will follow and use once their level has been decided on, these test grammar and vocabulary knowledge and assess students' productive and receptive skills. Some schools ask students to assess themselves as part of the placement process, adding this self-analysis into the final placing decision.
  • Diagnostic tests: while placement tests are designed to show how good a student's English is in relation to a previously agreed system of levels, diagnostic tests can be used to expose learner difficulties, gaps in their knowledge and skill deficiencies during a course. Thus, when we know what the problems are, we can do something about them.
  • Progress or achievement tests: these tests are designed to measure learners' language and skill progress in relation to the syllabus they have been following. Progress tests are often written by teachers and given to students every few weeks to see how well they are doing. In this way they can form part of a programme of formative assessment. Achievement tests only work if they contain item types which the students are familiar with. This does not mean that in a reading test, for example, we give them texts they have seen before, but it does mean providing them with similar texts and familiar task types. If students are faced with completely new material, the test will not measure the learning that has been taking place, even though it can still measure general language proficiency. Achievement tests at the end of a term (like progress tests at the end of a unit, a fortnight, etc.) should reflect progress, not failure. They should reinforce the learning that has taken place, not go out of their way to expose weaknesses. They can also help us to decide on changes to future teaching programmes where students do significantly worse in (parts of) the test than we might have expected.
  • Proficiency tests: proficiency tests give a general picture of a student's knowledge and ability (rather than measure progress). They are frequently used as stages people have to reach if they want to be admitted to a foreign university, get a job or obtain some kind of certificate. Most public examinations are proficiency tests of this type. Proficiency tests have a profound backwash effect since, where they are external exams, students obviously want to pass them, and teachers' reputations sometimes depend (probably unfairly) upon how many of them succeed.
  • Portfolio assessment: achievement tests and proficiency tests are both concerned with measuring a student's ability at a certain time. Students only get 'one shot' at showing how much they know. For some people, who say they are 'not good at exams', this seems like an unfair situation, and many educators claim that 'sudden death' testing like this does not give a true picture of how well some students could do in certain situations. As a result, many educational institutions allow students to assemble a portfolio of their work over a period of time (a term or semester), and the student can then be assessed by looking at three or four of the best pieces of work over this period. Portfolio assessment of this kind has clear benefits. It provides evidence of student effort. It helps students become more autonomous, and it can 'foster student reflection (and) help them to self monitor their own learning' (Nunes 2004: 334). It has clear validity since, especially with written work, students will have had a chance to edit before submitting their work, and this approach to assessment has an extremely positive washback effect. However, portfolio assessment is not without its pitfalls. In the first place, it is time-consuming, and in the second place, teachers will need clear training in how to select items from the portfolio and how to give them grades. Some students may be tempted to leave their portfolios until the end of the course when, they expect, their work will be at its best (though there are ways to counter this tendency). But above all, when students work on their own away from the classroom, it is not always clear that the work reflects their own efforts or whether, in fact, they have been helped by others. It is largely for this reason that the British Qualifications and Curriculum Agency, for example, has recommended phasing out coursework in many disciplines in secondary education in Britain and replacing it with external exams, the equivalent of proficiency tests (Qualifications and Curriculum Agency 2006). However, this view is not shared by all; the argument about whether continuous assessment (represented by portfolio assessment) or 'sudden death' (represented by external proficiency tests) is the most appropriate method of assessment is set to continue for some time to come.
Вадим Бондарь
Вадим Бондарь
Как найти и выбрать тьютора?
Ирина Суханова
Ирина Суханова
здравствуйте! я прохожу курс учитель англ. языка. я отправила тест №1, как долго его будут проверять.
Павел Плахотник
Павел Плахотник
Украина, Днепропетровск
Анатолий Федоров
Анатолий Федоров
Россия, Москва, Московский государственный университет им. М. В. Ломоносова, 1989