Assessment in secondary modern foreign languages
Assessment in secondary modern foreign languages

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2.2 Using assessment to support learning

How assessment is carried out and how students are able to respond to it is of prime importance if it is to support their target language development. It is not simply what a teacher does that is important, but how it is done. Various techniques and approaches are available to teachers, and choosing the most appropriate approach requires skill and knowledge. You may well have already seen how experienced teachers adopt different assessment strategies depending on the type of activity or its focus; for example, whether it concerns the introduction of new language or the practise or manipulation of already familiar vocabulary and/or grammar.

Assessment can be summative (assessment of learning) or formative (assessment for learning). Effective assessment is planned and integrated into everyday lessons so that you are aware of what the students have learned during a lesson, after a lesson, after a sequence of lessons and at the end of a course or academic year. Formative assessment can be carried out by the teacher or by the pupils themselves through self- or peer assessment.

The purpose of assessment of learning (AoL) is to find out what pupils know, understand and can do, which may then be used for formal certification, to report progress to parents, and to judge teacher and school effectiveness.

Assessment for learning (AfL) also finds out what pupils know, understand and can do, but includes the pupil in the process, and enables the teacher to plan how to help the pupils make progress and develop their understanding and skills.

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