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

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3.3 Target setting

An important part of feedback is to set targets that to support students’ further progress in their use of the target language. Assessment information can also be used to help the teacher decide on the next steps in their teaching and inform their planning of future lessons.

These targets give every learner a ‘next step’ to take in improving their learning in a logical and systematic manner. The more that the students are involved in setting these next steps themselves, the more they learn – and the more they also learn about the skills involved in language learning.

Good language learners are usually able to set out their next steps with only minimal assistance. Helping less accomplished or less effective language learners to consider criteria and set out appropriate next steps for themselves can be difficult, but it will help them move towards becoming more successful and independent learners of the target language.

To be effective, student targets should be:

  • negotiated with the student (so that they have ownership of the targets)
  • achievable and realistic
  • relevant and pertinent to the student’s progression in MFL (this involves knowing the student and their work, and identifying the most significant factors hindering progress)
  • limited in number (it is easier for a student to concentrate on one or two targets, and success in these will improve their motivation)
  • concise, focused and specific
  • supported with suggestions for actions (these indicate how the targets might be achieved)
  • clear in terms of indicating criteria for success (so that students identify when they have reached their targets).

Activity 5

Timing: Allow about 1 hour

Watch the video clip ‘Secondary assessment for learning – modern foreign languages’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] about assessment for learning (AfL) in MFL. (Alternatively, you can read a transcript.) As you do so, make notes on the different approaches to AfL in MFL that you see. How do they support students in becoming good language learners? Use the following questions to help you:

  • What aspects of the assessment process are shared with students?
  • Who sets deadlines?
  • How is assessment used to support students’ progress?
  • How are targets set?
  • How are students encouraged to reflect on their learning?
  • What do you need to consider when planning for peer and self-assessment?

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