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

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4.2 Keeping student records in MFL

With so much to assess in the MFL classroom, another challenge for all teachers, but especially beginner teachers, is what assessment to record and in what way.

Reasons for keeping a record of students’ progress

It is important to keep records so that you are able to monitor the progress of individual students over a period of time. Keeping records allows the teacher to see whether individual students are making consistent and appropriate progress in all areas of language learning or whether a student finds a particular aspect of language learning more difficult. You can also look for patterns that tell you if a student is working at their identified level or if they may need some form of intervention or particular support.

How to record student progress in MFL

For any assessment information to be useful it, therefore, has to be meaningful. It will also need to make sense to you some time after it has been recorded!

Activity 7

Timing: Allow about one hour

Look at the record of student progress in Table 4.

Table 4 Student progress
Date 2 March 16 March 16 March 20 March 23 March 27 March
Task Homework: family tree Unit test: writing Unit test: listening Speaking test: out of 28 Classwork: reading Unit 3, page 6 Vocabulary test: schoolbag items, out of 12
Student 1 Level 2 Level 2 25 B 11
Student 2 Level 1 Level 2 24 B 11
Student 3 Level 1 Level 1 24 C 8
Student 4 Level 2 Level 2 27 A 12
Student 5 Level 3 Level 3 26 A 12
Student 6 Level 2 Level 3 27 B 10

What does this record tell you about the progress of each student? What information does it give you about what each student has learnt? What do the test results tell you about each student’s strengths and weaknesses? As a teacher of MFL what would you need to know about students’ writing, listening, reading and speaking skills that would be useful?

Now look at the example of student progress in Table 5

Table 5 Student progress
Date 3 April 4 April 10 April 11/17 April 18 April
Task Vocabulary test Reading Listening Speaking Writing
Student 1 10 10 10 A P✔ C A✔
Student 2 9 10 8 A✔ P* C✔ A*
Student 3 10 10 9 A P✔ C A✔
Student 4 9 10 9 A P✔ C✔ A*
Student 5 4 6 5 A* C* A*
Student 6 6 9 9 A* P✔ C✔ A*
10 places (inc. gender) Recognise 10 places on map Recognise places in a dialogue (/10) Ask and give directions Describe your town
Key: A = accuracy, P = pronunciation, C = content; ✔ = good, * = improvement needed.

What does Table 5 tell you about the progress of each student? What information does it give you about what each student has learned? What can you learn about each student’s strengths and weaknesses? What does it tell you about how the assessment was carried out?

Table 5 is a more helpful record, because the information at the bottom indicates what the students were required to do and some indication of individual strengths and weaknesses.

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