1. Introduction
What is SL Assessment??
The way to determine students’ knowledge of the second language.
Three main aspects of SL assessment:
- Information
- Interpretation
- Decision making
Traditional vs alternative/authentic SL
Traditional assessment
Evaluations that include standarized and classroom
achievement tests with different types of exercises
Alternative/authentic assessment
New method to assess that reflects student learning,
achievement, motivation, and attitudes on
instructionally-relevant classroom activities
3. Alternative/authentic SL assessment
techniques and procedures:
3.1. Performance- based assessments
3.2. Portfolio assessment
3.3. Journals/blogs
3.4. Conferences and interviews
3.5. Observations (by the teacher)
3.6 Self– and Peer- assessment
3.1. Performance- based assessment
It usually involves oral production, written
production, open-ended responses, integrated
and group performances and other interactive
Oral interview: A strong example of interactive
language assessment procedure.
(Brown 2004 :255)
Characteristics of performance assessment:
Students make a constructed response
They engage in higher-order thinking, with
open-ended tasks
Tasks are meaningful, engaging, and authentic
Tasks call for the integration of language skills
Both process and product are assessed
(O´Malley 1996:5)
3.2. Portfolio assessment
It is a purposeful collection of students’ work that
demonstrates their efforts, progress, and
achievements in given areas
Portfolios contain materials such as:
Essays, compositions, reports, projects,
presentations, conversations, personal reflections
that have to do with the language learning process.
(Brown 2004:256-7)
3.3. Journals
Interactive diaries of one´s feelings, thoughts,
assessments, ideas, progress towards goals, among
others, collecting information for evaluation
Pedagogical purpose: Communication studentteacher
Important role in the teaching-learning process:
teacher feedback
(Brown :260, Genesse :119)
3.3. Blogs
Online journals which contain chronological entries
of personal thoughts or points of view and that are
frequently updated.
Types: Personal, journalistic, commercial,
educational blogs, organizational, …
Practice of L2 skills: Writing and Reading
Practice of L2 components: Grammar, vocabulary,
3.4 Conferences and interviews
Teacher´s feedback for student´s specific needs
for example, portfolios and journals
Formative, not summative
Main purpose: To offer positive washback
Specialized conference: INTERVIEW
(Brown 2004:264-5)
Teacher interviews a student for a designated
assessment purpose
Several possible goals
Assess the student´s oral production
Ascertain a student´needs before designing a
course or curriculum
Seek to discover a student´s learning styles and
Ask a student to asses his or her own
performance, and requests an evaluation of
3.5. Observations (by the teacher)
Seen as a systematic, planned procedures for
real-time recording of students verbal and
nonverbal behaviour in form of anecdotal
records, checklists or rating scales.
Objective: Assess students without their
Anecdotal records: Should be specific, focusing
on the objective of the observation.
Checklists: Viable alternative for recording
observation results. They focus on only a few
factors within real time.
Rating scales: Appropriate for recording
observations after students make activities
(Brown 2004:267-9)
3.6. Self– and Peer- Assessment
Self-assessment principles:
Autonomy: Ability to set one´s own goals
Intrinsic motivation: Desire to excel
Peer-assessment principles:
Cooperative learning: Collaboration in learning
among the students teaching and helping each
(Brown 2004:270)
Types of Self- and Peer- Assessment:
Direct assessment of (a specific) performance
Indirect assessment of (general) competence
Metacognitive assessment (for setting goals)
Socioaffective assessment
Student – generated tests
Guidelines of Self- and Peer- Assessment:
Tell students the purpose of the assessment
Define the task(s) clearly
Encourage impartial evaluation of performance or
Ensure beneficial washback through follow-up tasks
To set traditional testing and alternatives against
each other is counterproductive. All kinds of
assessment are needed to assemble information on
The Alternative Assessment methods which we have
seen previously lead to the incorporation of the
results they provide into students´ grades
Alternative assessment is a complementary
technique that can be beneficial to students because
it provides teachers with wider information in order
to evaluate students
Brown, H.D. Language Assessment: Principles and
Classroom Practices. (2004). Longman
Genesee, F. & Upshur, J. A. (1996). Classroom-based
Evaluation in Second Language Education. CUP
O´Malley, J.M. & Valdez, L. () Authentic Assessment
for English Language Learners: Practical
Approaches for Teachers. (1996). Addison-Wesley
Publishing Company