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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Assessment tools

Teachers use a combination of formal and informal tools to assess learners language and curriculum knowledge. These include:

  • observations
  • assessment in day to day tasks, including work learners have completed in a range of curriculum areas, for example science, technology, or health and physical education
  • formal assessment that may have already been analysed against criteria, for example:
    • - primary – eAsTTle, ARBs, PATs  
    • - secondary – asTTle, NCEA assessment activities.

Whilst assessment over a period of time is the most appropriate way to gather a comprehensive picture of a student’s strengths and learning needs, there are times when more formal assessment is appropriate or necessary.

Note: Great care must be taken when using assessment tools that are norm referenced for English level 1 students as these tools may not always be suitable for use with new ELLs within two years of arrival in New Zealand.

Primary

The following is a list of available assessment tools designed for English language learners. There are very few tools designed for primary-aged English language learners currently used in New Zealand schools.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary levels tests

Most vocabulary levels tests have been developed for secondary students and adult learners. The following may be suitable to use with older primary level English language learners.

Paper based receptive and productive tests are available from Paul Nation’s University of Victoria page. They include:

  • receptive bilingual vocabulary levels tests based on the General Service List
  • vocabulary level tests for 1–10,000 words and academic vocabulary word lists based on the General Service List
  • bilingual tests.

Online vocabulary tests from Lextutor. These include vocabulary level tests for 1–10,000 words and academic vocabulary word lists, and are based on the General Service List.

Other vocabulary assessment

Sue Ruffell’s Picture Vocabulary Size test (designed for reading recovery use) available from Paul Nation’s University of Victoria page. This test may be suitable with primary level students.

Written language - Reading

Probe 2 reading comprehension assessments for ages 7+, although it is best used alongside other reading tests.

Standardised assessment tools

A range of tools designed for speakers of English are also sometimes used and adapted for English language learners. Teachers need to use a variety of carefully selected assessment tools and processes in order to find out what their students can do and what they need to learn next.

At the tool selector you will find information on commonly used assessment tools in New Zealand schools.

ESOL Progress Assessment Guidelines provides information about a range of assessment tools and processes used in New Zealand schools and their suitability for use with English language learners. (Order from  Down the Back of the Chair, item number 30975.)

  • Explains how the tools can be used to assess the language learning needs and describe the progress of English language learners.
  • Discusses the purpose of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment.

Secondary

The following is a list of available assessment tools designed for English language learners.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary levels tests

Paper based receptive and productive tests are available from Paul Nation’s University of Victoria page. They include:

  • receptive bilingual vocabulary levels tests based on the General Service List 
  • vocabulary level tests for 1–10,000 words 
  • academic vocabulary word lists based on the General Service List

Online vocabulary tests from Lextutor. These include vocabulary level tests for 1–10,000 words and academic vocabulary word lists, and are based on the General Service List.

Other vocabulary assessment

Sue Ruffell’s Picture Vocabulary Size test (designed for reading recovery use) available from Paul Nation’s University of Victoria page.

Written language - Reading

An  interactive placement test designed to find readers’ levels is available at  CUP English Readers.

Cloze assessment of the reading needs of English language learners (PDF).

Diagnostic Reading Tool based on ELLP texts and available from the  ESOL Online: Teacher Resource Exchange.

Probe 2 reading comprehension assessments.

In senior secondary schools, teachers frequently use NCEA unit standards assessments to assess student learning. Refer to the section on qualification pathways for detailed information on unit standards assessment tools at NCEA level 1 to 3.

Standardised assessment tools

A range of tools designed for speakers of English are also sometimes used and adapted for English language learners.

At the tool selector you will find information on commonly used assessment tools in New Zealand schools.

ESOL Progress Assessment Guidelines provides information about a range of assessment tools and processes used in New Zealand schools. (Order from  Down the Back of the Chair, item number 30975.)

  • Explains how the tools can be used to assess the language learning needs and describe the progress of English language learners.
  • Discusses the purpose of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment.

Published on: 03 Jun 2015




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