by: Von Michaelo Bacasmot
In my journey being an ESL teacher, my best useful tool in assessing my students is through informal assessment “that is content and performance driven (as opposed to formal assessment that is data driven)” (Weaver, 2006).
At the moment, I’m teaching “Public Speaking I”, which most of the time my students prepares their speeches that I will be assessing on how they use their oral presentation skills (performance driven). It is most likely that presenting speeches needs assessment techniques or methods used (informal assessment). Speeches are “unstructured methods frequently are somewhat more difficult to score and evaluate, but they can provide a great deal of valuable information about the skills of the children” (Navarete, Wilde, Nelson, Martínez, & Hargett). Another thing is, structured methods can be a helpful technique when knowing how proficient on their presented speeches through “rating scales is an assessment technique often associated with observations……with each elements may be rated on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 representing the highest level of proficiency” (Navarete, Wilde, Nelson, Martínez, & Hargett).
Informal Assessment is also “used to make judgements” (Morrison, 2008). In my class not only their presentation skills are being judge but also how they write their “piece” where it is about the content of the speech (content driven). Are their writings have used correct grammar? Is it interesting? Are there any facts that will support their presented topic, and all sorts of questions that need to be evaluated?
For me, it is not only valuable, but also “another route to develop your own informal assessment” (Forlizzi, 2004). Informal in its nature meaning it suggests us to use “at anytime without interfering with instructional time” (Navarete, Wilde, Nelson, Martínez, & Hargett). In short I can readily use it, instant assessment!
Informal assessment is valued when we ought to find our students’ individual strengths and weaknesses instead of evaluating and comparing them as a whole (formal assessment).
In the halls of academe, still formal assessment is most valued but informal assessment as a remedy.
Now from the things that I had mentioned, it is a necessity to reflect and connect on how you assess your students to your own way of teaching. While things may not go on smooth in a class at least you know where to look onto. Meaning assessment helps us to be informed in many ways. Know how’s and do’s, may it be formal and informal assessing effectively in facilitating teaching-learning.
Bear in mind, “the term reflective teaching has come to signify a movement in teacher education, in which student teachers or working teachers analyze their own practice and its underlying basis, and then consider alternative means for achieving their ends, and the use of the term reflection in the context of instruction can be interpreted in the sense of thoughtful consideration, as well as in the sense of mirroring, symbolizing or representing” (Pennington, 1992) see Bailey, 1997).
Bailey, K.M., (1997). Reflective Teaching: Situating Our Stories. Asian Journal of English Language Teaching Vol. 7, 1997, pp. 1-19. Retrieved from http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/ajelt/vol7/art1.htm
Forlizzi, L., (2004). Informal assessment: The Basics. Retrieved from http://aded.tiu11.org/disted/FamLitAdminSite/fn04assessinformal.pdf
Morrison, G.,(2008). Informal Methods of Assessment. Retrieved from http://www.education.com/reference/article/informal-methods-assessment/
Navarete, C., et al. Informal Assessment In Educational Evaluation. Retrieved from http://www.finchpark.com/courses/assess/informal.htm
Pennington, M. C. (1992). Reflecting on teaching and learning: A developmental focus for the second language classroom. In J. Flowerdew, M. Brock, & S. Hsia (Eds.) Perspectives on Second Language Teacher Education (pp. 47-65). Hong Kong: City Polytechnic of Hong Kong.
Weaver, B.,(2006). Formal versus Informal Assessments. Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/formal-versus-informal-assessments