83. What do you suggest the teacher do if an ESL student says he cannot write in English and therefore cannot answer the essay question on the test? Should you have him answer orally? If so, when? Others are working on test and can’t leave the room.

One of the key ideas in assessment, especially in the assessment of English Language Learners, that is, students with limited English language proficiency, is the idea of MODIFYING in several different ways each of the questions in the test. Modifying means presenting the same question in many different ways so that ALL students have an opportunity to answer most of the questions correctly. This way, the teacher has an opportunity to truly ascertain how much students have learned.

If an entire test consists of an essay, then only students who are fluent in writing will be able to demonstrate how much they have learned. Thus, the teacher may wish to MODIFY the key ideas in the essay, and ask those key ideas in different ways. THEN, ask students to also write an essay, if they wish. However, in grading students, any and all modifications answered correctly count, and the essay may be optional, or

may be prepared at home and turned in the day of the test, or
may be developed by groups of students working together, and some of these groups may include English Language Learners.

For example, the teacher may think through all of the key ideas to be included in the essay. Then, rephrase these key ideas as YES/NO questions, or TRUE/FALSE questions for the test. In addition, these key ideas may provide the initial statements in sentences to be completed by the students either (1) choosing from multiple-choice answers or (2) writing in the completion. In addition these key ideas may be listed in random order, and the students must reorganize the ideas while writing an essay.

There are MANY ways to modify the SAME question so that ALL students can complete successfully the assessment task. When teachers choose ONLY ONE way for answering the test question, these teachers are favoring those students who can answer in the chosen manner. Providing as many alternative ways for students to have NO EXCUSE for giving evidence of learning is the BEST way to get evidence of learning.


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:


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