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|Name of oral assessment task
|Report on some recent learning
|EAL curriculum level range
|B2, B3, C2, C3, C4
|Listening and responding/oral presentation
To assess students’ abilities to report information obtained by enquiry into a topic.
The task can be used get information about a student’s ability to use language in any area of the curriculum, as well as to see how well students can talk about the use of learning resources as part of their awareness and management of their own learning.
|Learners are asked in a one on one conversation about the information they have learned when researching a topic, and the resources they used in getting the information
|Assumed knowledge and description
|Language centre/mainstream class
|Mainstream class – EAL support
|Subject/key syllabus objectives, outcomes
|The topic can be related to learning objectives in any topic in any learning area.
|Enquiry (research) strategies, reporting on research/study skills.
An explanation of the purpose, nature and use of criteria sheets is available at 4. Using the assessment criteria.
Nature and purpose of the task
This task is intended to assess EAL learners’ abilities to report information learned by enquiry into a topic. The task can be used obtain information about a student’s ability to explain what they have recently learned during an extended study of a topic, and can relate to any area of the curriculum. As well as assessing how well students can talk about a new topic, an assessment for learning focus is incorporated by asking students about their use of learning resources as part of their awareness and management of their own learning. This is important for teachers supporting EAL students, as there is a need to conduct conversations about learning across the curriculum, in order to monitor student progress and support their students in their areas of learning need.
The language related to this task can be quite variable, depending on the topic being discussed. However, there are some constants, such as the use of past tense to report research processes and what was learned, e.g. I went to the library…, I did a Google search…, I found out that…,and I learned…The use of the present tense to talk about information that is generally true, or the product of learning, such as Ned Kelly is a hero to many people, black holes pull object into them is also likely to be used. The framing of the task elicits the present perfect, because it involves talking about a recent event (the recent learning and learning activities) and relating this to the present, such as I’ve been learning about the scientist Stephen Hawking. Teachers should note the extent to which students use the present perfect when appropriate throughout the interview, or whether it is used only in response to a prompt question that is framed in the present perfect. The task involves some personal uses of language when talking about what they learnt, I learned about Stephen Hawking, and when talking about their personal response to what they learnt, I really enjoyed hearing about how … I enjoyed using the internet.
The range of tenses used in the interview will depend on the nature of the topic the student is describing. For example, a topic on jobs would use present tenses to describe an occupation and what that person does, while a report about a historical figure would involve the use of past tenses in talking about that person, an interior designer gives advice about…. compared to Ned Kelly was captured…. A topic about innovations in technology may also involve talking about future uses or application of the innovation. The interview may also elicit use of comparatives and superlatives in comparing the usefulness of different sources, such as the web page was the most useful.., the picture book was more useful that the encyclopedia. The students are also asked to identify future learning plans, eliciting use of ways of talking about the future. Historical topics may also involve (optional) use of the present historic; Ned Kelly kills the policemen at Stringybark creek and is declared an outlaw. This task is related to TEAL Oral Task 6: What I learn at school and TEAL Writing Task 17: What I learn at school.
All students were placed in pairs for these interviews. The primary students were interviewed by a teacher, while the secondary-aged students were interviewed by a peer. All questions were consistent with the task sheet. While consistent questions from a task sheet increases the standardisation of an assessment task, asking students to explain or give more information to short responses can elicit important assessment information that would otherwise not be obtained. As teachers view the sample videos consider the extent to which close adherence to the standard questions could have been complemented with additional follow up questions.
The students in the sample videos respond to the questions they are asked and provide an account of what they have been learning about, how they have been learning and the ways the learning activities have helped them. In doing this they use a range of relevant grammatical structures. What differentiates the proficiency of the students is the range of meanings they communicate, and the extent to which they are able to provide more complete and detailed answers. Some students are more fluent and smooth in their interaction, reflecting greater control over stress, and intonation, to make their speech more interesting and less repetitive. There is also increasing use of adverbs and adjectives to give more precision to what is said. Because it was fun and we get to draw and to write. Some answers are limited yeah, and not really.
Year level: Year 5
Home language: Tagalog
The student communicates effectively, and responds to the teacher’s questions. His answers provide the required information, but the answers are relatively short, and at times the teacher needs to ask a follow up question to obtain all the information she would like. For example, when asked What activities helped you learn best? the student provides an answer I think the experiment that I did, but the teacher asks for more, Why did that help you to learn best? As well as the relative brevity of the answers, compared to students in the other sample videos, the student is also less fluent in given his answers. He speaks at a relatively slow pace, and while there are no inordinately long pauses, he seems to be taking some time to formulate is answers, and to be thinking about the words he needs to use. His intonation is not particularly expressive, giving the effect of making his speech sound less interesting and expressive.
Nonetheless, in responding to the teacher’s questions, the student uses a wide range of grammatical structures. He uses appropriate verb tenses, present perfect for his recent learning, I’ve been leaning, I’ve learnt that…, simple present for things that are universally true, When you add water to cornflour and mix it up … it will turn into solid, simple past for completed actions, The teacher helped me to … I used the internet, and he responds to and uses future forms when he is asked, What would you like to learn about? he answers Technology and explains, I would like to learn how…, using the modal verb would to indicate a wish or desire. He combines some complex expressions I think the experiment I did because it showed me …, and uses an adverb to add precision to his meaning, Mostly the internet.
The student seems a little self-conscious during the task, which may have inhibited the length and animation of his answers.
The marked criteria sheet shows that Student A meets most criteria at level 1 of performance.
His language use in this task is consistent with Level B2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.
Year level: Year 5
Home language: Malayalam
The student responds to the teacher’s questions, and talks about her recent learning, volunteering more detailed information than the student in Sample 1, such as I have been learning about space… for space we created… like a poster… full of like… different planets and the sun in order… The student talks about what she has been learning about, recent learning activities and what she found helpful. In doing this she uses a range of tenses including simple present, It just keeps on going, simple past, She told us what a photosynthesis is…, and present perfect, I have been learning about. She also uses complex verb phrases such as they helped me learn how to create something with the group…, as well as superlative adjectives, smallest to largest… Most responses are complete and detailed, however, she makes some grammatical errors in using complex grammatical structures, such as ..what a photosynthesis is, we looked from a picture. She either does not understand or avoids a question about her future intentions, What other things would you like to learn about cycles? answering Not really!
The student’s pronunciation is clear throughout the interview, and there are very few problems of intelligibility in this sample.
The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 2 of performance. Her language use in this task is consistent with Level B3, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.
Year level: Year 9
Home language: Arabic
The student begins with a greeting in response to How are you? I’m good thank you.
She responds to the question about what she has been learning using simple past, I learned how to do like a (incomprehensible) speech I chose the Ned Kelly. She then gives an extended account of Ned Kelly’s life, expressing complex ideas in language that is generally easy to understand, His father was dead when he was 12 years old… He tried to help his mother but he couldn’t, although it is not always grammatically accurate. She generally uses past tenses appropriately, sometimes in quite complex sentences such as They couldn’t believe him they tried to protect themselves from the police but they couldn’t. Some aspects of grammar break down as she attempts to express more complex information, and she sometimes mixes some simple present verbs with her general past tense narrative, as in, He killed a cow and he steal it.
The student uses simple past to describe her learning activities I went to the library and is able to use present tenses to describe ideas that are true in the present, such as They believe he’s a hero, some people believe he’s a villain, and can add a personal comment to her narrative, I believe he is a hero. The student uses a range of topic appropriate vocabulary through the narrative and comments.
Her pronunciation is generally clear, although a few words are difficult to identify, and ‘Ned’ sounds rather like ‘Nid’, and while she mostly pronounces ‘Glenrowan’ accurately, toward the end of the report this deteriorates to ‘Glenrowanin’.
The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 3 of performance. Her language use in this task is consistent with Level C3, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.
Year level: Year 6
Home language: Vietnamese
The student clearly communicates many different aspects of his recent learning experience. He talks about what he learned about, the activities that helped him to learn and how this may help him in the future. He covers all these topics clearly and effectively. He stumbles a little and loses fluency when he is asked questions about evaluating the learning tasks. In talking about the different aspects of his recent learning he uses a range of tenses, including simple present Books don’t really have much information…, simple past, I enjoyed, present perfect I’ve already learned about it, modals to express intention, I’d like to find out… He also expresses conditionals, In the future if I want to…, and uses a modal verb to express a future learning intention, In the future I should know. He also competently mixed tenses in single utterances to express more complex ideas, I did experiments about what black holes are (simple past and simple present) and… I used can really help me to find out. He also uses adverbs to add precision to what he is saying, Quite a few book, I only had two people, and It actually worked. He uses a wide range of vocabulary relevant to the topic.
This student’s pronunciation is very clear and causes little difficulty for an audience listening to him.
The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 3 of performance. His language use in this task is consistent with Level B3, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.
Video Sample 5
Year level: Year 9
Home language: Farsi
This student responds to the first prompt question using the present perfect, an adverb and a ‘going to’ expression of the future, We’ve recently been learning about careers and what we’re going to do next year. She goes on to talk about what she has been learning about and how she has been learning it. She is able to describe the topic of learning, careers and interior design, and also language learning, Extend our vocabulary and describing other areas of learning as well as knowledge and understanding, How to improve our skills. In doing this she uses a wide range of verb structures and tenses I learned how to I want to choose architecture We had to read. She uses a range of topic specific vocabulary, and other vocabulary to make her meaning clear, including adverbs Firstly, adjectives understandable, and some words to circumlocute things she doesn’t know how to say stuff and Things we’re going to do. While her language use is mostly accurate, there are some small errors with a few structures, saying work experiences as plural and interior designing for interior design.
Her pronunciation is clear and intelligible, and her accent is no impediment to understanding her.
The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 4 of performance. Her language use in this task is consistent with Level C4, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.
Using the assessment to improve learning
- Relating assessment to learning objectives:
- With the whole group of students, review the main points of the class discussion about independent research, and being able to talk about it. Make a list of your expectations about the language used to do this, including using present tense for things that are always true, such as, Black holes have strong gravitational pull, and simple past to describe specific, completed learning activities, such as I searched the internet...
- Put the students into pairs, and have them listen to the recordings of their interviews.
- Ask the students to compare their completion of the task with the list of expectations of the language to be used in the task comment on how well they did in relation to your expectations.
- Using a self-assessment rubric
Provide the students with a simple rubric for the task. The rubric should have rows for the information provided, the language used (words and grammar), and pronunciation. Provide 3 to 4 columns, and either negotiate or provide and explain a range of descriptions for each row, that simply report different performance levels of each dimension. Have the students listen to their recording, and circle the description that best describes what they did in each row.
- Peer assessment:
Have the students work with their interview partners to listen to each of the interviews and review each students’ self assessment of themselves on the rubric. Then have each student make suggestions to their partner about how they could improve their performance in each of the following ways:
- structuring the information they gave to make it easier to follow, or more interesting
- the words and grammar structures they used – suggest other words or structures that could have been used
- the clarity of the speaking: Identify any words or sounds that were hard to understand, and show their partner how these can be said more clearly.
- Productive feedback:
The teacher may independently review the recordings and provide feedback on each student’s performance of the task in a one-on-one conversation, or in written form, using the rubric to structure the conversation. Include feedback on how the student can improve the language they used in reporting to their partner.