17. If I won a million dollars


Task details

Task details

Name of oral assessment task If I won a million dollars
EAL curriculum level range  B2, B3, C2, C3, C4
Text orientation Imaginative
Task type Interaction and negotiation


Task specification

Task specification

Purpose To assess students’ ability to talk about hypothetical actions in the future.
Description Students discuss what they would do if they won a millions dollars and discuss reasons for their wishes.
Assumed knowledge and description
  1. Content knowledge: What students would like to do if they won a million dollars.
  2. Text type, genre: Informal discussion about an improbable or imagined event.
  3. Linguistic structures and features: Use of conditionals in discussing improbable events: I would take a trip to Disneyland…What would you do if…? Why would you…? Would you…?
  4. Vocabulary: relevant to students’ ideas


Learning/teaching context

 

Learning/teaching context

Language centre/mainstream Class EAL Support
Subject/key syllabus objectives, outcomes  Talking about unlikely events
Topic/teaching unit Lottery winners; could also relate to values education content
Assessment conditions
  1. Pair activity
  2. Formal/informal: informal
  3. Time limit: 8 minutes for each conversation
  4. Teacher intervention: limited to response to student request for clarification and encouragement
  5. Scaffolding (modelled/guided/independent support): independent
  6. Accommodations: You may use a newspaper article and pictures as stimulus and prompts (e.g. a new car, a holiday, a house, etc.) to assist students in developing ideas. Younger or lower proficiency students may choose one thing for themselves, one thing for their family.
Notes
  • Pre-assessment activities can be extended or reduced as appropriate for the learners.
  • The discussion may be audio recorded for more careful analysis and assessment of individual students after the performance.  This may enable focused assessment and feedback for each student.

 


Task implementation

 

Task implementation

STAGE ACTION STEPS
Pre-assessment activity
  • Brainstorm what it would be like to win a lot of money.  Use a newspaper story as stimulus, if appropriate.
  • Class discussion of the sorts of things students would do if it happened to them, and possible reasons for doing those things.
  • Revise ways of talking about likely and unlikely future events.
  • Students get into pairs ‘A’ and ‘B’
Assessment activity
Post-assessment activity
  • Examine case studies of lottery winners; what they did or what happened to them. (Match to experience and maturity of the group – happy stories and sad stories.)

 

 


Assessment criteria

Annotations and commentary

Purpose and value of the task

This task is based on a scenario which students are able to imagine, but which is unlikely. The task is an opportunity to explore how well students can employ modal verbs to discuss conditional, unreal or unlikely events. It also involves a wider range of language structures, such as asking questions, stating plans and giving reasons. The task is achievable for middle to upper primary, and secondary aged students. The topic may relate to themes in other curriculum areas such as discussions of different value systems, or ways of thinking about issues from personal, family or social group perspectives. The context for the discussion is one in which students can be expected to ask questions and provide justification of their choices.

Contextual information

The students in these videos were prepared for the task by class discussions about the topic, and in some cases, relating it to value systems. They had discussed the ideas and the language they could use in the discussions. They were encouraged to use their own ideas, and were told any ideas would be acceptable. The primary aged students were filmed completing this task in the presence of a teacher, who sometimes asked questions to prompt the students, while the secondary aged students were filmed completing the task as a pair, without the presence of a teacher in the conversation.

Commentary

The samples provide a range of different levels of performance by both primary aged and secondary aged EAL students. In most of these conversations there are some relatively small but noticeable variations in the stage of EAL development between the conversational partners. The use of the most relevant modal verb ‘would’ varies markedly between the early Stage and later Stage performances. The more advanced students in Sample 4 use several markers of modality and unreality. Some of the students at earlier levels of performance use a modal in response to a question that contains the modal, but don’t sustain its use in longer terms, beyond the immediate answer to the question. Although the task sheet provides a very strong model for the use of the modals for students, the students at earlier levels of performance can’t yet sustain its use. This illustrates the effect a prompt can have on influencing answers in an assessment task. Some of the videos include examples of students using strategic skills in interaction and in supporting their partners.


Sample 1

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Year 10

Home language: Liberian

Student B (right of screen)

Year 10

Home language: Tagalog

Commentary

While these students convey their ideas about what they would do in the situation, they only use a conditional structure in asking the question, which is given to them on the task sheet. In describing their ideas they generally use simple present structures, although there is some clear use of a future construction by Student A (I’ll save some in her final comment) and Student B. Student A may be using future tense sometimes, but it is very difficult to be sure as her pronunciation usually sounds more like I than I’ll. Neither student uses a modal or other structures to indicate the conditional or uncertainty of the situation.

Student A is not as fluent or as confident as Student B, and hesitates in finding the language to express her ideas. Her pronunciation is intelligible, but not sufficiently clear for a focused listener to discern the tense form she is using. Student B has clearer pronunciation and is more fluent.

The marked criteria sheet for Sample 1 shows that Student A meets criteria at level 1 of performance of this task, while Student B meets more criteria at level 2.

The students’ English language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral Task 17 – Criteria sheet – Sample 1


Sample 2

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Year 9

Home language: French Creole

Student B (right of screen)

Year 9

Home language: Nepali

Commentary

This annotation focuses on Student B only. Student B is able to describe his ideas in response to a question framed using the modal ‘would’. He uses ‘would probably’ (clearly indicating conditionality) in giving his initial response, but in elaborating he shifts to mainly using simple present tense, although he does use ‘probably’ and ‘if’ (if I get enough money) to indicate the hypothetical nature of the situation. In asking the prompt question of his partner, Student B still doesn’t use the modal ‘would’, despite the strong model provided in the task sheet. Instead, he uses if to indicate the conditionality of the situation.

The marked criteria sheet for Sample 2 shows Student B meets criteria at level 2 of performance for this task.

His English language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral Task 17 – Criteria sheet – Sample 2


Sample 3

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Year 5

Home language: Assyrian

Student B (right of screen)

Year 6

Home language: Dinka

Commentary

Both students convey their ideas clearly, although Student A has a little more difficulty at times and shows more hesitation. Both consistently use modals, in both asking questions and in giving answers. Both students occasionally use a future form rather than a modal, Student A: the other half I will take for my family, Student B: I’ll give it to the hospital. This suggests that while they can use modals to indicate improbability in a structured context, they may still have lapses when working to express ideas, or in a less heavily structured context.

The completed criteria sheet for Sample 3 indicates they are meeting the criteria for levels 2 and 3 of performance of this task. Student B meets more criteria at level 3 of performance of the task, while Student A meets more at level 2.

The students’ English language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level B3, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral Task 17 – Criteria sheet – Sample 3


Sample 4

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Year 5

Home language: Vietnamese

Student B (right of screen)

Year 6

Home language: Samoan

Commentary

These students are more fluent and use a wider range of vocabulary than the students in Samples 1 to 3. They are more adventurous in giving reasons for their choices, which leads them to make some mistakes with more difficult words or structures. There is consistent use of modal would to indicate improbability in both questions and statements, and Student A also uses it in a negative form, wouldn’t be. Student A provides a stronger performance in terms of accuracy and fluency in completing this task than Student B, who pauses and hesitates a little more.

The completed criteria sheet for Sample 4 are mainly at level 3 of performance of the task, with some criteria met at level 4.

The students’ English language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level B3, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral Task 17 – Criteria sheet – Sample 4


Sample 5

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Year 9

Home language: Farsi

Student B (right of screen)

Year 9

Home language: Oromo

Commentary

These students are engaged and interactive in their discussion, even though they have very different styles of communication and there is some mismatch in their English language skills. Student A performs at a higher level than Student B, who mostly uses present tense to describe what are intended as hypothetical meanings. However, he uses modal would very spontaneously in his last comments, I would probably buy a Bugatti or Ferrari at the end of the video, in contrast to his lack of use of it in all his earlier comments. Student B’s fluency in speaking is more developed than his control over vocabulary and structures. Student A is much more consistent and accurate in her use of modals, and uses another modal (could). Her speech is quite fluent and clearly articulated. Both students use a wide range of question forms and sentences types in providing responses. Their pronunciation is clearly articulated and sounds fluent as they use appropriate linking of sounds.

The completed criteria sheet for Sample 5 indicates Student A meets criteria at level 4 for performance of this task, while Student B meets criteria at level 3, mainly related to specific language structures and the extent to which he is not explicitly marking the hypothetical nature of the actions being discussed.

The students’ English language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C4, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral Task 17 – Criteria sheet – Sample 5


Using the assessment for further learning

These activities need to structured to be suitable for the age group of the students.

Self-checking

  • following a discussion of the ways the simple present, future forms and modals can be used to discuss likely and improbable events in the future, students could watch their own performance and note the way they use (or don’t use) these to indicate improbable actions
  • students could also note the structure of the questions they asked (including  words like what, why how, and the form of the verb) and the answers they were given. Also note the questions they were asked and the structure of their responses.
  • students could also note how they give reasons for the actions they plan, and compare these against a list of possible expression for giving reasons.

Peer checking

Students can:

  • Look at how partners show their involvement in interaction (eye contact, turn taking, asking and responding to questions), and support their partner in the conversation. Draw columns on a piece of paper for each of these, and ask students to note what they observe in the conversation.
  •  Note the questions that use ‘would’ that were asked in the conversation they observe, and then note the verbs that were used to answer those questions. Then discuss ways of answering questions that include ‘would’.


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