The four levels on the criteria sheet (the first column) relate to the stages of the EAL Companion to AusVELS, as shown in the right-hand column. This indicates the levels of written performance of the task that might be expected of students at the relevant stage. The EAL Developmental Continuum provides a more detailed description than AusVELS of the same stages. The criteria dot points provide a view of student accomplishment contextualised to that particular task, but which also relate directly to the EAL Developmental Continuum.
Deciding where students are within a stage of the EAL Companion gives a finer grained assessment of their progress. The EAL Companion stage descriptions define student development at the end of the stage. The EAL Continuum gives indicators which help to describe and interpret these end-of-stage descriptions.
The indicators are organised in the same domains of language as the criteria dot points. The EAL Continuum also provides ‘nutshell’ statements that describe students’ learning at two points within the stage – Beginning and Progressing towards. Points of achievement are numbered, for example:
- 1 Beginning
- 2 Progressing towards
- 3 Standard (achieved the stage)
Combining information from the common assessment tasks with other formal and informal assessments and observations gathered over time is likely to indicate that your student is falling within a particular stage. Once you have enough information about your student, you can begin the process of assigning an EAL Companion/Continuum stage of development, validating or realigning your assessment and deciding where your student is within the EAL Developmental Continuum sub stages, for example, S2.2, B3.1
To do this, follow the steps below:
- As you gather information on the criteria sheets on a specific student, and relate it to the stages in the right-hand column, you will notice whether the student seems to be showing development that is early in the stage or later in the stage, or perhaps crossing over into the next stage.
- Decide on an ‘on-balance’ stage of development from this information, and then read the EAL Continuum indicators at that stage, relating them back to dot points from the criteria sheets.
- Read indicators below the stage if the criteria sheets are indicating the student may be early in the stage
- Read the indicators from higher stages if the criteria sheets are indicating the student may be later in the stage.
- Highlight the indicators when you feel that they describe what your student is consistently able to do.
- Taking into account everything else you have observed about what your student can do, come to an on-balance decision about where your student is in the stage.
- Refine and modify this assessment over time.
- Assessment on the EAL Companion to AusVELS can be used for acknowledging and talking about student progress, and for reporting to parents and other teachers.
The completion of further tasks and ongoing assessment and monitoring of students over time will help you to notice:
- aspects of written language in which the student is improving, compared to earlier assessments
- aspects of written language where the student is not making expected progress, and which may need some focused attention or intervention.