European Assessments part 3

English Notes
BSL Video

European Assessments part 3

Now I will move on to talk about the various assessment methods.  In the previous section I covered the importance of ensuring that assessments correlate with both learning outcomes and curriculum.  Once this has been achieved it is necessary to consider which assessment method, of which there are many, to use.  The choice of method often depends on how you have engaged with the students in class thus far.  So for example you may test the student's receptive skills by showing them a clip with people signing then you would ask them a series of questions relating to the clip to gauge how much they understand. Alternatively you could use a clip showing some action which you then ask students questions about.  The students should respond in sign language thereby assessing their productive skills.  Either type of assessment will allow you to ascertain that the students have obtained a certain level of language which interconnects with what you have been teaching at any particular point of the module or course.


These two formative assessments serve the purpose of ensuring that progress is being made by students during the module.  The two assessments mention so far are really quite basic and there are a range of other types available.  For example organising a debate is a good way of encouraging students to go off and do a little bit of research on any given topic which they then go on to debate about in class.


They will need to do a reasonable amount of preparatory work through independent study to ensure they have collected relevant information and are able to convey this information in sign language.  Part of the preparation would be ensuring they hold a suitable range of vocabulary to reflect the topic.


Central to this process is confidence that the students have reached a certain level and the teacher's expectations have been met.  You then set the assignments accordingly.  Do ensure that the assessments are balanced so they provide a broader perspective of progress made both in reception and production.  You may also like to use 'on the spot' style assessments where the students receives no preparation time.  Equally theoretical course work can be handed out for assessment purposes.


As students progress from one level to another you might be inclined to give less preparation time.  This is because as they gain more fluency and in depth knowledge of sign language teachers can expect to respond more easily when put on the spot.  Their skills are expected to have developed sufficiently.  With progression it will be easier for you to establish which types of assessments are more appropriate.

It is also important to offer the students as much variety as possible.  Working in pairs is also a useful way of assessing the student's capabilities.  You are able to observe a number of skills including the skill to engage during a discussion or conversation and the rules of turn taking.  Developing skills around when it is appropriate to interject or interrupt someone during a conversation is also an important skill - knowing when or when not to contribute.  This form of assessment provides the opportunity for students to improve conversational skills at the same time as demonstrating their productive and receptive sign language ability.


As with other tasks referred to students could be given a topic and some preparation time to collect information.  This is an effective way of developing research skills in order to complete and submit a piece of work.  Alternatively students could research a topic which they then have to refer to during a discussion in sign language.  You may also want to assess them on the spot and see how well they manage to hold a discussion about a particular topic.  How successful they are will depend on how well they can draw from their own world experiences.  In the event that they do not have much knowledge of the given topic you could see what strategies are in place to deal with such a situation.  Strategies used in order to get through the assignment will help develop other skills along side their level of fluency in sign language.


The assessment should look at how various sign language features are incorporated in their signing such as facial expression.  Once again it is important to ensure the assessment ties in with the learning outcomes.  You may want to assess the class as a whole whilst having a group discussion.  This fine but you will need to time manage well in order that the students take turns in contributing.  If you want to individually assess within the group, that  can also work but again you need to ensure that each student gets the opportunity to contribute particulary if some of the students monopolise the discussion.  

When you are deciding which assessments to use you need to take all of these issues into account to ensure that you have everything covered.

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