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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Assessment in the Language Classroom

There are many topics within a language class that need repetition in order to achieve mastery. This repetition is and should be a part of the learning process. However, often it is logistically difficult to give a student instantaneous feedback in order for them to adjust as they learn rather than practicing independently via homework or in a group setting in class, both of which often lead to natural missteps and a necessary unlearning and relearning later, hopefully in time for a test!

My grant project aims to improve upon this situation by increasing instances of immediate and useful feedback. The website ProProfs allows a teacher to make “assessments” for both “practice mode” and “exam mode”. In “practice mode” there are many settings that allow for question-specific feedback, and the chance for a student to try again. In both modes, the website keeps track of many valuable statistics both as class averages and per student, per question and for the whole “assessment”. For example, it provides information such as the time taken to complete a question or an “assessment” and the questions answered correctly and incorrectly; it provides the answer itself so that a teacher can also see how a student went awry. It also gives the student immediate feedback: their grade, which questions were answered incorrectly, and the correct answers for those questions.

If a teacher chooses the appropriate setting, the student has the chance to try the “assessment” again. The teacher also has additional capabilities such as giving certain “assessments” a password, or setting an expiration time, or allowing only a certain amount of time for an “assessment”. In addition to providing valuable and instantaneous feedback to a student that is class specific because it is all written by the teacher, this tool also ultimately gives the teacher more time to prepare other class materials.

Since the website auto-corrects, a teacher can spend less time grading and more time preparing other materials or helping students one-on-one. This website also has the ability to incorporate media, such as audio and video, thus giving more potential for broadening types of practice and test questions.

Lourdes Fernandez , MS World Languages Chair