Assessments serves as informative and important tool for tutors of English language learners. Assessments are conducted at intervals and various stages in order to determine a progress of a student during learning process. Specifically, English language learners assessments are conducted to precisely understand how an individual student has knowledge of English language (Piper, 2015). The purpose of the assessment is to allow the tutors to place students in the appropriate educational level program. English language learners’ assessments has been a vocal point for the policy makers and educational administrators. Following the no child left behind policy enacted by the federal government, it became mandatory for every child in the United States to be proficient in English.
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English language learners’ assessment must be designed in accordance with national educational objectives. This allows the tutors to accurately determine the needs and support each individual students requires in order to attain proficiency in English. Studies have shown that English language learners’ assessments are helpful and important in determining an individual learner’s language acquisition level. Studies by Syrja (2011) showed that there is no single program that is right for all the English language learners. As a result, assessment is used to identify the proficiency of each student and place them in the appropriate leveled program. Currently, assessment is conducted based on the needs of each and every individual students in order to assist those students who learn English as their second language.
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Typically, English language learners assessment are meant to determine the learners’ overall level of language acquisition and at the same time gives a different information that represent the level for each of the four domains (Lenski, et al., 2006). The information obtained from the assessment is used to place the learners in the appropriate leveled program. According to Lenski et al (2006), English language learners assessment involves the collection and documentation of the evidence gathered from learner’s progress. This information helps the tutors to make informed decision while making a knowledgeable placement of the students. It is important to note that if a student is not placed appropriately in a leveled program, there is likelihood of that student missing out crucial instructions that assist him/her to achieve entrance into the next level of language acquisition.
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Although assessment servers as important tool for the tutors, there are several challenges that tutors encounters while conducting English language learners. Normally, the English language proficiency assessment are conducted over several levels and may take several weeks in order for the tutor to collect enough information to accurately determine the proficiency level of an individual student (Piper, 2015). A times the assessment process take longer time and by the time the results are released, the students might have moved to the next level thus making the information outdated.
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In order to overcome these challenges, the tutors are normally advised to conduct their own progressive monitoring assessment on students’ proficiency. The progressive monitoring must be conducted in the four domain. Most studies have indicated that progressive monitoring is performance-based or observational (Lenski, et al., 2006). In addition, progressive monitoring assessment must be conducted continuously in order to assist the teachers collect enough information and plan effectively for leveled program instructions in accordance with school calendar.
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The other challenge that comes as a result of English language learners’ assessment is the ability of the tutors to differentiate the assessments. Study by Syrja (2011) indicated that tutors are faced with challenges of differentiating the assessment since the learners at the lower level are unable to clearly show the level understanding of a subject or topic (Huang, 2008). In order to overcome this challenge, the mainstream teachers are advised to use World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment standard together with English language acquisition levels (Syrja, 2011). These tools assists the tutors to appropriately plan for leveled performance-based assessment for all students.
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In conclusion, English language assessment play important role in the education because it assist the teachers to determine whether a student is progressing well with proficiency of English language. Despite the challenges, English language learners assessment has been used worldwide especially by the tutors teaching learners English as the second language.