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A Study on Lack of Assessment Training of English Language in Public Elementary School of Karachi
This research was designed to examine current assessment practices of English language in elementary school in Karachi Pakistan. The importance of English language nowadays cannot be ignored, this is the most common language in most parts of the worlds and keeps us connected with the whole universe. National Curriculum of Pakistan (2006) says the purpose of assessment for English, “The focus of the curriculum is to prepare students for an assessment of their acquisition and the use of language skills rather than memorization of the text book Contents”. This study synthesizes the importance of assessment practices in English language teaching, reasons behind the low competency level to understand four macro skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and lack of assessment training in Pakistani schools. This research was conducted in Department of Teacher Education, the samples were gathered from the group of final year students, and the survey questionnaire was developed on assessment criteria of English language skills in elementary schools of Karachi. Through findings it is come to know that assessment of English is being practiced on the bases of rote learning in elementary school of Karachi, for getting desire leaning outcome the assessment system should be improved by using different types of activities, assessment and feedback.
This is the fact that assessment is a tool which can be used to provide feedback in order to improve student’s performance and measure the efficiency of whole educational system such as curriculum, textbook, teaching methodology. The term “Assessment” is nothing new, simply the process collecting information about student learning and performance to improve education; it is integral part of education system. Competency in English language is considered a pre-requisite for jobs, access and creation of knowledge and social status in Pakistan.
The University Grants Commission of Pakistan (1982) in a “Report on the Teaching of Language” deemed that English is important for knowledge, technology, and international communication. Assessment is the essential part of English language teaching, it is decided the learning level of students, but in order to judge real competency the assessment system of Pakistan has narrow scope. Performance assessments, is very important for total development of learners it’s provide opportunities for those students to present a more comprehensive picture of what they know and are able to do. Abedi J (2010).
Unfortunately Pakistan assessment techniques are not applied effectively, student’s creativity and critical thinking is not measured in English language testing. The students follow the tradition and learn by heart some specific material rather than creativity and eject knowledge in examination, teachers appreciate to this tradition because of lack of training assessment practices in Pakistan.
This study synthesized the importance of assessment practices in English language teaching, reasons behind the low competency level to understand four macro skills reading, writing, speaking, listening, and lack of assessment training in Pakistani schools. This research was conducted in Department of Teacher Education University of Karachi, the samples were gathered from the group of final year students, and the survey questionnaire was developed on assessment criteria of English language skills in elementary schools of Karachi.
The main objectives of the research are
ï?? To find existing practices of assessment in English language at elementary level.
ï?? To promote the multiple assessment practices in English language, cater the four macro skills.
- How existing practices of English language effect student’s learning outcome?
- What assessment practices should be developed to improve student’s skills?
Assessment is a mirror in order to diagnose students learning and it can be used to assist the student’s continuous improvement. According to Wiggins (1998) assessment should not make only for audit, it is consciously made for developing students learning. Student’s learning mean is a not successful performance, actually by the help of assessment students do mistakes and those mistakes are the beginning of learning. The Jon, Elizabeth, Daniel (2011) give the idea about ideal assessment practices the best assessment practices in 21st century, assessment for learning is the idea which can support to students on going learning and developing skills. To make sure the involvement of students in assessment practices Mc Milan and Hearn (2008) stated that assessment should be made on the bases of appropriate challenges in order to make evolution be meaningful.
Assessment has many types and forms according to subjects and skills that are to be taught, multiple assessments is one of the type of assessment which has its own purpose and area. According to YU- Ching Chan (2006) multiple Assessment practices is a combination of summative and formative assessment such as Activity based learning, Portfolio assessment, Team work, presentation, written or oral etc, can provide chance to interact between teacher student and give strength young learner of English Language. Self assessment is another technique of improving student’s skills and confidence. Self assessment is also an effective tool for English language learners, provide opportunity to engage in own performance, it works to remove fear of examination from English language learners. YU- Ching Chan (2006)
The traditional assessment system which promotes assign grades in the end of the term is not being used internationally due to the globalization reforms, Azam, Iqbal and Abiodullah (2009) analyzed that traditional assessment system is being replaced by the new term quality assessment practices, the aim of this new term is ongoing assessment of students to improve earning.
Unfortunately in Pakistan because of lack of attention of government towards education, large size of class, low resources, untrained teachers, fixed syllabus for every context, time duration of language class in schools, in comprehensive content of text books, assessment practices are not fulfilling their purpose. In Pakistan assessment are carried out only for the promotion purposes. According t Khattak.(2012) the aim of English language assessment in Pakistan to pass an examination and go ahead in next grade, do not judge real competency, though the students keen to learn language but they are compel to memorization intensively just an examination.
In Pakistan main focus of the institution in general and the language teacher particular is on the content rather than the language skills. This inappropriate way of teaching leads to poor understand and implication of language in daily life of the learners. Rahmani (1999) truly said that teachers have only purpose for teaching is testing rather than learning. Warsi (2004) stated that teachers check the knowledge of the content rather than language skills, such as assessment items makes base on question answers, filling the blanks which are drawn by textbooks content. According Rahman, Asraf uz zamman (2011) English language is not treated as a skill based but content based. In some institute in Pakistan though some skills are catered but all four skills are of language are not focused in assessment practices. Teacher is always under pressure in school administration, school policies of examination. Sidiqi (2010).
Survey was used to collect data. A survey is a data collection tool used to gather information about individuals. Surveys are commonly used in to collect self-report data from study participants. A survey may focus on factual information about individuals, or it might aim to collect the opinions of the survey taker.
A questionnaire was made for sampling. Questionnaire is a series of written questions a participant answers. This method gathers responses to questions that are essay or agree/neutral/disagree style.
This research was conducted in Gullshan e Iqbal block 6 schools Karachi, the samples were gathered from the students of 6th, 7th and 8th grade. Numbers of students were 100, 50 boys and 50 girls, data collection tool was questionnaire and the survey questionnaire was developed on existing assessment practices English language skills in elementary schools of Karachi.
Does assessment cater all four skills?
Does assessment result in effective learning outcome?
Are you assessment according to what you were taught?
Does assessment promote rote learning?
Is there correlation between teaching method and assessment in ELT?
Is assessment relevant to curriculum objectives?
Is the assessment according to the Bloom’s taxonomy?
Are assessment criteria according to the student level?
Are you satisfied from assessment technique at elementary level?
How do teacher assess English language skills?
1. Reading and writing are focused in assessment and ignore listening and speaking skills=70%
2. Focus on summative assessment =20%
What are the reasons behind that formative assessment is more effective than summative assessment?
1. Formative assessment is ongoing practice, provide more chance to learning and improvement=90%
2. No idea=10%
How can aims meet with learning outcome in ELT?
1. Proper use of language teaching, use of different type of methodology=30%
2. Assessment items relate with objectives,proper teacher training=20%
3. No idea=50%
How we can reduce rote learning from examination?
1. By using of conceptual, skill based, knowledge based assessment=60%
2. Use critical thinking in teaching methodology=20%
3. No idea=20%
Which type of classroom activities can be used for English language assessment?
1. Different types of activities such as role pay, group discussions, think pair share, presentation, debate, use of pictorial representation=100%
Is it true that assessment helps in feedback to improve learning language?
What type of assessment practices should be used in school?
3. Formative and summative=10%
How can a teacher use assessment to build student’s analytical, creative and practical skills?
1. By develop critical thinking and cooperative learning=80%
2. Use CATS=10%
FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS
Regarding the existing condition assessment practices of English language in elementary schools of Karachi, table shows that:
- The current assessment practices do not cater all four skills and assessment items are developed by the help of text book which promote rote learning.
- The facilitators are not satisfied from current assessment practices.
- There is no coherence between curriculum objective EL and assessment practices.
- Current practice is not aligning according to BLOOM’S TAXONOMY.
- Audience suggested that we need to teach concept and enhance student’s skills.
- The feedback is not developed yet.
- Feedback is an effective tool to overcome trends of rote learning.
- Multiple assessments technique was totally missing.
- The different kinds of classroom activities do not use for assessment, teacher focuses on written and summative assessment which effects on student’s ongoing learning.
- Most of the audience agrees to use formative assessment and the use of different kind of activities as part of assessment practices.
Through findings it is come to know English language is compulsory in Pakistani schools and use from grade 1 till graduation level but still students do not have competency to understand four macro skills reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Assessment effects on learning outcome but the current assessment practices are not catered the four macro skills, only focuses on reading and writing. Current assessment practices promote rote learning, and do not reflect the actual learning that is way most of the people do not satisfy by current practices.
This is the fact that English language assessment in elementary school Pakistan does not measure the student’s creativity and critical thinking and that is realized but no significant efforts are being made to improve the situation. The English language assessment is focused on typical traditional questions set in examination because the English language teachers have superficial knowledge of assessment techniques that’s way students are compelled to memorization, the assessment is revolving around the text books, but text books are not reflecting the curriculum objectives. Assessment of English is usually summative form, the multiple assessment techniques are neglected, and assessment system does not provide the chance to develop the student’s critical thinking.
For betterment of assessment practices teacher should be trained, teacher should focus on creativity rather than cramming of knowledge, activities should be developed which cater four macro skills. Teacher must be trained to use different approaches to develop English language skills, Assessment should be made according to Bloom taxonomy and the learning needs, for reduce rote learning formative assessment can be taken because it helps in ongoing learning process of learners. By develop critical thinking and cooperative learning Different types of activities such as role pay, group discussions, think pair share, presentation etc, and teacher can change the traditional setup of assessment in Pakistan.
The study provided some valuable perceptions toward assessments, study shows that current assessment practices are not catered the macro skills of learners, assessment focuses on two skills only reading and writing. Current assessment practices are the main cause of rote learning in system and do not reflect the actual learning that’s way most of the general public does not satisfy by current practices.
The most awful situation is that majority of teacher educators are not aware form standardized assessment practices. Assessments are usually held annually, and they are the main criteria to promote the students to higher grades or to retain them in the same grade, formative assessment is totally ignored in public schools. Assessments in examinations mainly focus on easy, straight and very simple questions and they ignore high levels of cognition involved in such items as comprehension, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
- Provides appropriate data to guide policy-makers in selection of priorities in curriculum, in m allocation of resources, and in designing teacher-training strategies for assessment
- Identifying failing features of the existing assessment system or by providing evidence to support more effective alternatives assessment technique.
- Introduce accountability in the system in existing situation
- Introduce formative assessment to enhance students leanings
- Align national EL objective with content and assessments technique
- facilitate improvements in test and instrument design, and will support robust research in assessment
- Officially support for English language teaching at primary school level
- Licenses teachers should be recruit in system.
- Autonomy body make for assessment improvement
- National standards shall be developed to reduce the differences in quality across regions. Assessment processes shall be standardized and become uniform across the Boards over time, so that students appearing in examinations under different Boards are assessed against standardized benchmarks.
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