Success with ELLs

Success with ELLs: Authentic Assessment for ELLs in the ELA Classroom

DelliCarpini, M. (2009). Success with ELLs: Authentic assessment for ELLs in the ELA classroom. English Journal, 116-119.

DelliCarpini Authentic Assessment in mainstream


Several issues make standardized assessment of ELLs a challenge and the information provided by these assessments unreliable. However, as educators, they do need to know how students are doing, what gains they are making, where gaps in their understanding exist, and what types of instructional strategies and topics need to be introduced to facilitate learning. Assessing ELLs in mainstream English classrooms can be a challenge, but there are ways that English teachers can move toward a more accurate way of learning about their ELLs. Perhaps one of the most motivating things English teachers can do for their ELLs is to provide opportunities for them to see the immediate connections between their lives and the curriculum, an important component for success. Authentic activities can include a variety of presentation formats that connect a work of literature, a poem, a quote, a piece of art, or song lyrics to the students’ lives, either their lives in the United States or their past experiences in their native countries. When English teachers include performance-based, nontraditional assessments for ELLs as a supplement to the traditional assessments, a clearer picture of the ELLs emerges and allows English teachers to develop learning experiences that meet their diverse needs. In addition, ELLs are more likely to develop real knowledge surrounding the topics under investigation in the English classroom through the use of authentic assessments.

How & Why:

I chose this artifact because I think it gives an authentic view into what struggles English language learner come across with assessments such as, back ground knowledge. DelliCarpini uses an example of assessments using jigsaws or puzzles when some students do not have background knowledge of jigsaws or puzzle, they would not know how to use them. The author also discusses sentence structure. Sentence structure chances depending on culture. This is all useful information for an educator. As DelliCarpini mentions in the article we as educators need to know how our students are doing and what types of gains the students are making and that can be done through authentic assessment. Even though, I am teaching English I think authentic assessment will be very useful in History and Psychology classes.

Authentic assessment is all about preparing the students for the “real world” how I would use that in my classroom is, instead of focusing on having my students memorize facts I would have students work in groups to retain knowledge because in the “real world” we work in groups, gather information, evaluate, and use knowledge and skills to solve issues. I want my students to think about whatever topic we are learning and apply it to our culture we live in today. How does the information apply to us now? Through authentic assessment students can demonstrate to educators they have developed an understanding.

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