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TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014

This report presents the observation of a year 6 English teacher who taught writing skill
in the classroom. It is a 1 hour English lesson. The pupils in the classroom are of
moderate ability. The teacher taught the pupils how to write sentences mainly to answer
the writing part in Section A for English paper . The teacher used a table that divided
into three columns as guidance for the pupils to write sentences. The sentences written
will be based on the picture and words given. Each and every column has its own
function !sub"ect# verb# agreement$ to guide the pupils in their writing. The teacher gave
e%amples on how to form sentences using the table. The teacher asked pupils to state
as many nouns and verbs that they can think and find from the picture. After the
e%planation on the items in the columns and how to form sentences based on the
picture and words given# pupils then were given a writing task to assess their writing
skills. The test type used in the lesson is the essay type. &upils were given handouts
contain picture and words. The words are to guide them in their writing. &upils do their
writing task individually. &upils were given ' minutes to finish their writing. To my
surprise# most of the pupils were able to write sentences easily. It seemed that the
teacher had done a great "ob as the pupils were able to do the writing test using the
method taught. (f course there are still a lot to improve in terms of ideas# words
chosen# the arrangement of the words and the spelling but the pupils manage to do their
writing on time. They were able to generate ideas and write simple sentences#
compound sentences and comple% sentences. )rom the pupils* e%ercise book I knew
that they had learnt how to build simple sentences in the previous lesson. The test type
employed in the lesson catered the need to improve the pupils* writing skill. &upils*
achievement in writing was measured by having pupils write on assigned prompts to
produce descriptive pieces of writing. I am pretty sure that the teacher had use a good
method in teaching the pupils the writing skill. The test employed in the lesson was so
effective and accurate in assessing pupils* achievement. &upils tried their very best to
write using the method taught and the teacher checked and gave the pupils appropriate
remarks. &upils should be given more writing activities and test so that they are familiar
with the appropriate words# phrases and sentences in their writing. The best way to
assess pupils* achievement is by employing the essay test type.
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
&I+T,-ES TA.E/ 0,-I/1 T2E 3ESS(/

Teacher gives e%planation to pupils how to construct sentences using the substitution
table in the notes given
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
E%amples of simple sentences
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
The assessment
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
Sample of pupil*s answer
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
&upil*s e%ecise
books
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
Assessment is generally defined as the collection and interpretation of information
through a process of synthesising, evaluating and passing judgement in decision making
(Airasian, 2005). Specifically, it may also e seen as an everyday, on!going part of teaching and
learning in the classroom. Smith (200") stated that assessment is the set of processes through
#hich inferences are made aout learner$s learning process, skills, kno#ledge and achievements.
%here is also a changing trend as to ho# assessments are used in education. Assessments are no#
#idely administered as means to improve teaching and learning. &i'ek and (it'gerald ("))*), for
e+ample, mention ho# teachers egin to realise the importance of using assessment for
instructional purposes, in #hich the information gathered from the students$ performance in a
specific test is used to inform their pedagogical needs. %eachers therefore could identify
necessary adjustments that need to e made in order to ensure students are ale to master #hat
has een taught. ,evertheless, it is argued that the use of assessment as a tool in teaching and
learning largely depends on teachers$ practices (&umming, 200"- .ertle, 2005) and their
understanding of the national standards (/oskitt 0 .itchell, 20"2).
Assessment practices cover the steps and procedures taken y teachers throughout an
assessment. %hese steps include preparing, administering and grading of an assessment as #ell as
the recording and reporting of assessment results. /revious studies on teachers$ assessment
practices have een mostly directed to#ard identifying the important steps involved in forming
effective assessments. 1lack and 2illiam ("))3) suggested several practices that could help
improve learning, #hich included enhancing feedack, actively involving students in their
learning, adjusting instruction and re!teaching, and engaging students in self and peer!assessment
activities. %here are ho#ever several procedures or steps that many teachers are not competent
in. %he study y .ertle (2005), for e+ample, revealed that teachers faced prolems in preparing a
test and developing valid grading procedures. &i'ek and (it'gerald ("))*) also discovered that
teachers had the tendency to ignore the importance of test preparation y doing #hat they think
is right rather than #hat is right. .alone (20"4), on the other hand, highlighted the need to
increase teachers$ assessment literacy in order to monitor students$ progress. 5ence, this paper
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
reports on the study conducted to e+amine this issue y focusing mainly on the practices of
6nglish
language teachers in preparing tests in primary school.
REFLECTIONS
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
7n the %S84""2 8anguage assessment assignment, part " re9uires us to #ork in pairs to
oserve an 6nglish %eacher teaching. :uring the oservation 7 #ere re9uired to look into the test
type demonstrated y the teacher in any language skills or language content #herey critically
reporting that test type in the essence of the four principles of language assessment. Apart from
that, 7 #as re9uired to look into the strengths and #eaknesses of the test itself and provide
improvement suggestions to make it more effective.
7 had difficulty oserving an 6nglish teacher teaching at our practical school. %he main
prolem #as none of the teachers allo#ed us to enter their class to oserve their lesson even
though #e did ask permission and guaranteed #ould not record the lesson y using audio or
video vice. 5o#ever, our pled #as rejected as t#o of the most e+perienced 6nglish teachers
disappointed us. %herefore, as a solution 7 decided to take our friend, Shirley /auline ;uhim ,
video recording of an 6nglish teacher teaching at Sekolah <eangsaan %anaki, /apar.
1ased on the intervie# done #ith my friend regarding the recording given, it is learnt that
this particular 6nglish teacher #as teaching =ear * #ith the ne# <1S> (<urikulum Sekolah
1ersepadu >endah) . %he main language skill that #as een assessed here #as #riting ut 7 find
that the teacher #hich is a male also used to test the pupils y asking them 9uestions and the
pupils ans#ers verally. (or #riting assessment, she used the standardi'ed #orksheet.
(urthermore, the pupils #ere in the range of mi+ed ailities.
,evertheless, after looking through the pictures, the test type that has een employed y
the teacher #as diagnostic test. According the 5. :ouglas 1. and /riyan#ada A. (20"0) in
8anguage Assessment? /rinciples and classroom /ractices, it is stated that this particular type of
test includes the purpose of diagnosing aspects of language that the pupils need to develop.
,ormally, it does have a set of checklist like a reference and it does elicit information for the
pupils to need to #ork on. 1ased on my oservation, 7 can identify that the information$s that
#ere given #ere the #ords that the teacher #rote on the #hite oard #hich replaces the pictures
for the pupils to #rite in full sentences in legile print. At the end of the lesson the teacher marks
the pupil$s #ork y checking on the spelling and the #riting of his pupils.
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
%his particular assessment #hich is ased on diagnostic test does highlight the four man
principles of language assessment #hich are practicality, reliaility, validity and even
authenticity.
7t is very practical in the sense of time and cost of the test. 7 do say so ecause each and
every pupil in the national schools in .alaysia does have the activity ook and it is a must to use
it. %herefore it does save the teacher$s money in making #orksheets #hich might need a lot of
photocopying and even printing. (urthermore, it is practical in the sense #here since it is o#ned
y everyone, it saves the teacher$s time in preparing any #orksheets for the test. Since it is given
y the ministry of education, the material availaility is appropriately utili'ed. %he assessment is
practical in the sense of time, cost and utility.
Secondly, reliaility in assessment. 7n the activity it is #ritten that the editorial panels are
of the .alaysian .inistry of 6ducation. %herefore, 7 strongly elieve the materials or e+ercises
for assessments in the activity ook are reliale. (urthermore, it is has items in them #hich are
not amiguous for the test takers as it follo#s the national te+t ooks and the lessons taught y
the teacher itself. %hat makes it confidently more reliale. Student!rated reliaility can e
overcome ut ho#ever the e+ercise taken from the activity ook is definitely high test reliaility.
7 do say so ecause there is no iasness in it #herey the same 9uestion is done y the pupils and
furthermore the sight #ords are #ritten do#n y the teacher on the #hite oard. %he only thing
that the teacher has to take into account is the hand #riting of the pupils #ith correct spelling in
legile print. ,evertheless, it is definitely reliale.
7n the sense of validity, 7 could say the e+ercise in the activity ook is valid in the sense
of content related evidence. 7t is ecause it is ased on the language skill that #anted to e
assessed #hich is #riting #here it measures e+actly #hat the proposes to measure. (urthermore
it relies on the empirical evidence #hich is the pupils$ evidence. 7 do say so ecause the lines are
given for the pupils to #rite, the teacher could use that as a test to look into the pupils #riting in
legile print and it gives the teacher meaningful information aout the pupils penmanship #hich
needed to e focused on. &onclusively, validity is lined in the assessment.
TSL3112 LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 2014
%he fourth principle that can e highlighted is authenticity. %he situations used for the
9uestions in the activity ook are ased on the pupil$s real life e+perience #hich is in the garden.
%he real e+perience are conte+tuali'ed #hich makes it authentic for the pupils and it provides a
storyline #hich gives a thematic organi'ation. All in all authenticity plays an important role of an
assessment.
@ver all 7 can say that the strength of the test is that it is definitely practical, reliale,
valid #hich is legal #herey it is y the ministry of education and even authentic.
@ne main #eakness is that the lines in the activity ook are very small and limited space
to #rite. Apart from that #hen the teacher asks the pupils to name the animals to e #ritten on
the #hiteoard, it is est the pupils spell the #ords #ith the correct sound.
.y suggestion for improvement here #ould e that the teacher should retype out the
e+ercise and give more space for the lines so that the pupils could #rite etter and their
penmanship could e improved. (urthermore, the pupils should e given the chance to kno# the
spelling either the pupils spell out the #ord #ith correct pronunciation or the teacher spells the
#ord out loud #hile #riting it out on the #hiteoard.
7n conclusion, the activity ook covers the asic principles of language assessment #hich
are practicality, reliaility, validity and authenticity. ,evertheless, the assessment could have
een etter.