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Informal Assessments for English Language Learners

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  • 0:03 What Are Informal Assessments?
  • 0:40 A Friendly Chat
  • 2:02 Guided Free Writing
  • 3:02 Student-Generated Quizzes
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Informal assessments are a valuable way to check student progress in a relaxed setting. This lesson provides teachers with informal assessments specifically designed for use with ELLs (English language learners).

What Are Informal Assessments?

Generally, informal assessments for ELLs are used to check language comprehension and retention without an emphasis on scoring. This type of assessment is an ideal way to see what students really know without placing them under the pressure of a formal examination. Before using any of these assessments, it's important that students are aware their ideas and responses are not being graded. When the pressure of getting a good score is removed, many students may relax and use English more naturally, which will give you a clearer picture of their true language ability. This lesson will go over a few informal assessment techniques.

A Friendly Chat

This assessment will help you determine the conversational English ability of each student. You can conduct this assessment face-to-face with either one or two students at a time. The main idea is to give your ELLs an opportunity to speak naturally about everyday topics. Possible topics include:

  • Hobbies
  • Entertainment
  • Sports
  • Goals/dreams
  • School

If possible, conduct this assessment in a relaxed, private environment such as your office or an empty classroom. The environment is important because students shouldn't feel apprehensive about being overheard by classmates. Privacy can do a lot to encourage students to speak without fear of being judged or making mistakes.

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