Alisa would like to hear from anyone who may also have some insights into the assessment money grab as described below:
Since I don’t give grades in elementary, my question for y’all is a bit different but still in the Assessment Arena. It turns out that many schools/districts use a normed assessment like the SOPA or the STAMP to see how their WL students are doing over time. These test makers make lots of claims (like all test makers do) about the usefulness of the test results – helping guide instruction, show student strengths and weaknesses, blah, blah, blah$.
Besides the fact that said tests don’t really align with the research (they submerge the Ss in ‘real-life’ language situations that are above their level of acquisition/proficiency), and many employ all 4 language skills even for novices (video-recorded oral interviews – so painful to watch!), I want to know whether anyone on this PLC can write to me about their experiences using such ‘normed’ languages tests with novices. If no one else here is interested I totally get it – we’ll take the poisonous discussion off of the PLC! Please send me your reflections of specific canned assessments if given in preK-5th grade. ELLOPA, SOPA and STAMP or AAPPL are the ones I’m most interested in.
I have written here about my district’s fling with the SOPA, and my absolute rejection of it as inappropriate for an elementary CI -based program. (Our instruction is based on input; but the SOPA is built on an oral interview (output) plus other dumb ‘activities’ including lotsa discreet vocab with a filter igniter!) I think the folks at the Center for Applied Linguistics learned a lot from us when they came to town!
It served the district’s purposes, though – to have kosher looking data showing that our outcomes have improved with onset of CI instruction – but at the expense of the volunteerkids’/test-takers’ nerves. They were trying so hard to please me and make us look good, even though they didn’t know how to say “under the bookshelf” and other classroom directions and terminology.
Please contact me if you have used a canned assessment and are willing to write up a reflection about it – what were the plusses, if any? How (if so) was the assessment useful? Shortcomings?
I want to address the perceived need for WL proficiency data and some schools/districts’ reliance on these tool$ (for a project I’m working on – plus our district needs to use or create better cornerstone/other WL assessments that reflect progress over time for our evaluations).
Thanks in advance!