Researching appropriate assessment for low/pre-literacy adult ESL learners: results, issues and challenges

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    This paper reports on a two-year research project, funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (formerly known as Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs), which investigated the English language assessment of low and pre-literacy adult English as a Second Language (ESL) learners in Australia's Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP). The research involved a nationwide survey of AMEP teachers who teach low/pre-literacy learners, several first language (L1)-based focus groups and three case studies of individual learners at that level. The data collected from these sources then informed the development of an assessment technique grid (ATG), presented here, which links the AMEP curriculum framework's formal assessment tasks back to actual classroom activity types commonly used in ongoing assessment. The ATG provides a useful mechanism for systematising informal ongoing assessment and laying a foundation for formal assessment tasks. The paper highlights some of the key issues and challenges in researching language assessment at the low end of the proficiency scale; it also introduces the principal practical outcome of this particular project.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-38
    Number of pages14
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher version archived with the permission of the Editor, Prospect, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.


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