Talking means children get better at it, so between spontaneous observations (the process),
planning for talk in English is essential! maybe supported by note taking (the instrument)
In primary English education teaching and learning and using an observation grid (another instrument)
is different to English education with older learners, to direct and support your systematic observations
due to the differences in cognitive and social (another process). There should be a mix of these
development. It is also different in relation to processes, for systematic observations provide a
mainstream primary education, due to the focus on broader and more complete picture of all learners,
orality, but also in the way in which learning is in particular those which sit in the middle of the
managed and planned. Goals and priorities for the continuum, as they are neither very weak nor very
primary English classroom should make the most good, and are easily overlooked. Observations
of the specificities I have outlined above, for they tend to focus on orality and the attitudinal aspects
are unlike any others. of language learning. They can also be useful to
collect evidence related to the intercultural domain.
Assessment in primary English education
Structured assessment tasks include activities
Taking all the above into consideration, how then which have been set up specifically to collect
should we be assessing our primary English evidence of progress either as a whole class or
learners? Assessment is not just the responsibility focusing on particular individuals.
of the teacher. As we have seen, assessment for a) A worksheet (the instrument) which involves
learning is about understanding where we are and children listening and doing something is a
where we might need to go, as well as how. This is perfect way to collect evidence from the whole
also something learners can do themselves, with group of how well they can listen in English. A
the help of their teachers. Table 2 divides the snap shot at one point in time, but which is the
assessment processes and instruments into those same for everyone.
which are the responsibility of the teacher, and
b) A pair work activity (e.g. mini-cards being used
those which are the responsibility of the learner.
in a guessing game) is an opportunity for a
Observations (spontaneous) Self-assessment Observations (systematic) Peer-assessment English, as well as interact with each other in
(Portfolio) Portfolio English. In this example it is often useful to
instrument) of how well learners can produce
focus observations on a smaller number of
pairs of children, maybe those that a teacher is
less sure of in relation to the speaking ability.
Table 2: Possible assessment processes and instruments in
the primary English classroom
Document analysis (a process) tends to focus on
Teacher assessment - processes and the literacy skills, and a systematic approach to
instruments this is also advisable. This may include notes on
Observations play an important role in primary the
English assessment. However there is a difference indicating an ability to complete on time, whether