In language teaching there are plenty of ways to vary the types of assessment we give students depending on the skills we want to assess.
- Listening skills
They can be assessed in different ways. You may decide to use songs with a matching-up or filling-gap activity related to what has been taught in lesson, you may also use post-listening activities to check understanding and develop use of skills in different contexts. These listening activities should be authentic and purposeful. For example you may ask your students to listen to a weather report and they will then have to decide on which activities they will do according to the report. Any listening assessment should require our students to demonstrate their proficiency in listening by completing some tasks acknowledging their understanding like circling correct answers, filling a comprehension grid, crossing the odd-one-out etc.
- Speaking skills
There are plenty of techniques to assess speaking skills. Here again assessing speaking skills has to be done in an authentic context and you should ask your students to complete tasks that they may encounter in the real life.
Among others let’s mention the oral interview that could be done in pairs. Students ask and answer questions about topics that that have learnt about. The oral interview can be quite useful to develop our students’ confidence when done in peers, as they will progressively learn to speak without fearing to make mistakes.
Alternatively role-plays are great tools to assess students’ speaking abilities. By giving them a context and a role to play students can use the language more creatively while incorporating the vocabulary and grammar learnt previously. The importance here is about pair communication. Can they interact with each other and can they understand each other?
Class presentations are also brilliant to assess speaking.
- Reading skills
When preparing a reading assessment you need to keep in mind what you are going to assess. When assessing vocabulary matching up activities with pictures and words, true-false activities, odd-one-out are always useful. You may also use a text with comprehension questions or a grid to fill in. As for grammar cloze exercises or filling-gaps are quite relevant. Students have to fill in the gaps with words that are the most logical grammatically. These words can be provided in a toolbox or not depending on your students’ level.
- Writing skills
Students write a writing sample. It may be a conversation about ordering food, a self-introduction, and a film review with their opinions or even an essay. Remember that developing writing skills takes time. As a consequence practice is necessary to ensure progression and the tasks you plan for assessment need as well to be progressive.