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Alternatives in Assessment

Brief Introduction

During the last two decades, the significance of alternatives in assessment as a counterweight to traditional testing has
increased in many educational contexts. Alternatives in assessment put a focus on holistic and learner-oriented
assessment, taking into account more factors than a test in collecting evidence on learner progress and performance.

Traditional assessments refer to conventional methods of testing, usually standardized and use pen and paper with
multiple-choice, true or false or matching type test items.

Alternative assessments refer to assessments wherein students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate
meaningful application of what they have learned.

Activity 1

Characteristics Assessment of Assessment for

learning learning
1 The questions/tasks are open-ended.
2 The focus is on the language.
3 The focus is on assessing isolated skills.
4 It is learner-centered
5 The emphasis is on the process of learning.
6 The emphasis is on the process of learning.
7 The focus is on assessing integrated skills.
8 It is teacher-centered.
9 The emphasis is on the product of learning.
10 There is one-way correctness.
11 The focus is on communication.
12 The test not only assesses but also teaches the learners.

Important aspects of student Authentic assessment is learner-

learning become evident to centered. It allows learners to have
teachers, which enables them a say in their learning – to have
to accordingly develop lesson some control over their own
plans and approaches. learning.

The aim is to holistically Aspects of

The focus is on real-life tasks.
determine learners’ ability Assessment for
Samples of learners’ work serve
to use the foreign language Learning
as evidence of their skills.
in authentic situations.

Varies from the above- It is generally done continually over a

described tests by actually longer phase. This gives teachers a
allowing learners to present more precise depiction of their
what they are able to do. learners’ language
Conventional tests rarely give teachers Testing situations make it difficult for
the information in which they are some learners to think clearly due to
actually interested – that is, what their nervousness.
learners are able to do in connection
with the foreign language.

Aspects of
Assessment of

This is why we need to learn how to Some learners display poor

assess our learners so that we performance on tests because of
consistently recognize what they are personal problems on the day of the
truly capable of in the foreign test.

Activity 2

What do you think are the main advantages of alternative assessment? In the following activity, you will find a list of the
main advantages of alternative assessment.

Select those that are most relevant in your educational context.

Advantages of Alternative Assessment Most Relevant Advantage in my

Educational Context
1 It does not interfere with the teacher’s lessons.
2 No additional days for testing need be sacrificed.
3 Regular classroom activities (role-plays, writing, discussions) are
the foundation for alternative assessment.
4 It reflects exactly what is being done in the classroom.
5 The teacher receives information on the strengths and
weaknesses of each individual learner through multiple sources
based on authentic activities.
6 It can show a learner’s development through the work samples
and documentation collected.
7 The teacher can identify both weaknesses and strengths alongside
discovering more about learners’ personal lives through their

Assessment techniques must be varied and adapted to the needs of each group of learners and reflect the goals
aimed at in the particular class. Alternatives to traditional testing can include, for example, video recordings of
dialogues, self-assessment, portfolios, and teacher observations, to name a few. These techniques are most effective
when learners and teachers decide together which technique will be used and when learners are responsible for
choosing their work to be assessed.

Activity 3

What are your thoughts? Answer the questions below.

MY THOUGHTS: What are the most important aspects of alternative assessment?

Would alternative assessment be beneficial to your learners? Why or why not?