12 Great Activities You Can Use to Assess Young ESL Learners

12 Great Activities You Can Use to Assess Young ESL Learners

Andrea Pesce
by Andrea Pesce 45,982 views

We all know, and I’m sure we can all agree, assessment is a very important part of any class.

It gives us a much needed chance to go over, identify and clarify doubts or misunderstandings. Also, to make any needed changes or just to make sure students are going down the right path. That’s why designing appropriate assessment activities is very important. Ok, let’s start from the beginning. What do we need to take into account when considering an activity that will be used for assessment or when designing one?

  • What outcome will be assessed?
  • What is the purpose of the assessment?
  • Do other skills need to be incorporated into the assessment activity?
  • Will students need to interact with you or other students?
  • Will the student have the chance to produce sufficient and relevant evidence?
  • Does it measure the outcome it is meant for?

So, with all this is mind we are ready to take a look at some popular choices in assessment approaches and examples of activities.

Assess Oral Communication

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    Here they can present themselves or other students. It is a great activity to practice the verb to “be” in the present or past tense. Also, students can make presentations of just about anything, what they do in their free time, what movies they like, etc.

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    Oral Answers to Questions

    An ideal way to practice asking as well as answering questions. You can ask them questions about a text or listening exercise. Afterward they can ask each other questions, too.

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    I call this activity “Class President”. You tell the students they are all candidates to become class president. To be a candidate, they must give a speech expressing why they would make a good president.

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    Cut out pictures of celebrities from magazines and put them in a bag or box. Have students choose a celebrity. They take turns being the celebrity they have chosen while the rest of the class are the reporters that ask them questions.

Assess Written Communication

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    Checklist: This is a fun activity to see how much they can remember. Show them a picture or illustration of a room or any other place. They will have 20 seconds to look at it carefully. Then put the picture away and give them a checklist that has statements about the illustration, some true some not. They have to read the checklist and put a check next to the statement that is true. This can also be done with listening activities.

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    This is great to practice filling out on-line forms. You can print some and then hand them out. They can read the information and practice filling them out. When working with children, it is very important to have a small talk with the students about checking with their parents before doing this in real life.

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    Perfect after reading a book, story or even after watching a movie. A fun activity is to tell them that they will be detectives for a day. Divide the class into two groups. Half will be detectives and the other half suspects. The detectives have to find out where the suspects have been and what they have done. After that they have to report their findings to the rest of the class.

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    Charts and Posters

    These can be used any time and for just about any activity. Students can make a chart about healthy vs unhealthy food. My personal favorite is having them make a poster about life in the past vs life now. This is great to check how well they use the past simple.

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    These are handy after a reading or listening activity to assess comprehension. They can fill out information they have heard or read on a table that you would provide. An example is a train schedule or a list of products and their prices, etc.

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    Fill in the Gaps

    This is and has always been a very popular activity where students can fill in the blank with a vocabulary word that is missing or verb in its correct form. It is very common in tests.

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    Match Information

    Generally here they need to match the information from one column with the corresponding information on the second column. An example is animals and where they live or what they eat. It is an interesting choice to assess three different things at the same time.

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    Also a popular choice in tests. There is a question and three, or more, choices provided. It is great to assess expressions, verb tenses and/or vocabulary.

We all know assessment is necessary but it doesn’t have to be scary or dull.

Be creative and I guarantee your students will feel more relaxed, too!

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