Scaffolding during the formal assessment of young EAL learners
A New Zealand case study
Despite growing interest in the theorisation of teacher-based assessment (TBA), very little research has paid close attention to how teachers practice assessment embedded in real classroom contexts. This longitudinal study over one school term reports on the TBA of young learners with English as an additional language (EAL) in New Zealand primary schools. Taking a grounded, emic, inductive approach, using teacher logs, classroom observations and interviews, four language support teachers and one classroom teacher across three schools were observed assessing the language abilities of six EAL students. The results of this study identify five key strategies used by teachers to scaffold students at the implementation stage of the assessment process in relation to different summative and formative purposes of assessment. It suggests ways in which scaffolding may prove crucial to the effective implementation of assessing the complex needs of L2 learners and confirms how scaffolding may play an important role in identifying a learner’s potential. This study particularly highlights the need for clear communication between home class and L2 teachers, especially at the planning and monitoring stages of the assessment process where results may be used by different stakeholders for different purposes.
Keywords: scaffolding, assessment, dynamic assessment, L2 learners, young learners
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