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A fairer assessment of the reading level of English language learners

Author(s): 
Judy Clark with Rosemary Erlam

The PM Benchmark Reading Assessment Resource (PM Benchmarks) provides information about primary students’ level of achievement in reading accurately, fluently, and in understanding unseen texts. As part of the assessment, students have to orally retell what they have read and orally answer comprehension questions. This oral use of language assesses skill in language use beyond that required in reading comprehension and may disadvantage English-language learners (ELLs). This article outlines how one teacher drew on the principles of dynamic assessment to modify how this assessment tool was used with a group of four ELLs. The findings indicate that ‘scaffolding’ assessment in this way has the potential to ensure fairer outcomes when ELLs sit assessments designed for students for whom English is a first language.

Journal issue: 
Start page: 
29

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