GSE Teacher Toolkit Top 10: Performance Assessment

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GSE teacher toolkit performance assessment

Sara Davila is a Learning and Language Acquisition Expert with experience as a teacher, materials writer, researcher, and teacher trainer who has worked in a variety of contexts in the education field. As one of the leading experts on the Global Scale of English, Sara is well-placed to share her favourite ways for classroom teachers to use the Global Scale of English (GSE) Teacher Toolkit

In her ninth instalment in this series talking about her top ten uses of the GSE Teacher Toolkit, Sara looks at how teachers can use the toolkit for performance assessment.  

Read about using the toolkit to measure student progress. 

#2 Performance Assessment

How do you know your students are really learning English? That’s a fundamental question – and one the Global Scale of English (GSE)  is perfectly developed to answer. Let’s go into how you can do this.

There are very specific ways to measure learning progress with the GSE. You can quickly get insight into learner performance with a well-designed assessment that is aligned to your standards. And, externally, there are lots of options for off-the-shelf solutions that help measure student progress. 

But if you always wait to see how students do in professional assessments, you might miss opportunities to support your students’ learning and help them develop the skills necessary before the test. 

The GSE bridges the gap between learning and testing

The GSE helps to bridge this gap between learning and testing by giving educators insight into what your learners can do before sitting an exam. 

What’s more, it’s a great resource for creating personalized classroom rubrics to help measure learning performance that can be directly observed. 

A little careful planning makes it easy to use the GSE to check in on student performance and gain a better understanding of the gaps in their skills long before students sit down to take a test. 

Observing Progress with the GSE Teacher Toolkit

The easiest way to observe progress in the language classroom is to plan activities that allow learners to perform to the best of their abilities. In the language classroom, this means running activities that encourage students to use the target language, for example: 

  • Role-plays
  • Interviews
  • Information Gaps
  • Writing Assignments
  • Presentations
  • Communicative Games
  • Collaborative Projects 

You can observe the language your students produce during the activity, which is evidence of their learning. Then you can measure it by creating your own production activities with certain language learning objectives in mind. 

How can you do this using the GSE?

Click on the folder symbol in the GSE Teacher Toolkit Grammar tab. You’ll find a collection of free lesson plans, worksheets, assessments, and games for specific grammar points. These resources show the specific level of difficulty of each activity, which is very useful for planning your observation. 

For example, this game is a way of assessing your students’ ability to use comparisons: 

GSE lesson plan assessment

For example, this game is a way of assessing your students’ ability to use comparisons: 

GSE game noughts and crosses

The comparisons used in the example are at the GSE 28 (A2+) level. This information helps you to understand the focus of this game as a performance assessment. You can observe student performance in Game 1 as a check for student understanding, or as a prior knowledge assessment. 

When it comes to observing student performance in Game 2, you’ll have more information about how well students have learned and mastered the use of superlative adjectives. 

Already, the GSE Teacher Toolkit is providing valuable information which you can use to understand learner performance. 

Assessing Communicative Skills 

Language acquisition incorporates a lot of grammar and vocabulary objectives. However, real communication means being able to use grammar and vocabulary to do something in English – ask a question, answer a question, state information, share an opinion, etc. 

Now that you understand what grammar you can observe, you need to consider the communicative skills my students will demonstrate:

  • This particular worksheet encourages speaking, so we can assess speaking skills. 
  • The directions specifically indicate making sentences. 
  • We can assess how well our students can create simple, correct sentences using comparisons. 

You can add a listening element by having students listen and assess the answer of others. While this may seem risky, you will be surprised how many mini-grammar experts you have in the English classroom when it comes to game time. You can also add in elements of reading by having students use their books when questions arise about correct use. 

By thinking carefully about my selected production activity, you can begin to plan the skills you want to observe. 

Using the GSE Teacher Toolkit, you can filter the GSE range you’re working at, the target skills, and focus on comparisons. 

GSE teacher toolkit targeted skills

The results are three skills that are slightly above the level of my current students, indicating this activity will give you a great deal of information about your student’s performance and progress. Once you understand the skills you want to observe, it is simply a matter of creating a rubric that you can use to track observations and ensure consistency when you’re observing multiple students perform. 

Here’s an example using the first skill from the search results above: 

GSE table comparisson

Observe Progress in Action

The rubric allows you to observe your students in action in a number of ways:

  • In an online classroom, you can use breakout rooms to observe students playing. You can play the game as a large group game, inviting small pairs to play the game as the class observes and listens for grammar. 
  • In a hybrid classroom, you can ask students in the classroom to connect with students attending virtually and listen in on the interactions. 
  • And, in a physical classroom, you can move from table to table to listen and observe as students play. 

The rubric from the example has a lot of space. This allows you to make notes about individual performance as you circulate the classroom and listen carefully to students’ use of grammar and vocabulary in sentences. You can also note how well they are comparing people or things using comparisons. 

It will be especially useful to look at where students struggle using comparisons, as this can help you introduce more personalized content to support gaps that can be observed. 

Finally, information from the observation may indicate a need to recycle and more thoughtfully incorporate comparisons and using comparisons into future lessons to ensure your students have a strong ability long before sitting for a test.

Final thoughts

The GSE Teacher Toolkit is a great resource that provides a variety of options to help generate assessment activities. It also helps you create rubrics that allow you to understand performance and recognize gaps in learning. 

Additionally, the Global Scale of English Young Learner Assessment Framework is a handy resource for further understanding what you should observe. This will improve your focus when you are measuring student performance in the classroom. 

Learn more about using the GSE Teacher Toolkit on the blog.

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