Scott on Assessment

I’m watching  Scott’s fabulous webinars. He has a sale on them at — so I ordered six in two bundles that I now have for a month. As I watch the one on games, I’m getting lots of ideas. I like Scott’s twist on Around the World, having to do with standing up when you get a wrong answer and staying up until your turn comes around again and then having to answer three questions in a row. I am very random about teaching numbers, and Scott has a cute piggy game handout that comes with his webinar to practice numbers–a great choice for my kids who think they don’t know them even when they do.

A question I had for Scott after watching the first of three on assessment was how to set up vocabulary tests in mixed-level classes without having to create more than one test. I know that sounds lazy, but it was a huge relief to use TPRS and be able to have only one lesson plan for several levels. I don’t want to go back to my old style of having to write different tests (not to mention lessons!) for each group. It’s less difficult to set up questions that differentiate for one reading, but I use the same vocabulary for the entire class by using HF structures, and upping the ante by making the structures containing that vocabulary as complex as the most advanced kids in the class need them to be. So far, that seems to work for teaching, but I’m a bit stymied when it comes to creating one-size-fits-all vocabulary tests for a class with four or five levels in it. I have not given too many of the Scott-type vocabulary tests, with the mixed-in enrichment or new-form vocabulary, for that reason.

Any ideas out there? Or should I bite the bullet and make four different tests? (I have levels 2-5, plus IB and AP kids in the same room. I generally lump the IB/AP kids into one set for oral/written assessments and the 4-5 group together as well.)

I’m meeting with a group of teachers today, supposedly to answer some TPRS questions, but they’re all smart and experienced. I’ll let you know their suggestions on this conundrum.

3 responses to “Scott on Assessment

  1. Michele,
    I wish I could offer some help but I am still struggling with assessment for my single level classes! I appreciate you sharing what you are learning. I have a ton of stuff I need to buckle down and get done before our break ends! The fact that you are still going strong inspires me so thanks for your generosity and energy!


  2. I can only offer what I’ve been using …I’m sure others have more ideas!

    1. I put 30 words/phrases on the test. Level 1 has to identify 15, Level 2 20 Level 3 25. I don’t care which ones they choose but try to put 10 out of 30 that I think my barometer Level 1s know….15 that I think my barometer Level 2s know…and 20 that my barometer Level 3s know. Funny thing is…they always surprise me with which ones they know!!!! If they can do more than the required number for their level it counts as extra credit.

    2. I create comprehensible sentences using the phrases. Each phrase is worth 1,2 or 3 points based on the vocab/structure used. Level 1s must translate 15 points worth, Level 2s 20 points worth and Level 3s 25 points worth. Again…they pick the sentences they feel most confident about. Sometimes the sentences are from readings that we have done, others are new combinations.

    1 point: She lives in a new house.
    2 points: She used to live in that house.
    3 points: I think that she used to live in that house.

    These quizzes give the students a lot of room to show what they know and they give me a great deal of information !!

    with love,


  3. Laurie, you are so smart! I did talk with the East High teachers (where all the teachers are well above average–imagine: they often spend their lunch time discussing TPRS ideas) and their department head had a similar idea for vocabulary quizzes, combining it with the “enrichment” plan that Scott uses. (She’s really smart, too.) I really like the idea of letting students come up with the point total that they need in either situation. I never would have thought of the comprehension sentence quiz. Very cool. You could then use it for either a vocabulary or structure grade!

    Thank you both…Ruth for the kind words, and Laurie for the boost. I love feeling more prepared as I go back to school.

    My goals for the new year are to to assess efficiently and accurately, and spend most class time focused on CI through reading and listening.


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