Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE ELT 3 Language Testing, Differentiation and Specific Learning Difficulties

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Languages and Humanities Education

DESCRIPTION For the first part: The truism that not all learners are the same leads to a recognition of the need for differentiated teaching and assessment. Principles of differentiated teaching in the English language classroom, both for classroom teaching and assessment will be dealt with in this study unit. While the concept and practice of assessment has widened to embrace and give prominence to classroom-based assessment, formal testing still has a role to play in charting and accrediting learners' achievement. This study-unit focuses on essential issues in language testing and the knowledge and skills teachers need to carry this out in a principled way.

For the second part: This part of the study-unit enables participants to become more conversant with the difficulties encountered at secondary school level as a result of literacy failure. An overview of a number of spelling/reading intervention programmes is carried out.

Study-Unit Aims:

The first part of the study-unit aims to sensitise students to the powerful gate-keeping nature of examinations and to the imperatives of the various forms of reliability and validity when constructing any form of language testing whether at school level or national level. Students will learn about the principles of language test design, ways of recording and reporting as well as basic statistical procedures to better understand test and test-takers' performance. Assessment literacy is viewed as a pivotal part of becoming-teachers' pedagogical content knowledge. Equally important is teachers’ ability to differentiate their teaching and assessment practices so that assessment and testing is not reduced to finding out what learners cannot do, but to credit what they can achieve.

In the second part of the study-unit we shall discuss the effects of dyslexia on the teaching of English as a Foreign Language, classroom accommodations for language learners with dyslexia, techniques for developing phonological and orthographic awareness, techniques for teaching vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, reading and writing. The assessment of language learners with dyslexia will also be considered.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate an understanding of the various forms of reliability and validity through an examination;
- Discuss critically the use and misuse of testing both local and international;
- Discuss the backwash effects of tests;
- Carry out basic statistical analyses in class;
- Demonstrate an awareness of English specific language and literacy difficulties at secondary level;
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of a range of techniques for the teaching of the language skills to secondary students with specific learning needs in order to enhance the learning opportunities of all the students.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Apply the tenets of language testing by critiquing a language test;
- Design a language test;
- Draw up a literacy profile of a secondary school age student;
- Formulate appropriate pedagogical techniques to meet the learning needs of students of different abilities.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Set coursebook
Reading pack available on VLE

Main texts for: Specific Learning Difficulties

- DysTEFL pack
- Oxfordshire Literacy Difficulties Policy and Advice.

Recommended Text Books and Websites:

Part 1

- Carr, Nathan T. (2011) Designing and Analyzing Language Tests. A hands-on introduction to language testing theory and practice.
- Coombe Christine, Keith Folse, and Nancy Hubley (2007) A Practical Guide to Assessing English Language Learners, (Michigan Teacher Training).
- Fulcher, Glenn (2010) Practical Language Testing Kindle Edition.
- Green, Anthony (2014) Exploring Language Assessment and Testing: Language in Action (Routledge Introductions to Applied Linguistics) Kindle Edition.
- Genesee, F. and John A. Upshur, (1996), Classroom-based evaluation in Second Language Education, Cambridge Language Education Series.
- Gipps, C. (1998), Beyond Testing, Falmer Press.
- Harris, M. and P McCann, (1994) Assessment Heinemann.
- Heaton, J.B., (1988) Writing English Language Tests, Longman.
- McNamara, T., (2000) Language Testing, OUP.
- Mifsud, C. and Mallia, G. (Eds) (1999) Ways and Measures.
- Weir, C. J. (1990) Communicative Language Testing, Prentice Hall International.
- Weir, C.J. (1993) Understanding and Developing Language Tests, Prentice Hall.

- Assessment for Learning.
- - Assessment for Learning, 10 Principles.
- (a variety of information on Assessment for Learning or Formative Assessment).
- teachers need to know about assessment.
- Principles and Indicators for Student Assessment Systems.
- Classroom Assessment Techniques.
- – Authentic Reading Assessment.
- – The Case for Authentic Assessment.
- - Practical Ideas on Alternative Assessment for ESL Students.

Part 2

- Cogan, J., & Flecker, M. (2004). Dyslexia in Secondary School. A Practical Guide for Teachers, Parents and Students. London: Whurr.
- Griffiths, M. (2002). Study Skills and Dyslexia in the Secondary School. A practical approach. London: David Fulton Publishers.
- Mifsud, C.L., Grech, R., Hutchison, D., Morrison, J., Rudd, P. & Hanson, J., (2004) Literacy for School Improvement – Value Added for Malta. Agenda Publishers, Malta.
- Peers, L. & Reid, G. (Eds). (2001). Dyslexia - Successful Inclusion in Secondary School. London : David Fulton.
- Snowling, M.J. (2000). Dyslexia. 2nd edition. Oxford : Blackwell.
- Thomson, E. (Ed). (2004). Dyslexia. Perspectives for Classroom Practitioners. London: Special Educational Needs Division. DES
- Turner, E. (2001). Dyslexia and English (Chap. 8, pp. 64 - 71). In L. Peers and G. Reid (Eds), Dyslexia - Successful Inclusion in Secondary School. London : David Fulton.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Qualifications: First cycle degree and 70 ECTS in English, of which 25 ECTS must be in Language and Linguistics, and 25 ECTS in Literature.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Charles L. Mifsud
Doreen Spiteri

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.