The present paper develops and presents a curriculum targeting ESL college students, with particular focus on proposing courses relevant to this group of the population, developing a curriculum outline for one of the selected courses, developing a curriculum matrix showing how the curriculum content will be assessed during instruction, outlining the benefits and drawbacks of creating personal assessment instruments, and discussing two examples of assessment instruments used previously.
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Curriculum and Courses
The goal of the proposed curriculum is nested on preparing ESL learners to effectively be able to use English for learning and survival, thus the ESL curriculum will include courses in literacy skills acquisition and use, functional skills, and cultural skills.
The justifications for the inclusion of the three courses are as follows:
- Literacy Skills Acquisition and Use – This course not only assists students to make the expected transition from ESL classes to mainstream university courses, but also to acquire the level of proficiency required to deal successfully with the academic and linguistic demands of the regular university curriculum (Bifuh-Ambe, 2009).
- Functional Skills – This course assists ESL students to develop effective ways to communicate, express needs and concerns, interact socially with other students, and survive linguistically in college (Bifuh-Ambe, 2009).
- Cultural Skills – This course focuses attention to creating an opportunity through which ESL students can affirm their diverse cultures and celebrate them in the classroom context, and also to expose learners to the American culture in relevant reading selections, writing assignments and oral discussions (Miguel et al., 2013).
Curriculum Outline for “Literacy Skills Acquisition and Use” Course
It should be noted that the training techniques for the three weeks consist of lectures, oral reading, visual aids, case-scenario analysis, multimedia (e.g., DVD) and reinforcement.
Week One: Using English to Enhance Survival Skills in College – 3 Hours
- Familiarizing with common sounds, rhythms as well as patterns of the English language
- Attempting to make sense or meaning from English messages
- Attempting to demonstrate limited comprehension of commonly used English phrases in class.
Week Two: Using the English Language in Supported College Environments – 3 Hours
- Practicing to listen and use English language with greater clarity and understanding, including use of common expressions independently.
- Reinforcing a feeling of confidence in the use of English to communicate in classroom contexts.
Week Three: Using English Language Autonomously in School-Related Contexts – 3 Hours
- Assisting ESL students to speak English with minimal hesitation and enhanced understanding of common English phrases and terminology used to communicate in class and other social settings.
- Assisting the students to generate longer phrases and sentences, and to participate more fully in a multiplicity of activities in academic content areas.
- Assisting the students not only to employ their newly acquired vocabulary to retell, describe, explain and compare academic content areas, but also to read autonomously and use writing for a multiplicity of purposes.
|Week||Curriculum Content||Assessment Criteria (Formative)|
|1||Using English to Enhance Survival Skills in College||Non-verbal(e.g., ESL students follow directions, prompts or act without speaking) and recognition(e.g., instructor asks the ESL students specific questions with answer options, or ask students to choose one correct answer from an option of many; students respond with single words or short phrases).|
|2||Using English Language in Supported College Environments||Structured questions(e.g., instructor asks ESL students probe questions about common English expressions to reinforce confidence) and unstructured discussion (e.g., instructor asks ESL students to talk about personal experiences).|
|3||Using English Language Autonomously in School-Related Contexts||Free recall(e.g., instructor asks ESL students to describe or explain what they know about a given English related topic) and word association(e.g., instructor asks students to play a word game in which instructor says a word and students say everything they think of that word in English).|
Benefits & Drawbacks of Developing Own Assessment Instruments
Extant literature demonstrates that student assessment plays a fundamental and essential role in teaching and learning for ESL students, hence the need for instructors to devote a large portion of their preparation time to creating own assessment instruments (Cheng et al., 2004).
A personal assessment instrument, according to these researchers, is advantageous in ESL context as it has the capacity to elicit the most information per minute of assessment time since the instructor has prior knowledge of the students.
Additionally, a personal-based assessment instrument can be of immense importance when it comes to motivating students and exploring students’ organization of knowledge by virtue of the fact that it is developed based on the presenting needs and concerns of students (British Columbia, 1999).
Among the drawbacks, personal assessment instruments may not be very efficient in situations where time is limited, not mentioning that it may take a lot of time and skill to prepare items, leading to a scenario whereby such instruments may be incapable of assessing critical skills as effectively as other standardized instruments (Crusan, 2002).
Bifuh-Ambe, E. (2009). Literacy skills acquisition and use: A study of an English language learner in a U.S. university context. Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal, 3(1), 24-33.
British Columbia. (1999). English as a second language learners: A guide for ESL specialists. Web.
Cheng, L., Rogers, T., & Hu, H. (2004). ESL/EFL instructors’ classroom assessment practices: Purposes, methods and procedures. Language Testing, 21(3), 360-369.
Crusan, D. (2002), An assessment of ESL writing placement assessment. Assessing Writing, 8(1), 17-33.
Miguel, C.S., Townsend, L., & Waters, C. (2013). Redesigning nursing tutorials for ESL students: A pilot study. Contemporary Nurse, 44(1), 21-31.
Appendix: Examples of Assessment Instruments
“ESL Oral Assessment Instrument”
|Phases of Language Development & Acquisition|
|Phase One: Labeling |
Student able to provide one-word replies, generally nouns (e.g., woman, chicken)
Phase Two: Telegraphic Speech
Student able to employ phrase and pivot words to communicate (e.g., want kill chicken)
Phase Three: Basic Sentences
Student able to mention what characters are doing (e.g., woman is killing chicken)
|Instructor should focus on continuing to develop vocabulary orally, and the initiation and reinforcement of basic communication skills with many tangible examples to support learning|
|Phase Four: Language Development |
Student is able to describe the relationship between the characters and other symbols in the visual presentation (e.g., woman killing chicken on the farm)
|Students should not only be introduced to basic reading and provided with support targeting language development, but they should be exposed to language enrichment to support gains|
|Phase Five: Connecting |
Student is able to connect concepts on possibilities, such as “woman is killing chicken for food.”
Phase Six: Concrete Storytelling
Student is able to perceive the visual aid as a component of a large story, and is also able to link other dynamics such as indications of time, place, and cause-effect relationships
Phase Seven: Abstract Storytelling
Student is able to combine all the previous phases into one harmonized narrative, and is also able to provide responses that demonstrate mood, emotional reaction, and conclusions
|Source: (British Columbia, 1999)|
“Analytic Oral Language Scoring Rubric”
|SPEAKING||Student begins to name concrete objects in English, as well communicating personal and survival needs||Student is able to initiate a conversation in English, retell a story or experience, or ask and respond to simple questions|
|FLUENCY||Student is able to repeat words||Student is able to speak using single-word phrases and short patterns||Student is able to speak diffidently, often rearticulating and searching for words and phrases|
|STRUCTURE||Student is able to employ primarily present tense verbs and also to demonstrate errors of omission|
|VOCABULARLY||Student is able to employ functional vocabulary during communication||Student is able to employ limited vocabulary during communication|
|LISTENING||Student comprehends limited or no English at all||Student comprehends words, phrases and vocabulary, though is in need of repetition||Student is able to comprehend simply constructed sentences in sustained conversation, though is in need of repetition|
|Source: (British Columbia, 1999)|