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TEAE 4437/5437/6437 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

TEAE 4437/5437/6437 - Assessment for ESL

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is an in-depth examination of the major categories of language assessment. 

This course is available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate courses are listed as 4000-level courses; graduate courses are listed as 5000- or 6000-level courses according to university policy

Course Outcomes:

The course gives potential ESL teachers the knowledge of the required methods of identifying, placing, monitoring, and exiting non-English background students. It helps students develop the ability to assess, select, administer, interpret and communicate the results of formal and informal assessment procedures. It gives students an awareness of the importance of using varied data sources to distinguish developmental stages of language acquisition from other special needs.

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:
  • Introduction to assessing a second language  
  • Concepts of Instructional Assessment                      
  • Understanding L2 Performance 
  • Vocabulary tests  
  • Grammar Tests
  • Writing tests       
  • Listening tests                                                                
  • Speaking tests                 
  • Assessing Oral Language
  • Differentiating language disorders
  • Integrative Assessment                                                     
  • Advocacy
  • Special needs
  • Instructional Effectiveness
  • Alternative Assessment
  • Performance Assessment  
Specific Course Requirements:

Students should have an ability to use Microsoft Word.  They should also be able to use Acrobat Reader to view pdf documents.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Handouts provided with modules

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

Since the work done for this course requires that students apply knowledge of testing to investigate and analyze appropriate means of testing, there are no quizzes.  Instead, students will write short papers in which they reflect on the readings, analyze tests, develop or describe tests or assessments appropriate for specific situations, and evaluate currently used testing materials. They are assigned tasks that require various types of work:  visiting testing sites on the internet, describing various tests, formulating tests and assessments to match learning goals, and commenting on each other’s work in the discussions.  They also keep a journal.  Graduate students have different paper assignments requiring more in-depth analysis or some research.

Grading Procedures:

Students gain points for work done on each week’s module.  The grade is based on accuracy of information, evidence of reading and research on the topic, and writing and organizational skills.  The grade for the Discussion Board activity reflects that the student has participated in Discussion Board work in a timely manner and as described in each module. Each week the student will be assigned several tasks and a short paper. The tasks are worth 60 points and each paper is worth 40 points. The student should have 1000 points by the end of the semester, which will be changed to a percentage.

Grading Scale:
59 and belowF


Assignments and Projects:

Module One Assignments:
Topics: Introduction to authentic assessment, differences between standardized testing and authentic assessment, assessment as information gathering

1. Complete an interview and write a short report on it.
2. Define terms used in testing
3. Respond to an article on testing.
4. Paper:  Give examples of authentic assessment techniques.
Module Two Assignments:
Topic: Designing authentic assessment.

1. Summarize the types of authentic assessment.
2. Respond to the inventory for goal setting.
3. Respond to an article on aligning instruction and assessment.
4. Explain what is meant by item analysis.
5. Paper:  What advice can you give teachers who must prepare students for standardized tests?  See the article on testing included with the module before responding.

Module Three Assignments:
Topic: Portfolios for assessment

1. Respond to the questions for this module.
2. List articles to be included in a portfolio matched to instructional goals. 
3. Explain the difference between traditional and alternative assessment.
4. Paper:  What is your biggest concern using portfolios?  Read the article on portfolios before responding.

Module  Four
Topic: Assessing oral language

1. List the various means of oral assessment.
2. Design an oral assessment. 
3. Design a rubric to assess the assessment you designed.
4. Explain the role of role-play and what teachers should know.
5. Paper:  After viewing on on-line video on ESL placement, write a summary of it.

Module Five
Topis: Reading assessment 

1. Describe your experience of being tested for reading in a second language or a first language.
2. Define the terms in the terminology list for reading
3. How might you use rubrics to evaluate reading?
4. Tell how you might use dictation as a means of evaluation
5. Describe which reading assessment you might use to measure various reading skills.
6. Paper:  Complete a mini-research on cloze.

Module Six Assignments
Topics: Writing Assessment

1. What activities encourage accuracy in writing?  Which ones fluency?
2. What types of writing assessment are authentic?
3. Is there a difference in correct a native speaker’s writing errors as opposed to correcting an ESL student’s writing errors?
4. What do you understand by the “three approaches to scoring writing samples?”
5. Mention writing prompts that are suitable for a particular grade and one that is not.  Tell why.
6. Paper:  Report on an article about ESL writing.

Module Seven Assignments
Topics: Content Area Assessment

1. What role if any do you think the ESL teacher plays in assessing content areas?
2. Summarize the three purposes of content area assessment of ESL students.
3. Define the following focusing on the relationship between the term and assessment: scaffolding, differentiated scoring, visible criteria , thinking curriculum, standards of performance, prior knowledge, semantic map, T-list
4. Choose one content area mentioned in the chapter on Content Area Assessment and focus on that.  Read through the information carefully.  Provide a recommendation on how a content teacher of that subject might assess ELLs in the content class.
5. Complete a mini-research activity in which you construct a cloze test and evaluate how to score it. 
6. Paper: What is innovative about CALLA?  How does assessment fit in with this approach?  Summarize the information in a short paper.

Module Eight Assignments
Topics: Examples from the Classroom and Self-Assessment 

1. Name one or two examples from Examples from the Classroom that you found particularly helpful and plan to use in your teaching/assessment.
2. Give a specific example of a self-assessment format that might be used with each of those three age levels (you may choose the subject or language skill area).
3. How do the examples from the classroom you read about i meet the general criteria for good testing practices that we have been reading about and discussing all semester? 
4. Briefly mention, in a bulleted list if you wish, what you learned from the video you chose to view on the site provided. 

Module Nine Assignments
Topics:  ESL Students and Special Education

1. Name one or two concerns you have about dealing with special education issues and ESL.
2. Read A Guide to Learning Disabilities for the ESL Classroom Practitioner and name three specific things you learned from this article that you might apply in your teaching.
3. Explain how awareness of cultural differences must be taken into account before referring an ESL student for special education.  Can you think of a behavior that might be cultural but be interpreted as a special ed need?
4. After reading, Learning Disability or Language Development Issue, tell what student behaviors might you consider when making the determination of special education?
5. Paper: What are  some other “alternative” assessments that would work in a K-12 environment?  Name and give a reason why such tests would work effectively.

Module Ten Assignments
Topics:  Professionalism, Testing in Tennessee, NCATE Standards

1. Mention how professional organizations such as TESOL and TNTESOL will help you as you grow professionally in the field of ESL.
2. Describe what you learned about CELLA for Tennessee.  It is important to know about this new standardized test for K-12.
3. Look over the website for ESL standards.  How are they designed?  What do they measure? Explain what you understand about the standards.
4. Explain your understanding of the role of standardized tests in ESL.
5. Paper: Discuss the appropriate use of direct and indirect tests, discrete-point and integrative testing, and objective and subjective scoring.

Class Participation:

Students must participate in all interactive aspects of the course, especially in the Discussion Board activity. Students may communicate with each other through the mail feature. Students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, students must check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements, and students must actively participate in threaded discussion events.

Late Policy:

Each module will have a due date.  The module will remain on line one week after the due date but will disappear after that time.  Students are expected to keep up with modules in a timely manner.  Grades will be posted weekly for students to check on progress.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 9, 2017