The following assessment examples demonstrate the individual progress of children who were in their final term at kindergarten, prior to going to school. They are children who were learning English as an additional language (EAL).
Their learning was assessed using the stages of language described in
Supporting Children Learning English as a Second Language in the early years (birth to six years).
Jessica – assessment example
Initially Jessica was assessed as being in Stage 1 – New to English. This stage can be matched with A1.1, A1.2
(EAL stages, Lower primary school).
By Term 4, Jessica had made considerable progress in understanding and speaking English. She continued to use Vietnamese, particularly in socio-dramatic play activities such as playing in the cubby house and in games outside with friends. In these activities she was observed to initiate and respond in conversation. Although her English conversation was mostly in response to requests from educators, she was becoming more confident and was assessed as being at Stage 3 – Becoming a confident user of English.
As Jessica made progress in speaking English, she demonstrated greater understanding in a variety of contexts both indoors and outdoors. She managed transition times with ease and communicated in short sentences. Jessica used accurate pronunciation and intonation. She was willing to initiate conversations with adults as well as other children, and she responded in interactions.
Jessica was already fluent in her first language and was demonstrating understanding of two languages. She was confident switching from the first language to English with different speakers. By the end of the year, Jessica was demonstrating a sound knowledge of English, her comprehension exceeded her production but she was already speaking in short sentences, and using formulaic ones such as ‘Can I go outside?’ She could recognise and write her name, and also recognised letters. She enjoyed books and stories and joined in singing.
Jessica still needed the support of the educator to extend her language development, and to help her make meaning when visual supports were not present. She still relied on the educator to scaffold her learning, to ask questions and to prompt her replies, building on her limited sentences and using techniques such as positive feedback, tuning in, visual support.
This stage of EAL development could be matched with Stage A2.1 (EAL stages, Lower primary school).
Kevin – assessment example
When Kevin started school, the teachers assessed him as A2.3 (EAL stages, Lower primary school).
Kevin had attended kindergarten as a three-year-old. He was a strong speaker of Mandarin and had the opportunity to continue the use of his home language at kindergarten. By the time he started his second year, he spoke English confidently. He showed attentive listening behaviour and enjoyed group times in both English and Mandarin. Throughout his preschool year he enjoyed a wide variety of activities and demonstrated good comprehension of English in routine activities and free play. He was a natural leader and enjoyed friendships with others.
Kevin still needed the educators to scaffold his learning. Although he was demonstrating his ability to think and reflect in conversation, he still relied on some visual scaffolds and the educator’s use of scaffolding techniques to help him develop sustained shared thinking.