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Theme of a story, drama, or poem

Chances are you have administered a test and it did not yield the results you expected. Perhaps a small

percentage of students demonstrated mastery of the standard(s).
Imagine the test results were disappointing, think about:

� Your audience
� The original assessment

� What alternative measures could have been used
In a word-processed document:
� Cite the Florida Standard(s) being tested
� Provide one test item from the original assessment

� Describe an alternative approach to assess the standard that the original test item addressed
� Discuss your rationale(consider VAK, your audience, and the alternative assessments outlined in

Standards cited

  1. LAFS.4.RL.1.2 The student will determine the theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the

text; and will be able to summarize the text.

  1. LAFS.4.RL.1.3 The student will describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama,
    drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character�s thoughts, words, or actions).



Assessing Standards

In Florida, students take the Florida assessment standard test that is a suite for reading
and writing to measure the students’ performance. The Florida assessment test outlines what the
students should know at the end of each grade. This test is aimed at testing the standards in
English language course. The students are required to determine the theme of a story drama or
poem from the details in the text including the characters responses to different challenges, and
make a summary of the script .they are also required to discuss in depth a character event or to
set in a story drawing specific details from the text.

One of the key test items that were tested is reading and writing in the English language.
This requires students to read and comprehend texts of steadily increasing complexity, which
helps them to grasp the message the writer intends to pass. Reading gives the students an
opportunity to internalize their thoughts and opinions, as they will be required to put down in
writing. Students recognize the text details that enable them to create mental characters and
should apply the information to create a caricature of the character setting or event (Harper & de
Jong, 2009). Reading also challenges the students to become investigators to be able to describe
characters in depth using the character traits displayed in the text. They are required to use
investigative strategies to explore characters or events individually. The culminating event will
be a comprehensive summary of the text occurrences.

As indicated by the results of the first assessment this mode of evaluation is not as
effective as expected. This is because some students were unable to demonstrate mastery of the
standards and as stated by Harper & de Jong (2009) alternative ways of learning and assessment
methods are needed. Traditional pen and paper tests are only effective in testing some skills such

as listening but are insufficient when testing productive skills such as writing and speaking. The
proficiency-oriented nature of the language learning requires a variety of assessment options.
Authentic and performance-based assessment is an alternative assessment which integrates
traditional academic content with the knowledge and skills using a variety of expertise including
real world situations.

For a test to be authentic, it should connect in some way to the real world circumstances
and problems. The assessment option also requires students to come up with a response and
demonstrate the application of the knowledge in authentic context. It involves some performance
relating to real life situations, and it is process oriented.

Rationale for Alternative Assessment

My first reason for incorporating alternative assessment is that it goes beyond the
evaluation of knowledge, to multiple goals of developing skills such as creative thinking,
problem-solving and summarizing (Harper & de Jong, 2009). It also involves students in tasks,
performances, demonstrations and interviews reflecting everyday circumstances. Apart from
providing teachers with feedback for monitoring students, it also focuses on students’ strengths
enabling the teacher to have a more accurate of the students’ abilities and inabilities. Alternative
assessment method also meets the students’ different learning styles by offering a broad
spectrum of evaluation possibilities. Finally yet importantly, this assessment method allows s
students to collaborate among themselves through group discussions. Although most schools
focus on individuality, the real world encourages people to ask questions, discuss, get help and
feedback. Denying students the right to work as a team diminishes the authenticity of the
achievement (Harper & de Jong, 2009).



Harper, C. A., & de Jong, E. J. (2009). English language teacher expertise: The elephant in the
room. Language and Education, 23(2), 137-151.

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