Assessment and ESL:
On the Yellow Big Road to the Withered of OZ.
Barbara Law and Mary Eckes.
Winnipeg: Peguis Publishers, 1995. 309pp, paper, 21.00.
English language-Study and teaching as a second language-Evaluation.
Review by Gail Lennon.
Assessment and ESL investigates the need for alternative
assessment strategies for ESL students. The authors contend that
alternative assessment is the only way to gain a clear picture of the ESL
Barbara Law has a Ph.D and is an ESL specialist. She has taught ESL
students at all levels and has provided direction for regular classroom
teachers of ESL students throughout United States. Mary Eckes has been
involved in ESL in California and is now the consultant for Pleasant
Ridge School District near Sacramento.
Through clear, easy-to-read explanations and the use of student
examples, the authors discuss such topics as: the need for ongoing,
holistic assessment; assessment measures for teachers of ESL students;
how to choose the most appropriate student placement for new ESL
students; and effective methods of grading and reporting student
While this book presents many useful ideas for language acquisition,
evaluation, and reporting, there is nothing new. The techniques suggested
are examples of good teaching for every language learner. They are also
ones that good teachers have been using for decades. Of some note are the
chapters on placement and the case studies that illustrate the use of
teacher observation, conferencing, evaluation, and reporting.
For Canadian ESL teachers, it would be reassuring to know that the
authors had some knowledge and experience in the Canadian education
systems. Their experiences and materials appear heavily slanted towards
the American education systems.
Recommended with reservations.
Gail Lennon is a secondary resource teacher with the Bruce County
Board of Education. In her thirty years of teaching in both rural and
urban settings, she has taught every grade from JK to Adult Education in
elementary, secondary and university academic locations. She has
specialist qualifications in Library, ESL, Primary, Junior, Intermediate,
Senior, and Special Education. Ms. Lennon is a keynote speaker, author, and
workshop leader who has reviewed for CM for the past seven years.
To comment on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association.
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