CM March 8, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 21

image 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.
ISBN: 1-895411-77-7.

Subject Heading:
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 student's ability.

Barbara Law

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 success.

Mary Eckes

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.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364