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Diagnostic assessment

Diagnostic assessment (also referred to as pre-assessment) takes place at the beginning of a learning cycle. It is designed to reveal the specific strengths and needs of a student or group of students in relation to the upcoming learning. Diagnostic assessments provide base-line data against which new learning can be measured and progress monitored.

Diagnostic assessment enables a teacher to:

  • establish students prior knowledge (and backgrounds)
  • identify misconceptions
  • make informed planning decisions.

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What might diagnostic assessment involve?

Diagnostic assessment for learning languages may involve:

  • reviewing previous school and/or teacher assessment information
  • giving a pre-test to establish students’ knowledge and skill in relation to one or more of the three learning languages strands
  • interviewing students about or in the target language to determine their skills and confidence
  • giving students a practical task, for example, a speaking or reading task
  • assessing both receptive and productive skills by asking a student to talk to another student in the target language about (for example) a film they have both seen
  • designing a co-operative learning task (for example, an information gap task) that will enable you to simultaneously assess the capabilities of several students
  • questioning to probe students’ knowledge and skills
  • students self-assessing their confidence and proficiency on specified aspects of language learning (for example, communicating appropriately in different situations).

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Last updated March 26, 2018