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Best ways to conduct EAL Proficiency Assessments

Learning Labs work closely with Pupil and School Support, to ensure the FlashAcademy® EAL platform is as impactful as possible for the classroom.  We caught up with Terri Cawser, an Assistant Service Lead, to talk about the best ways to conduct EAL Proficiency Assessment.

Proficiency Assessment

Can you tell us what the Proficiency Assessment means for schools?

It was announced in June, that there is no longer a requirement for schools to report on the level of proficiency in English of pupils for whom English is not their first language. This was a measure first introduced as a requirement of the school census in 2016 and, at the time, was billed as a way to for the DfE to use data to inform policy on this high needs group; to support schools to distinguish between EAL pupils who lack a basic command of the English language and those who are bilingual

The removal of the need to report on the proficiency in English of a pupil should not stop schools and settings from assessing this.

There is still a need to understand the progress of bilingual learners within a school or setting.  There remains the need to ensure that provision is carefully matched to the needs of all individual learners.

How should schools record basic pupil information?

We recommend that schools consider where and when they collect this information – for example, should it be part of the school induction process?  It’s also important to consider how the questions are asked of the pupils and whether it’s possible to do this in the home language of the pupil, to help improve the accuracy of the information being collected.

How should pupil’s English proficiency be measured?

This should be measured against a 5-point scale, ranging from ‘New to English’ to ‘Fluent’.  This should take into account all core skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Who should carry out these assessments?

Typically, the class teacher supported by an EAL or inclusion co-ordinator.

What assessment tools are available to schools?

Several.  Free resources include the Bell Foundation Assessment Profile and within Birmingham, the Pupil and School Support Assessment Framework.  I know that FlashAcademy® EAL are also working on a digital version, which we’re looking forward to reviewing.

Why is this important?

It allows schools to better profile the home languages they have across the school, celebrate diversity and also provides important information for the EAL or Inclusion co-ordinator to review the strategic needs of the school.

We’d like to thank Terri Cawser for supplying the text for this blog! Terri Cawser is one of the Assistant Service Leads at Pupil and School Support in Birmingham, a team of 40 teachers who support all mainstream maintained, free schools and academies in the local authority.  As well as being responsible for service development at PSS she also leads on EAL for the service. Terri has spent her whole teaching career working in inner city Birmingham schools and has seen the changing profile of EAL first hand providing her with the knowledge and experience to support schools in meeting the needs of their EAL pupils.

If you want to share solutions and ideas concerning EAL or want to feature on our next blog, please join our EAL SUCCESS group and get involved! Thank you to all the teachers and specialists who have shared their ideas with us already!

Interested in all things EAL? Check out our tips on how to set up an effective EAL team! If you are looking for free EAL resources for your school, why not visit our resources page?

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