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Task Based Instruction & Differentiated Assessment Katie Subra English Language Fellow, Minsk State Linguistic University. Self-reflection. 1) What is your favorite type of assessment to give your students?.

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Task Based

Instruction &

Differentiated Assessment

Katie Subra

English Language Fellow, Minsk State Linguistic University

self reflection

1) What is your favorite type of assessment to give your students?

2) What was your favorite type of assessment to complete as a student?

3) Is there a difference?

categorizing assessment
Categorizing Assessment

How do your assessments change according to:

Skill focus

Language level

Purpose (Feedback vs. Washback)


Bloom's Taxonomy & Higher order thinking skills

schedule of topics
Schedule of Topics

I. Background & Key Acronyms

II. Overview of trends related to Cross-Cultural English Education & Differentiated Assessment in the U.S.

III. Two Ways of Viewing Differentiated Assessment: A. Discrete Point (micro) vs. Communicative (macro) B. Bloom's Taxonomy for Language Assessment Examples will be discussed.

IV. TWBAT: Teachers will be able to analyze their own assessment techniques and check for differentiation.

acronym list for esl in the u s

The purpose of TBI is so that SWBAT (Students will be able to…) perform realistic tasks in their L2.

  • TBI goes hand-in-hand with CBI and is taught to varying degrees in different ESL settings.
  • Differentiated Assessment should be used to measure student's success on a micro and macro level. Micro --------------Macrotraditional assessment TBI
Acronym List for ESL in the U.S.

L1 – 1st language; L2 – 2nd language

TBI – Task Based Instruction

CBI – Content Based Instrution

IEP (college) – Intensive English Program

ELLs – English Language Learners (Students in K-12 programs who come from homes where English is not spoken)

IEP (for ELLs) – Individual Education Plan

ESP – English for Specific Purposes

ABE – Adult Basic Education

(C) IS – (Chinese) Immersion School

assessment should reflect purpose
Assessment should reflect purpose

Example 1) In a Business English class, the assessments may range from point-driven tests to the ability to write a business email, but may not necessarily include ability to write a 5-paragraph essay.

Example 2) An IEP may assess students through task-based projects that require the use of multiple skills (speaking, reading, writing, listening, vocabulary, grammar).

how do you assess your students listening
How do you assess your students' Listening?

Discrete-point (micro)

Phonemic recognition

Ex: The farm has many hogs/dogs.

Paraphrase recognition

Ex: Katie ran into her friend on the way to the store.

a) Katie was injured. b) Katie is running with her friend.

c) Katie saw her friend while walking to the store.

Response Evaluation

Ex: How many days will you be on vacation?

a) Yes, I will be. b) About 6 days. c) I went on vacation yesterday.

Response Evaluation

Cloze/Gap-fill (sentence, phrase, summary) ; Dictation ; Statement Evaluation

Communicative (macro)

Authentic Listening tasks such as evaluating meaning of lyrics heard or filling in a timetable based on a conversation.

Communicative can also be more holistic such as responding during a conversation.

vocabulary example micro
Vocabulary Example (micro)

Even within a micro-level assessment, it is necessary to test for

depth of comprehension.

Example Topic: To Volunteer

The student is given a vocabulary test with the following questions:

1) Write two sentences using the words listed below:

A. volunteer motivation

B. volunteer benefit

2) Write three phrases that can fit into the blank:

I can volunteer by… A.



3) Write the correct word related to 'volunteer' to finish these phrases:

A. Mariah will go to the animal shelter after school .

B. She will encourage the concept of by inviting others to help her.

C. She enjoys at the shelter because she doesn't have a pet at home.

*What can you do as a follow-up activity (moving into macro)?

vocabulary example macro
Vocabulary Example (macro)

A macro-level assessment of vocabulary will likely include a task-based project.

It can range anywhere from requiring the student to talk about a real volunteer experience to interviewing different community volunteers.

Task-based projects will also incorporate multiple skills, such as creating a Newsletter about different volunteer sites/opportunities.

Ex. 1) Compare/Contrast two volunteer sites.

How do we assign a grade? Points system, Rubric, Holistic Grading

Ex. 2) Give a presentation about the different aspects of volunteerism that were discussed during the 'Volunteerism' unit.


Cumulative assessments should also include examples, clear instructions, templates if needed, and even guiding classroom materials. (See Capstone Project)

bloom s taxonomy basic
Bloom's Taxonomy - Basic

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom proposed a taxonomy of student learning objectives. The taxonomy is a range of skills attained by students. The assessment techniques used to measure student success along this range of objectives can be formative or summative in nature.

Formative= Decision Making/Creative Application

Summative= Information Retention

differentiated assessment speaking listening skills
Differentiated Assessment: Speaking & Listening Skills

Micro v. Macro

Bloom's Taxonomy







  • Discrete Point
  • Response Evaluation
  • Communicative
differentiated assessment reading writing skills
Differentiated Assessment: Reading & Writing Skills

Micro v. Macro

Bloom's Taxonomy







  • Discrete Point
  • Response Evaluation
  • Communicative
differentiated assessment vocabulary grammar skills
Differentiated Assessment: Vocabulary & Grammar Skills

Micro v. Macro

Bloom's Taxonomy







  • Discrete Point
  • Response Evaluation
  • Communicative
grammar example analysis paper micro or macro skills
Grammar Example: Analysis Paper micro or macro skills?
  • An academic analysis of common English Language Learner grammatical errors:
  • Jay Leno is a comedian. He also love to collect cars. One of his cars needs not gas. It’s a Baker electric car. Baker invent an electric car in 1909. In the early 1900s, electric cars was popular in the United Sates. Then Henry Ford did produce inexpensive cars that used gas. People stopped buying electric cars. But nowadays people is trying to keep the air clean. So electric cars are become popular once again.
  • Here is how you would write about the first error:
  • The second sentence of the paragraph contains an error in subject verb agreement. The sentence reads, “He also love to collect cars”. Instead, the sentence should read, “He loves to collect cars” because he is third person and third person verbs require ‘s’ in the simple present tense (Schoenberg, p. 83).
provide step by step guidance
Provide Step-by-Step Guidance
  • Step 1: Read student paper and identify the errors. Focus on the grammatical topics covered in class (i.e. Tense, PoS, SVA, Possessives, Modals, Gerunds, Questions, Affirmative/Negative Statements,… varies by level)
  • Step 2: Meet in class to share your errors and corrections with classmates. Analyze the types of errors that you found. Discuss corrections and grammar rules.
  • Step 3: Begin writing your analysis. Refer to the textbook page(s) that state the grammatical rules you are focusing on. Use bold font to highlight the error and the correction within the context of the sentence.
grammar analysis paper objectives
Grammar Analysis Paper Objectives
  • Grammar Analysis Paper for High Intermediate to Advanced ESL students
  • Objectives:
  • Apply grammatical knowledge to an authentic situation—student writing
  • Raise awareness about L2 global errors (errors that interfere with comprehensibility) vs. local errors
  • Develop autonomous grammar learning strategies in students
  • Empower students to correct grammar mistakes in the writing of their peers (this will eventually empower them to correct their own errors which are similar to their peers)
  • Reinforce the conventions of academic writing: citing sources, quote integration, and parenthetical situation
reflections on tbi assessment
Reflections on TBI & Assessment



Time (in and out of the classroom)

Can be difficult to rate

Requires teacher's elbow grease to create assessments, stages, and rubrics

  • Multiple Skills are used simultaneously
  • Authentic (input & output)
  • Can be adapted to different levels
references final thoughts
References/Final Thoughts

Buck, G. (2001). "Approaches to assessing listening" in Assessing Listening

(pp. 61-93). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Read, J (2000). "The design of discrete vocabulary tests" in Assessing Vocabulary

(pp. 150-187). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Shohamy, E., & Inbar, O. (2006). "Assessment of advanced language proficiency:

Why performanced-based tasks?" (CPDD 0605). University Park, PA:

The Pennsylvania State University Center for Advanced Language Proficiency

Education and Research.

Also, check out: The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota.

Questions?, Suggestions? More materials? Email me: