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Initial assessment for diagnosis, placement and funding

People often ask for a recommendation to a test to determine students' ELLP level. Sadly there is no 'one test to bind them all' so to speak! People use a wide variety of both formal and informal tools to determine ELLP scores. Furthermore there are almost no commercial assessment tools that are normed for use with students in our context.
Continuing students at a school will have a body of work, in ESOL and other subjects, that can be used to determine ELLP levels and it is good practice to involve mainstream teachers in making judgements about ELLP levels. 
Whilst it is not best practice to assess students within a short time of arrival, it is sadly sometimes unavoidable. Judgements for newly arrived students often have to be made using observation and assessments in ESOL classrooms. Such assessments might include:

a writing sample - referenced against ELLP

reading assessments - teachers can assess comprehension and , if necessary, decoding. Reading assessments might include

  • clozes - sometimes these are based on ELLP texts, see the cloze tests by Linda Todd at the bottom of this page 
  • commercial comprehension tests

a speaking assessment - often a short interview which will also enable you to find out about the student's learning background listening assessments - examples might include

  • dictations
  • listen and draw activities

assessment of vocabulary knowledge- refer to Julie's list below for some examples of these

In addition with Foundation students you may want to assess alphabet knowledge and letter sound correspondence.
The ESOL Online Teachers Resource Exchange contains Julie Luxton's excellent Assessment for English Language Learners: Some Options for Placement, Diagnosis and Funding which is a comprehensive list of the available assessment resources for initial and diagnostic assessment.
The ESOL Progress Assessment Guidlines outlines some of the standardised assessment tools but it is very important to determine your purpose before selecting an assessment tool for example asking a students to read a text aloud will tell you little about reading comprehension.
Once you have gathered the data from the assessments you then need to return the the ELLP matrices. Placing students on the ELLP matrices requires taking a best fit approach and making an overall teacher judgement. The videos in the ELLP professional support modules give examples of teachers doing just that and are well worth watching again.