Students are better able to demonstrate what they know when given the opportunity to create and present projects. In this way, grading English language learners by informal assessment is effective as well as enjoyable. With careful planning, classroom projects, presentations and activities can cover all the language skills.
For instance, assign an end of the semester project to the students. They must write a proposal for their project (writing), research the project (reading and writing), present their project to their peers (speaking), answer questions posed by their peers (listening and speaking), and complete a self-assessment (reading and writing). Projects can be given on specific subject areas such as a student's country of origin or teachers can give the students a list of topics such as environmental activism, business ethics or scientific advances.
Allow students to design their own presentation. Give them choices based on the availability of technology. If student's have access to computers, video equipment, etc., allow them to give PowerPoint presentations or make videos. If technology is not available, have them create poster presentations or use overhead slides.
Another idea that students enjoy and are enthusiastic participants in is to have them write and perform a short play or skits. Students will need to research their characters, write the script and perform. Answering questions from the audience about the play gives this informal activity a well-rounded assessment.