Three ESL Teaching Assessments to Determine Student Capabilities and Progress

Initial Assessment

In order for you to assess your students’ language capabilities and progress, you need to have an idea of writing good ESL lesson plans with assessment. You can begin with an initial assessment. For the most part, your students would probably have been in the country for some time before they begin their English class. It could be one week or as much as five years. They would have some understanding of English. Some may have studied English in their country recently or a long time ago.

Exercise for Initial Assessment

Plan a simple assessment in a 5 question multiple choice format. This simple exercise tests the students’ current level of English, and gives a rating between beginners and advanced.


  1. I wonder how many children _____ already speak some English

(a) have

(b) can

(c) will

2. Do you speak English? No, I ——-

(a) don’t like

(b) am not

(c) don’t

3. Did you ——–anything interesting today?

(a) doing

(b) do

(c) does

(d) did

4. What is your country…….. ?

(a) situated

(b) located

(c) like

(d) as

5. How———-are you?

(a) tall

(b) high

(c) long

(d) wide

Answers: 1(b), 2(c), 3(b) 4 (c) 5(a)

Second Assessment

One month after the course begins, you can do a second assessment. Target the test towards the following skills: Grammar and Vocabulary, Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Give the student a 60-90 minute period in which to demonstrate these comprehensive language skills.

Final Assessments

Naturally, at the end of the course, you will provide in your writing of good ESL lesson plans with assessment, an opportunity for a final evaluation. This is the most critical of all. The aim of this final stage of assessment is to measure as accurately as possible the students’ speaking and listening skills. Here you need to engage students in demanding oral presentations and discussions. Of course, you will structure this assessment in keeping with the length of the course and what was covered in the lessons.

Have your students respond to specific prompts in which English structures and vocabulary will be elicited. This test will ensure that the student meets the full range of linguistic requirements which were projected for the course. In preparing your scores, you will place a score in the highest range as that of having reached full proficiency at the level assessed. A score in the second highest range will indicate proficiency while a score in the third highest range can imply proficiency immediately below the level assessed. In this case, the student can, if he wishes have a chance at reassessment. You can administer yet another score. This lowest score will establish a lack of proficiency at the assessed level. In the case of a student whose score falls in the lowest range, he should definitely undergo reassessment so you can determine a conclusive proficiency level.