AVG 6.2 Assessing Student Development


Think About

Click and download the following link to fill out the Active Viewing Guide 6.2 that is shown below: AVG 6.2 Assessing Student Development.

From Session 8 Segment 1: https://equitypress.org/-wAi

Conceptual Outline Meaning Making

Inclusive Pedagogy Leads to:

•Common Understandings

•United Advocacy

Learning to meet individual students’ needs holds the greatest promise for our development as teachers. Our strongest act of advocacy is teaching a child to succeed.

As teachers learn about the cognitive, social/affective, and linguistic development of all children, they are better able to support the child whose needs currently confront them.

Teaching as advocacy?

Critical Learning Domains guide you to respond from a developmental perspective in assessing language minority students.

Critical Learning Domains:

•Cognitive: Your assessment practices help you support students in demonstrating what they know and need to know to be able to play the school assessment game.

•Social/Affective: Teachers should assess students’ comfort and motivation.

•Linguistic: You need to analyze and respond to your students’ language development—both oral and academic.



Reflection for Change Question:

How can I demonstrate understanding of diverse learners’ commonalities and uniqueness in critical learning domains in the process of assessment?

Don’t focus on what students can’t do; focus instead on what you can do to support the learning of your language minority students. Your wise response to students results in improved learning, as these educators suggest:


Peggy Estrada (University of California, Santa Cruz)

From looking at twenty-seven classrooms in eight different schools, the biggest thing that I’ve learned is that culturally linguistically diverse children can succeed at the highest level.

Celeste Gledhill (Elementary School Teacher)

I wish that all teachers knew that second language learners can learn. They’re just on a different timetable.

James B. Lantolf (Penn State)

First and foremost, you’re working with flesh and blood beings in the classroom and not the language, not the curriculum.

Roland Tharp (University of California, Santa Cruz/ CREDE)

We’re looking at the growth points on the tree and not at the full leaf. And that’s what we want to be concerned with.

Pauline Longberg (ESL Coordinator)

The key is teachers who realize that language is not a barrier.

Audrey Siroto (University of California, Santa Cruz)

It’s not just, “This feels right,” “I see the kids learning,” or “Look at their standardized test scores.” It’s, “I know why they’re growing. I understand that.”

David Corson (University of Toronto/OISE)

Immigrant children coming to a country bring all those senses of identity and self—who they are and what they are—into the classroom. If they find all of that negated, it’s an act of hostility to the child.

Eugene Garcia (University of California, Berkeley)

The ideal school has a set of individuals called teachers that are very well prepared and continue to engage in professional development where they critique, reflect on, and essentially improve instruction based on a set of experiences that they have with their students.

Student success? 

Child or curriculum? 

Knowing Why? 

Negating Identity?


Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

We became teachers because we cared about the lives of young people. We find our greatest reward in the development of our students. When we focus on the things that are most likely to lead to their success, we fulfill our obligations. What students learn to do with us will lead to their future success in school and ultimately in life. When we look at student development, we need to focus on the whole child—not just the cognitive, not just the social, and not just the linguistic. We need to use their strengths as thinkers, as social beings, and as language learners to help them find success. How can teachers begin to do that?

Maria Hawley (Speech and Audiology Specialist)

I would ask teachers to keep track of all areas. Keeping track doesn’t involve elaborate notes, just a little daily observation. You note changes in students’ understanding, when something you’ve been doing works, or maybe the student changed. You note what you are trying out and how it works—maybe adding posters to your lecture,or a video tape, or an individual time with that student who’s reluctant to speak. You note all areas. Some students quickly develop social skills, and the teacher might misunderstand that. They think, “But this student talks to friends in the hallways, and he talks in class.” And, yet, academically that student is not developing as quickly. Find out why. We have to be curious about what we’re doing and why we’re doing things the way we are.


Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

Ideally, you observe student performance and question it against what you know about cognitive, social /affective, and linguistic development. You then use your insights, evaluations, and judgment to respond to student difficulties while you continue to gather evidence of their learning and performance. In this way, you are continually supporting student learning. Unfortunately, we often focus on student deficit or difference, rather than on their potential.


Deficit or Difference

Nancy Cloud (Rhode Island College)

When students come to school and they’re perceived as somehow different—linguistically, culturally, ability, or any difference—we tend to focus on that difference. We need to be concerned about it and responsive to it, but sometimes it can dominate our thinking. With an ESL learner sometimes the fact that the student doesn’t know English becomes the most important thing. We forget there are other aspects of functioning, too. Even though we know we need to support, respect, build on what students bring—honor it, use it—sometimes we don’t do that because we’re so worried about what they don’t have. When this happens, we’re no longer focusing on development. We have moved into deficit, compensatory, remediation mode. Think developmentally. What is in this child’s best interest? And the more diverse the learner, the more we have to grab hold of the developmental perspective and say, “Let me think holistically about this child.”




Developmental Focus

Karen Draney (University of California, Berkeley)

Of course, a developmental approach to assessment means looking at students across time. The idea is when you assess, you’re looking to see what levels of understanding, what levels of competency, what levels of higher thinking or deeper understanding. You’re interested in how well they tie things together rather than just repeat simple answers to simple questions.


Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

It is easy to see how the critical learning domains impact each other. The cognitive affects the linguistic. The social impacts the cognitive, and the linguistic impacts the social. All aspects of development are intertwined and require artful assessment. Home and family background provides insight into cognitive development.


Social and Cognitive

Ronald Gallimore (University of California, Los Angeles)

Most of our theories on child development and learning place significant emphasis on the role of everyday activities in homes as a source of cognitive and communicative development.

You can look at it like this. If you grow up in a weaving village, you learn a lot about weaving from an early age. If you grow up in a fishing village, you know a lot about fish and fishing and boats and when to go to sea. If you grow up in a literacy village where people read and write to make a living, you go to school knowing more about reading and writing. And the older you get, the more immersed you are in the sea of literacy, numeracy, and other tools that are required in a modern economy.

In this little prosaic example, we can see how in a very profound way we would expect children’s home activities to directly affect what they are going to do at school. In fact, it’s reasonable to say that we’ve designed our schools to amplify and build the very skills that adults transmit to children at home, because the adults know that when those children reach adulthood, they’ll need those tools—whether it’s fishing or weaving or literacy—in order to make a living.

This is an example of the invisibility of culture. America is a culture of literacy—a powerful tool—a tool by which we earn a living. If we’re not literate, we want our children to be literate. If we don’t know how to use computers, we want them to learn to use computers.

A Literacy Village?


Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

When students struggle to learn, we can ask ourselves whether their social or cultural background and experience might provide us insight into their difficulties. Luis Moll teaches us to use students’ funds of knowledge from their homes and communities as a way to respond educationally. We can also respond by teaching students to be better thinkers.

Educational Response? 

Cognitive and Linguistic

Heidi Andrade Goodrich (Ohio University)

If you don’t believe intelligence is learnable, it’s almost pointless to be a teacher, really. Even though every student in your classroom has a different intellectual profile, if you know that as a teacher you can increase every students’ level of intelligence, your teaching is transformed.

You need the tools to teach students to think. The way to do this is make it count. Model it yourself. Bring in other models of good thinking. You make it part of your instruction, your assessment, and your evaluation. Key to all this are your expectations. You teach them to behave and think intelligently. Then you expect them to behave and think intelligently. Your whole classroom becomes about learnable intelligence. And—no surprise—students begin to think and behave, and be motivated to think and behave, in more intelligent ways.

Intelligence learnable?


Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

Sometimes we forget that what happens in the classroom matters deeply to students. When students struggle to understand, use the right word, or participate in group work, we may not see how embarrassed they feel or how frustrated they become. The impact of that experience on their learning may be immediate and short-term, but it can also have lasting effects.

Impacts of my classroom? 

The cover footage presents a young boy struggling to think through a problem in a mathematics class. You can tell he is thinking and wants to figure it out. Sometimes we don’t observe closely enough to see these expressions in the faces of our students.


Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

On the other hand, when teachers use student work, praise their thinking, or invite students to learn from each other, it increases their intent to learn.

Meaningful praise?

Cognitive and Affective

John Schumann (University of California, Los Angeles)

Social factors are important because they impinge on student learning. They may even be more powerful than our own teaching. I see emotion and cognition as being intimately inter-twined, and therefore, I wouldn’t see either as being indirect.

They’re both part of the game.

Cognition is comprised of:






Cognition is driven by an emotional appraisal system. As you’re gauging those cognitive acts, remember they are guided by an emotionally-driven appraisal system.

Emotional apprasial?


Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

As you follow a student’s progress, you find yourself asking, “Can this student do the work?” And when a student doesn’t do the work, you’re confronted with a dilemma:Is it that the student cannot do the work, or is it that the student will not do the work? Student motivation is a critical part of their social/affective development.

How can you increase student’s desire to learn?

1.Act on belief that all students can learn

2.Teach thinking skills

3.See students as a resource

Heidi Andrade Goodrich argues that teachers can employ two simple strategies to increase students’ willingness to learn:

1.Teachers act on the belief that all students can learn, and

2.Teachers teach thinking skills and improve students’ ability to learn.

A story from Pauline Longberg suggests a third strategy for improving student motivation—use students as a resource for other students’ learning. It establishes the student’s place in the classroom and increases a desire to learn.

Intent to learn?


Place in the classroom?

Social and Linguistic

Pauline Longberg (ESL Coordinator)

I wish every teacher realized they can be a powerful influence in developing language in students. If they saw themselves as language teachers and if they recognized that the students in their classrooms are also equally valuable in teaching language, together they could work to help another child who doesn’t speak that language to develop it.

Teachers also need to realize that students who come to them can also be a resource. Funny story. I remember once a teacher doing a lot of work on Egypt and the pyramids. That year, she happened to have in her class a girl who came from Egypt. It never donned on the teacher that this girl perhaps knew more about the Egyptian period and the pyramids than she or anyone in the class. The girl didn’t speak very much English. She didn’t raise her hand or participate actively in discussion. She just sat there quietly. I had an occasion to talk to this girl, and she shared with me some of what she knew, and I said, “Does your teacherknow you know this?” “No,” she says. And I said, “Well, we need to help her, you know, she needs to know that you know this and figure out a way that you can teach this to the other students in yourclass.”

It’s really important that teachers recognize what a resource students really truly are.

My students as a resource? 

Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

In talking about improving student motivation, Carol Ames reminds us that when students have goals for learning, they are motivated to reach those goals. In using classroom assessment tools like instructional conversations, you acti-vate students’ intent to learn by communicating you value their voice and you expect them to learn. You help develop their skills for learning. You learn more about students’ background and skills, and then create opportunities for students to be a classroom resource. Because classroom assessment provides clear feedback about students’ progress in learning, it motivates them to reach their learning goals.

In assessing second language learners, our assessment tools need to be precise enough to attend to their content knowledge, their learning dispositions, and their languagedevelopment. Only then will it support students in develop-ing an intention to learn, expand their academic abilities, and build stronger language skills.

Goals and motivation?

Feedback and motivation?

Valuing students and motivation?

Linguistic, Social, Cognitive
Paul Ammon (University of California, Berkeley)
When children are learning a second language, we may not be able to decide whether we can’t understand what they’re saying because of confusion about the ideas or because of limits in their linguistic ability to express the ideas in a new language. Teachers get around that issue by exploring ideas interactively with children—that should happen with all children. But it is especially important not to simply listen to an ESL child’s comment and then make judgments about the child’s understanding. Teachers should engage in a more interactive process where the child has multiple opportunities to express the same idea.


Dialogue and understanding?

Annela Teemant (Brigham Young University)

What Paul Ammon describes is a best-case scenario. Unfortunately, teachers may unintentionally dismiss all aspects of a student’s development. Consider this story:


Norma Garcia Bowman (Secondary Teacher)

Paulo was a strong math student. But in Costa Rica, where he came from, he had been taught to record his math calculations differently from the way we do in America.The teacher failed him. Paulo’s mother asked me to talk to his teacher because the teacher told Paulo he wasn’t doing his math right. I said, “What do you mean he’s not doing it right?” Paulo’s mother said, “Well, he’s not doing it the way the teacher wants to seeit.”

I went through all of his math—all the work was there, all the numbers, and the answers were right. I said, “Well, they’re all right.”

But she said, “The teacher keeps telling Paulo that he can’t get credit for his work because he does itwrong.”

I was so irritated. I went to talk to the teacher. I asked, “Why is Paulo failing your class when all of the answers are correct?” He says, “Well, if Paulo’s going to live here and participate in the school curriculum, then he needs to do it properly. He’s doing it all wrong.”

I said, “What do you mean he’s doing it all wrong? It’s all right. Can’t you see that all the work is there. Look at it. Just because it’s done in a different format doesn’t mean the answers are wrong and all the work isout.”

The teacher just couldn’t see it. I had to take the parent to the principal and show the principal that all the work was there and that it was all right.

Still, Paulo did not receive an A. He still did not get the grade he deserved. This young man’sin the Air Force, and he’s an excellent student. He’s going to the Air Force Academy.


Social? Affective? 



Richard Kimball (Secondary School Teacher)

ESL students face so many injustices that it becomes our responsibility. It’s a moral obligation that we have to go out of our way to help these students. And if we don’t, nobody will.

Cindy Ballenger (Parks and Graham School)

Whenever someone asks us, “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?” Everybody always says, “We learn that kids always make sense.”

Jack Whitehead (University of Bath)

I could never claim to have educated my students. I can claim  that I’ve had some influence, which is educative,  but I insist on their right to educat themselves.

Lynn Diaz Rico (University of California, Santa Barbara)

If we don’t go in with the attitude that every student deserves our maximum attention, I think we’re in the wrong profession.

Virginia Gonzalez (University of Texas)

Maybe that child—the same child—in a different classroom with a different teacher will achieve at much higher levels.

Maria Hawley (Speech and Audiology Specialist)

It seems simple enough, but it’s a question that we have to ask ourselves. “Why is that student succeeding in this area and not in this other area?”

H. Douglas Brown (San Francisco State University)

My conviction is that teachersneed to take seriously their role as agents of change, as people who have a responsibility toward students to help those students become future leaders of the world.


The Critical Learning Domains are interdependent. In our assessment, we need to remember that each of these domains influences student learning.


This content is provided to you freely by BYU Open Learning Network.

Access it online or download it at https://open.byu.edu/diverse_assessment/avg_6.2_assessing_stu.