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This three-part workshop looks at various reasons and ways to assess ESOL learners’ language learning, such as determining their class level and learning needs, monitoring and acknowledging their progress, and informing instructional plans. The series includes a face-to-face session, an online companion course, and a follow-up webinar. Through participating in all three sessions, you will have opportunities to try out new formative and summative assessment tools and techniques in your practice and receive professional development support while doing so.

This workshop is one of six that was developed to support ESOL teachers in gaining proficiency in and mastery of the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers of Adult ESOL.


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • All ESOL teachers who would like to deepen their understanding of assessing ESOL learners and to expand their repertoire of assessment tools and techniques

In this three-part workshop, we focus on the importance of using formative and summative assessments to guide and improve instruction. We consider the various purposes of assessment, such as determining student placement, monitoring learners’ development, meeting educational standards, and informing instructional plans. We look at different ways that assessment data can benefit ESOL programs, teachers, and learners, and the roles that your learners can play in tracking their own progress.

Activities in the face-to-face session include designing formative and summative assessments, practicing corrective feedback techniques, and making instructional decisions using assessment data.

In the second session, an online companion course facilitated by the workshop presenter, you will try out some new assessment strategies and techniques in your teaching practice and reflect on your experiences. This session includes additional resources, videos illustrating several strategies and techniques, a forum to ask questions (and have them answered), and a discussion board to share ideas with your colleagues. You are expected to contribute a minimum of one post and two replies in the companion course.

The final session (3-4 weeks after the workshop) is a one-hour webinar, in which you will share an assessment tool, strategy, or technique that you’ve been applying in your teaching practice; receive feedback, guidance, and information from the facilitator and your colleagues; and plan next steps to further refine your practice.

To receive credit for this professional development activity, participation in all three sessions is required.

Professional development hours: 8

  • Face-to-face session: 5.5 hours: Saturday, November 23, 2019 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Online companion course: 1.5 hours: Self-paced
  • Webinar: 1 hour: Saturday, December 14, 2019 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

For more information, contact Dori McCormack at

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Identify different types of assessments and the purpose and benefits of each
    Select and use formative assessments to make ongoing instructional decisions
    Select and use summative assessments to demonstrate learning gains after a defined period of instruction
    Craft a systematic instruction and assessment plan that aligns lessons with learning goals and provides ongoing feedback on learners’ progress towards these goals
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)

Before attending any workshop on the ESOL Professional Standards, you are encouraged to watch the online presentation Introduction to the Professional Standards for Teachers of Adult ESOL and to attend the workshop on Principles of Second Language Acquisition. You can register for both offerings through the SABES Calendar.


Northern Essex Community College
LH 203 at 420 Common St.
Lawrence, MA 01840
United States

PD Center
SABES English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum & Instruction PD Center
Topic Area
ESOL/English Language Learner