Student progress

Assistants are not usually expected to carry out formal assessment of their learners with tests or marking. However, students need feedback as they come towards the end of their time with you.

Here are a few short activities for your last month or weeks with them.

Keep in mind that:

  • We need to take responsibility for what the students have learned from us and with us.
  • Students also need some type of conclusion to their work with us and this conclusion can be a summary of their learning
  • We need to select activities that highlight this learning for students.
  • The best types of activities:
    • Are based exclusively on language covered with you and skills learned with you.
    • Involve students in telling themselves what they have learned and summarising what they know or can do
    • Are peer-orientated with a focus on group or pair work so they get a sense of class/team/group achievement

Activities for positive reinforcement of student learning

  • Functional language/social English/everyday expressions.
    What would you say/answer in these situations?(choosing appropriate language). Give pairs or groups a list of questions/comments which need replies which have cropped up over the year with you, e.g. Have you got a light? Have you got the time? It’s a bit chilly, isn’t it? Each correct, reasonable reply gets a point.

    Where might you hear this? (identifying familiar contexts). Give pairs/groups bits of conversations and ask them to say when they would hear it and, if appropriate, who might be speaking, e.g.Last orders, please (in the pub/the barman) Can I see your boarding card, please? ( at the airport/customs or airline staff). A variation of this activity would be: What’s the topic of conversation? based on snippets overheard.
  • Grammatical accuracy/vocabulary
    Spot the 5 mistakes. Take a short passage or story which is easy for students to read and contains familiar vocabulary and structures. Doctor the passage to include 4-5 common errors which students were making in the early weeks with you. Challenge pairs/small groups to find and correct the errors. Start telling the story/reading the passage around the class but allow students to shout “Error alert” if they feel something needs improving This might be confusions in tense usage/missing out auxiliaries/misusing modals/false friends etc.
  • Fluency/social English
    Dialogue challenge: Give a list of familiar situations covered. Students are challenged in pairs or groups of 3 to build a short dialogue to illustrate one situation of their choice. Students perform dialogues then change groups and choose another situation.
    See the tips on using improvisations and improvisations in the tips archive for this year.


By Clare Lavery

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