Student Assessment Specialists

September 22, 2011 at 4:11 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Class, ESOL, Family Learning, Tutoring, Volunteers | Comments Off on Student Assessment Specialists
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I’m so proud of our Student Assessment Specialists (SASs)!  The last two weeks have been a flurry of back to school training and registrations with the whole team standing ready!   What is a Student SASs and what do they do?   A SAS is volunteer tester for our classroom program, and they use the Best Plus Oral Proficiency Test to help us place students and track their progress.  Our SASs are busy with test administrator training and recertification as we begin the classroom registrations.  In the last week and half, I trained 25 new Best Plus Administrators from all over VA (7 for LCNV) and recertified 19 others!  With the new school year well underway, valid certification is imperative for our funders at the Virginia Department of Education to accept our reports of student progress.  We test students at registrations and again just before the end of each session to track their speaking, listening and understanding of English.

Belle, our Director of Volunteers, has great systems and intuition for placing volunteers.  Many interested volunteers call her with the passion and talents to volunteer, but might only have selective availability.  Often these kinds of volunteers are great candidates for SAS if they have good clear speaking skills, good hearing, and the time for training.  Call Belle if you are interested in future training opportunities or would like to learn more about how it works!

Now a special portion of my blog is dedicated to our SAS team:  Thank you all so much for all your hard work.  Here are a few special messages about new materials available online, please ask me if you have any questions:

New Developing Oral Proficiency online professional development module now available

If you haven’t yet visited the new Developing Oral Proficiency of Adults Learning English free online professional development module at, you may be pleased to learn about the many free resources you can find there. This self-paced module has 5 main sections: Background information on teaching adult ESL, Elements of oral language proficiency, Language assessment, Instructional activities, and Resources for next steps. These sections are designed to be read and followed in sequence, although users are free to browse through the site using the navigation buttons. This interactive online module uses multimedia to provide practitioner resources including:

–          Student Performance Levels (SPLs) Audio Sampler, featuring speech samples of adult ESL students at different proficiency levels

–          BEST Plus video clips illustrating features of listening comprehension, language complexity, and communication

–          Downloadable articles, classroom materials, briefs, and related resources included in the sidebars throughout the module

–          Instructional activities targeted specifically to beginning and advanced proficiency levels, separated into listening comprehension, language complexity, and communication

–          And for our ESL teachers, they have downloadable Instructional Activity packets

Thank you all, again!

Katie Beckman, Program Assistant


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