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Assessment and grading of ESL students

Assessment is the word used for the evaluation of an ESL student's progress in learning English. The table below shows how we assess the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing, plus grammar and vocabulary. The formal assessment is usually by means of tests at the end of each term; the informal assessment is based on the day-to-day observation by the ESL teacher of your child’s performance in ESL classwork and homework.

  FORMAL INFORMAL
Speaking speeches, oral presentations, individual interviews asking and responding to questions, participation in group or class discussions
Listening showing evidence of understanding recorded material or videos understanding questions and instructions, showing ability to follow oral presentations
Reading various reading comprehension exercises showing evidence of understanding texts read in ESL and other classes
Writing extended writing tasks in various genres short writing tasks, analysis of other writing done in ESL and mainstream subjects
Grammar tests of grammatical knowledge analysis of the grammar of written and spoken language
Vocabulary various types of vocabulary test daily short vocabulary quizzes

At the end of the semester your child will receive a written report on his or her progress and current English proficiency. The report contains a number grade which represents a summary of this progress. We use a 7-1 system at FIS, with 7 as the highest and 1 as the lowest grade. The semester grade is based roughly equally on end of semester formal assessments and on graded homework and other assessments set during the term.

Students with very limited proficiency in English on joining FIS are awarded a (P)ass or (F)ail grade instead of the normal 7-1 grade. [More information about the Pass/Fail grading system.]

The assessment of your child’s progress in English is not only based on work done in ESL lessons. An essential part of the profile that we build up on your child’s developing ability in the language is derived from his or her performance in the regular subject lessons. The assessment of this performance is based on informal observations by the subject teacher and on inspection of samples of work in the various subjects. The child’s performance in subject tests, and the degree to which results have been achieved independently of extra ESL or parental support, is a further important part of this assessment profile.

Your child’s self-evaluation of his or her strengths and weaknesses is the final part of our assessment process.


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