Unit seven - Preparing ESL-friendly worksheets and tests

Unit goals

At the end of the unit the participants will have:

Ways to increase comprehensibility

More detailed advice | Research on textual difficulty

Discussion and questions

Participants analysed texts that they and the presenter brought to the workshop, and discussed ways to improve their comprehensibility.

A participant commented that she did not have the time to submit all the work she gives out to such intense scrutiny. Here is a summary of the presenter's reply:

"No teacher should feel inadequate for failing to scrutinize all work in the way that has been practised in this workshop. However, it is reasonable to expect careful scrutiny of high-stakes homework or tests. It is important that ESL students have a fair chance to show what they know and are not impeded in this by the unnecessary incomprehensibility of the texts they have to read. The ESL department is more than happy, as part of its support service, to advise on the linguistic demands of mainstream worksheets/tests, and, if necessary, suggest modifications to make them more ESL-friendly.

Teachers might also wish to give students sufficient time in class to read through homework worksheets so that they can ask if there is something they don't understand."