In order to place an English Language Learner in the appropriate EL level, you have to conduct an assessment. The assessment I conducted on Jason was the SOLOM and the LASSM. The purpose of the SOLOM is to subjectively assess a student’s oral proficiency in the English language. This test measures the student in five different categories. The categories are comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar. Each category is measure on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being the low end of the scale. After you measure each category, you add up the scores and check a scale to see what level the ELL is at. The purpose of the LASSAM is to assess both the oral and the written proficiency of a student in English. The LASSM rates kids on a 5 level scale based on work samples and oral speech. The levels are preproduction, early production I, early production II, speech emergence, Intermediate fluency and redesignated. Once you find the LASSM score you use the conversion matrix to determine the ELD level. The overall function of the SOLOM/LASSM is to place ELL in the proper ELD level.
Overall Jason had good oral skills. On the comprehension section of the SOLOM, I assigned Jason a four. When I asked him questions he seemed to understand what I was saying for the most part. There were a few questions that he seemed confused about and I had to clarify. For example, I asked him to tell me about what he did over the weekend. Jason responded by saying “rode bikes”. I had to prod him a little and ask him to explain if there were other things he did too. On the fluency section, I also assigned Jason a four. He answered every question quite fluently, there was a few times when I noticed him searching for the right word to say. For example, Jason started to tell me the storyline of his favorite movie, transformers 2. Throughout his narration he stopped a few times to find the right word and even asked me to assist him. On the vocabulary section, I assigned Jason a 3. He tended to respond to my questions with one word answers. When Jason shared some narratives with me, I had a hard time understanding his word usage. On the pronunciation section, I assigned Jason a 4. His words were clearly English but he still had a very slight Spanish accent. This was a category that I felt was more at the border of 4 and 5, but because I felt that there was more room for improvement in Jason’s pronunciation I assigned him a 4. And lastly, on the grammar section, I assigned Jason a 3. He tended to mix up verb tenses when he was explaining a story to me, which caused me to really have to pay attention to his speech to understand his meaning. However, I do want to note that I only was able to acquire a narrative from Jason about 2 times during my entire interview. So this categories score could change if I was able to conduct a second interview. When I added up the scores in each category, Jason got an 18 which put him in the Level 4 category.
For the LASSM, I had Jason do a writing sample for me. I asked Jason to write me a paragraph about a picture I showed him. Jason was only able to write me a one long run-on sentence. In this sentence Jason is missing words and proper punctuation. I also asked Jason to explain the picture to me, and he did so using two or three word phrases. From looking at both the way he communicated to me orally and how he communicated to me through his writing, I assigned Jason to the third LASSM level- Early production II. To find Jason’s overall ELD level I used the conversion matrix and it came out to Level 3.
A key thing I noticed during this interview was Jason’s behavior towards me. He seemed very shy and unsure about the whole situation. When he spoke to me he seemed to avoid eye contact and often just supplied me with one word answers. Throughout the interview I tried my hardest to make Jason feel more at ease. I believe that toward the end of the interview, Jason was more open with me and he gave me a few narratives with which I could try to grasp his English proficiency. I definitely have to take into account that Jason could score much better with an individual that he was more familiar with. I tried to be cognizant of this fact when I was scoring the SOLOM/LASSM, and I feel that I did take that into account with my final score.
There are a variety of things that I can take from this assessment to help me plan my future lesson. The first thing is to build a comfortable environment that encourages open communication. When I went in to observe Jason in class I noticed he was a very eager participant in classroom discussion. However, during the assessment he was very shy and reserved. Therefore, I want to help Jason to communicate more by having an environment in which he feels comfortable expressing himself.
The second thing I can take from this assessment is that Jason needs help developing sentences and paragraphs. When I create my lesson I will include a lot of sentence helping aids. One thing I want to do is to create a tree map with words and phrases. These words and phrases can later be used as a tool for a paragraph writing activity.
Jason mentioned to me that his least favorite subject was history and science. Instead of catering to what he likes, I think I would like to try to help him learn techniques to aid him in his difficult classes. History has a lot of reading and writing, and these are both areas that Jason struggles with. For the lesson I’m going to teach, I’m going to include a reading passage that includes a few words that may be new to Jason. Then I will read through the passage with the students stopping at these specific words to help them create a definition from the sentence context.
I think conducting this assessment was highly beneficial for me, because it helped me understand the individual needs Jason has. It also allowed to understand the assessment process and to remember that the SOLOM/LASSM is completely subjective.