In order to know the appropriate English Language Learning level that an English Language Learner should be placed in, it is prudent to assess the student’s performance on various categories of language development. One of the assessment methods used in such cases is the Student Oral Language Observation Matrix (most commonly abbreviated SOLOM). SOLOM’s main purpose is to assess the oral proficiency of a student in the English language. The categories in which the student is assessed on include comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, grammar, and pronunciation. Each category of the assessment is measured on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is the lowest a person can score while 5 is the highest. Each of the scores a student obtains from each of the categories is then added to see the level that the English Language Learner is at.
James, the student that I assessed using SOLOM had good English oral skills. He also had remarkable comprehension abilities which earned him a score of four in the comprehension section of the Student Oral Language Observation Matrix. I asked James questions, which he seemed to comprehend for the most part of the lesson. However, on a number of occasions, James seemed to be confused while answering some of the questions I was asking him. For instance, when I inquired from him what he had been doing over the weekend, he simply said “riding bicycles”. I had to inquire more from him with regard to his activities over the weekend. My line of questioning was geared towards finding out if he participated in any other activities over the weekend. James also scored a four in the fluency section of the assessment. Yet again, he had some trouble answering some questions; as I noticed he was looking for the appropriate words to use. This was when he was telling a story of the best moments he had with his siblings while on a holiday in Barcelona. A number of times, he stopped and asked for my help. That is the reason I gave him a three in the vocabulary section of the assessment. His word usage was not easily understandable and in most cases liked to give one word answers to questions I asked. In Grammar, I gave him a three. This is because he had problems with tenses. His tenses were mixed up on various occasions when he explained or gave me stories. Lastly, I gave him a four in pronunciation. This is mainly because his pronunciation seemed to have Spanish elements. In total, Jason scored 18. This means that he is on level 4.
Assessment is very crucial in any second language learning or teaching program. This is because both students and teachers need to have updated information regarding the progress, abilities, as well as the development of the students in the particular language. In order to have up to date information on all these, summative assessment is the answer. This is because it acts as an information gathering process. There are so many forms of summative assessment; which is sometimes called assessment of learning. Summative learning is used in the determination of the grades, as well as, the future directions that an instructor has for students. Normally, these tests may come at the end of a learning period. Some of the forms that summative assessments take include written products, performance tasks, standardized tests, tests, and oral products such as a “tell a story” task.
I had planned my lesson to assess the capabilities of my students on various categories such as oral skills, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, as well as fluency. Fluency and vocabulary use was tested for using the “tell a story” part of my lesson plan. My students were required to come up with a story and tell it to the class. The story’s subject was predetermined and given to the students. Where students were stuck; for instance, where a student found it hard to select an appropriate word to use during the process of telling a story, the instructor chipped in with the word. At the end of it all, the instructor both ended up having built a relationship which improved the level of students in class; which was helpful in future lessons and language development for all the students in the class. Tests; both summative and formative are very crucial because they help in doing various things for the people concerned; like tracking progress in a class, diagnosis of the strengths and weaknesses of students, and so forth. As such, SOLOM is very important and should be used more often.