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Evaluation of Instruments used in the Diagnosis of Language Competencies

Background and aims

Scientific supervision of the evaluation of instruments used in the diagnosis of language competencies in pre-school and at the primary and lower-secondary education level

Zurich's Ministry of Education (department for educational planning and office for compulsory education) has implemented a practical trial of several instruments used in the diagnosis of language competencies in pre-school and at primary and lower-secondary education level. Approximately 150 teachers from the cities of Zurich and Winterthur, as well as several rural municipalities in the canton of Zurich, have volunteered to participate in the trial.
The following instruments will be tested:

  • 'KiDiT' observation form (implemented by regular teachers at pre-school level)
  • 'Sprachgewandt I': pre-school and year 1 (implemented by teachers for 'Deutsch als Zweitsprache' [DaZ]) -->sprachgewandt 1
  • 'Sprachgewandt II': year 2 - year 6 (implemented by DaZ teachers)
  • 'Sprachgewandt III': year 7 - year 9 (implemented by DaZ teachers)

While 'KiDiT' represents a non-compulsory aid for the observation and competency assessment of pre-school children, 'Sprachgewandt' takes a more mandatory role with respect to the eligibility and allocation of support resources in the area of German as a second language (Deutsch als Zweitsprache' [DaZ]).

Questions

KiDiT is one of a great number of observation instruments that can be used at pre-school level. In addition to other things, the following issues will be investigated:

  • Are the handbook and the explanations in the online version suitable for the safe and competent implementation of the instrument?
  • With what objectives and within what framework is KiDiT used?
  • How practical is the instrument considered to be (handling, effort needed etc.)?
  • How does it interact with other procedures, most particularly with the 'Cooperative Assessment Meeting'
  • What results does KiDiT provide? To what further uses can these results be put (with regard to targeted adjustments to lessons, specific support indications, illuminating and constructive recommendations for the common views of parents and teachers, screening function for children whose first language is not German etc.)?

Can knowledge gained from KiDiT be used for cooperative support planning by specialists and school-based special needs teachers or specialist staff in the field of pedagogic-therapeutic measures and DaZ?
How will the data be stored and managed? How will data privacy be ensured?   
 
The instruments 'Sprachgewandt I-III' consist of an observation form and a current language assessment instrument. Teachers should be able to use this test instrument unaided to determine the current language level of children and any necessary support the children may require when they enter pre-school or primary school.
In addition to other things, the following issues will be investigated

  • Are the explanations in the handbook suitable for the safe and competent implementation of the instrument?
  • Does the oral skills part of the observation form serve as a primary aid in deciding whether the instrument needs to be applied?
  • How practical is the instrument considered to be (handling, effort needed etc.)?
  • Does the instrument deliver useful and clear accounts of the current language development of a child? Does it present an overview of the current language development of a child?
  • Do results obtained by the instrument offer specific and clear indications to the kind of language support needed by the child?  
  • Do results obtained by the instrument deliver precise accounts of whether a child with German as a second language requires specific language support?

Methods

Firstly, a wide-ranging, web-based questioning of DaZ teachers and teachers who take responsibility in class for the relevant children will be carried out. Following analysis, knowledge, hypotheses and ambiguities will be discussed in verified hearings. The contracting body will receive regular progress reports in order to allow careful planning of the instrument's widespread introduction.

Facts

Duration
08/2011-10/2012
No.
4_16

Project Management

Kontakt

Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at]hfh.ch zfe