Like it or not more and more of student learning and assessments are done on the computer. In the short term, this is in large part due to virtual learning. More long term though this is still the trend. Many standardized assessments students take are given digitally. This includes the WIDA language assessment.
It is important to give students the opportunity to practice navigating digital ESL assessments before they are expected to take a high stakes one. This will allow them to become familiar with digital testing vocabulary and how to use a computer or other device.
Assessing Students During Virtual Learning
There are added challenges in giving assessments as a part of virtual learning. For some students, you might not end up with a true reflection of their knowledge but the information you gain is better than nothing. Short and easy to use assessments are helpful. So are assessments that are part of the same digital platform that students are familiar with. Before students take an assessment it is a good idea to model how to answer the questions. This will help students become familiar with the technical requirements of each assessment and give you a better indication of their language level.
Digital ESOL Assessments
I have created Digital ESL Assessments using Google Slides and Forms. If you are using Google Classroom you can assign each student their own copy of these assessments. You can also use other digital platforms such as Seesaw with some of the assessments. Unfortunately, the movable pieces do not convert but you can have students circle the correct answer in this case.
Kindergarten Language Assessments
I suggest giving the kindergarten assessments one-on-one. This will allow you to read aloud directions and help if students are confused with a digital assessment.
For the writing assessment, I suggest that if possible you have students use a piece of paper or whiteboard to write their answer. The digital assessment does have space for them to type their response.
1st-5th Language Assessments
The reading, listening, and writing assessments can be administered to a group of students. You can assign the assessments to students in Google classroom.
These reading assessments are created in Google Forms. I chose this format because it allows them to be self-grading.
The writing assessments have two levels for each prompt. The first level has students look at pictures and type words and then sentences. The second level has them look at a set of pictures and fill out a graphic organizer. Then they answer a writing prompt about the pictures. Especially for younger students, you can also have them look at the writing prompt on the computer and write their answers on paper or a whiteboard. This is also helpful for students that do not have strong typing skills.
For the listening assessments, students click on an audio button and listening to a recording along with a question. Then they move the answer into the answer box.
Read about additional tips for preparing students for language testing.