Summary of the #teslONchat Alternative Assessment discussion with Marlaina Riggio

Image Source: teslontario

Post by Marlaina Riggio and Vanessa Nino

On June 29, 2021 we gathered on twitter to discuss alternative assessments and interactive activities for ELT. The guest moderator of the evening was Marlaina Riggio (@MarlainaTweets). You can also connect with Marlaina through LinkedIn

Marlaina Riggio began her love affair with teaching over 10 years ago. After completing her Bachelors in French Studies in Toronto, Canada, she spent a year abroad teaching English as a Second Language to learners of all ages in Seoul, South Korea. She then went on to pursue her Master’s in Education to further her understanding of second language teaching and acquisition. Currently, Marlaina is both a full-time English professor at La Cité and a teacher trainer in the Teachers of English as a Second/Foreign Language program at Algonquin College. Since then, she has been an integral part of several curriculum development initiatives, including the creation and implementation of six new hybrid ESL courses and one elective TES/FL course. Additionally, she has integrated and developed various features of Brightspace, including an online English community for faculty members in order to facilitate communication and sharing of resources. She has also had the pleasure of conducting several pedagogical workshops in Canada, Mexico, and China. Marlaina’s teaching style nourishes the hidden strengths of her learners while challenging them to reach beyond their perceived limitations. You will leave her classes feeling inspired and confident.

These questions guided our 1-hour long chat:

  1. What is alternative assessment in ELT? 
  2. What has worked well for your classes in respect to alternative assessments?
  3. How do you evaluate students when using alternative assessments?
  4. Are there some activities that work best in smaller groups or larger groups?
  5. What are your favourite edTech tools to cultivate engagement? 

Read the Tweets of the evening on Twitter 

Reflection completed by Marlaina

  • Alternative assessments are a great way to engage learners, because it makes the content ‘more real’ for them. If you are able to involve your learners in the assessment development too, it’s an even better way to enhance their motivation in the course content.
  • Finding instructors with like-minded views on assessment is essential. You can collaborate and develop the assessment together and/or pilot it out with your learners together. This helps with validity and reliability of the assessment. 
  • Before developing any assessment, it’s important to look at the final objectives and work backwards. Ask yourself: What do I want to measure in my learners? Will this type assessment help me do this? These questions are vital in creating or reviewing the effectiveness of assessments, especially alternative ones. There is a lot more flexibility in the type of assessment, so sometimes it’s easy to get carried away…..and this might mean straying away from the overall purpose. 

Resources from chat

  • Beginner’s Direction activity using Google Slides
    • To make a copy of the activity go to File > Make a Copy.  
  • Kahoot, Quizlet, Wordwall, Google Suite

Join Us

 #teslONchat will be hosted on our Twitter page once a month starting again in September 2021. If you’re interested in sharing your passion or expertise in a specific topic please reach out to us on Twitter – @TESLOntario. 

You can also complete this form to express interest

Vanessa is the manager of TESL Ontario’s Twitter. Find Vanessa tweeting over @vnino23 


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