Strength-based approaches to evaluating literacy and language learning

Looking for new ways to assess literacy and language learning that focus on students’ strengths, instead of their weaknesses? So was I. I started digging, found some resources and compiled them into an annotated bibliography, that’s just been archived on ERIC.

Alternative and Asset-Based Evaluation and Assessment in Language Teaching and Literacy: Resources for Research, Classroom Instruction and Evaluation of Language Competence

Full text report available from ERIC. (Release date: June 1, 2011):

This annotated bibliography surveys key resources and research related specifically to language learning and literacy. It focuses on resources that will be valuable to teaching professionals and researchers who specialize in the areas of foreign and second language teaching, language arts and first and second language literacy.

Significant theoretical research and applied classroom practice has been done in the field of alternative assessment, and specifically in area of using portfolios and e-portfolios (Barrett, 2010; Brear, 2007; Dominguez, 2011; JISC, 2008; Meuller, 2011; North Carolina Regional Educational Laboratory, n.d.; Shao-Ting & Heng-Tsung).

The practice of using portfolios for second and foreign language teaching has increased in popularly, with an increased understanding and adoption of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe, 2001). Almost simultaneously, there has been a rise in the use of similar frameworks in the field of literacy (Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, 2009; Literacy BC, n.d.)

However, there is little collaboration between those who work in literacy and those who teach second and modern languages (Eaton, 2010).

This annotated bibliography is an attempt to collect, select and share resources that may be relevant, helpful and useful to professionals working in both the second language and literacy sectors. The deeper values that guide this work are predicated on the belief that researchers and practitioners working in both fields have much in common and would benefit greatly from increased dialogue and shared resources. A bibliography is included.

Related posts:

Using Portfolios for Effective Learning

27 Great Resources on Using Portfolios for Language Learning and Literacy


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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