Practical Implications of Assessment with Young Japanese EFL LearnersPractical Implications of Assessment with Young Japanese EFL Learners Practical Implications of Assessment with Young Japanese EFL Learners
With the recent call in Japan for ‘Global Citizens’ and looking toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the Japanese Ministry of Education’s MEXT decision to implement English as a core subject for Elementary 5th and 6th graders commencing 2014 in principle may come as no surprise (MEXT, 2014). As a core subject assessment and evaluation of student’s progression will be an inevitable issue with the successful implementation of these classes therefore it may be theorized that readying students for the inevitability of assessment and evaluation prior to implementation of formal evaluation could prove beneficial if MEXT’s long term goals are to realized (Yoshida, 2009, 2011). The present study investigated the concepts of assessment and evaluation with reference to teaching and learning of English for young learners (YL) specifically early elementary school level of 6-8 years olds. An explanation of assessment and its utilization with regard to YL was offered along with a discussion of formative and summative assessment. The inappropriateness of formal evaluation for YL and the benefits of informal ongoing assessment for this age group was examined as well as considerations for future assessment methods for this this learning group offered. The development of an assessment tool for 6-11 year olds was presented as well as results of a pilot test of this instrument (n=23). The tool was easily administered found to be motivational as all students successfully completed the assessments within the allowed time. One weakness of this tool may be the assumption of student’s ability to identify sight words, which in future designs of this tool will be an important issue to address.