Continuous assessment as described by Carol
Puhl gathers information about the students from different sources throughout the course.
Puhl contrasts continuous assessment with more traditional forms of testing and provides a
variety of tools teachers can employ to implement successful assessment programs. Santos
and Baack describe portfolio assessment, showing how portfolios can foster a positive
classroom atmosphere while encouraging reflective activities in the classroom. The
relationship between testing and teaching is investigated further by Irvine-Niakaris, who
describes a new standardized competency examination. The particularly thorny issue of oral
assessment is addressed by Chaudhary, Hingle and Linington. Chaudhary focuses on features
of spoken English which affect intelligibility, while Hingle and Linington describe a
humane approach to testing childrens oral production. De Lopez, Marchi, and
Arreaza-Coyle outline a taxonomy for classifying and developing tests in reading, while
Rand advocates turning the tables so that tests test the teacher as much as the students.
Our Teacher Resources page reviews several books that teachers who wish to delve further
in this area may find useful.
The subtheme of cats is brought to us by Cuņado and Sally, who explain how to teach
phonetics and dramatize a poem using Cats and The Owl and the
Pussycat. This same theme is picked up in our Idiom and Lighter Side pages. In order
to be fair to dog lovers, we have allowed a few dog phrases to creep in as well.
The theme of this issue and solicitation of articles is due to the unique efforts of
Dolores Parker, who managed to edit the Forum and contact contributors while juggling a
myriad of duties in Washington. We owe Dee our deepest gratitude for her creativity,
enthusiasm, and knowledge of the field, which she unflaggingly mined to our benefit.
Future issues will explore content-based instruction, another way of making classrooms
more relevant to students needs. We welcome articles in this area, and hope to have
the Summer issue devoted to drama in the classroom in your hands by July. We plan on
offering a new section in the July issue, entitled Civic Education, which will include
activities promoting civic education. Since we are not receiving questions on English
grammar, we assume that our readers no longer see the usefulness of that page, which will
be dropped in our next issue. However, if we receive a flurry of letters, we will be happy
to resuscitate the Q & A page and expand our letters page, which depends on input from
our readers. We plan on expanding our teacher resource page as the flood of useful books
appearing on the market warrants more space. The Forum occupies a unique niche in the
field in which readers can learn about developments in TEFL/TESL and education in the
United States while informing our international readership of developments in their
countries. We welcome your letters, articles, questions, and suggestions, which make our
periodical a true Forum.