Look at what has been achieved!

Already we are in March and work has not slowed down for our Assess team. The Assess database now has full collections of illustrated worksheets, colourful flashcards with images and text, exams and rubrics to mark those exams.  A collection of images has been prepped and finalised by the partners.  All of this is now ready to be uploaded to the online exam tool which is currently being coded by the Spanish partner.  

Regardless of CoVid-19 restrictions, our meetings have taken place bi-weekly online.  We are hoping that restrictions will be lifted soon so that we can hold our Teaching, Training, Learning (TTL) event in Athens from the 30th of August to the 3rd of September 2021.

Regarding dissemination, our efforts have paid off with our Facebook page receiving 557 likes.  A three-minute explainer video has been produced with subtitles in all partner languages.  The video will be used to disseminate the project to all partner networks. You can watch the video here

Fighting for a quality education with ASSESS

The beginning of 2021 has been a bit disconcerting, the continuous incidents happening all over the world as well as the coming of the third wave of COVID-19 is making our lives different and difficult. All these changes show us that the world must be prepared for a different future, and this starts with our education. Quality education is one of the global goals for sustainable development in Unite 2030, since it is the basis for the prosperity of everyone. The project ASSESS works for getting an innovation in the way of assessing students.

The Online Exam Creator, which is our main product, is being developed by Inercia Digital along with the collaboration of Learnmera Oy. While this product is being created, the rest of partners are working creating rubrics for the assessment of all the exams that will be available in the OEC for teachers. This tool will let teachers have the opportunity to have exams, worksheets, scales, images and games for using in their lessons. 

The partners will also create a guide for teachers explaining how to use this tool, moreover, a number of 30 teachers will be trained to use this tool. If you are an English teacher from Spain, Finland, Portugal, Turkey, Greece or Germany we invite you to participate in this innovative project.

ASSESS – BLOG / JANUARY 2021

With 2021 finally here, we wanted to take a moment and share a few thoughts concerning the assessment of the productive skills (speaking and writing). This is a quite complex task.

There are so many traits and competences that can be assessed: fluency, accuracy, complexity of language, vocabulary richness and/or range, acquisition of specific vocabulary, language chunks or grammar structures, content/ideas and details provided, sequencing or organization of ideas… and, how to measure all these traits/competences? How wide should each trait be for L1 or L2 learners at different stages of proficiency? Should we prioritize competences in the assessment of learner proficiency or should they all be weighted in the same way? What type of tasks should be used to assess learners’ speaking and writing proficiency? How often should productive skills be assessed?

The answers to all these questions are essential to the development of any effective approach to the assessment of proficiency in the productive skills. However, with so many approaches that exist, teachers often feel confused and frustrated when it comes to evaluate English Foreign Language Learners and create effective and valid rating scales. 

Taking into account teachers’ difficulties and needs, the project ASSESS aims to define innovative methods and tools for the assessment of EFL learners. On the basis of approaches that already exist, the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), a range of information sources and data that was collected and analysed through questionnaires addressed to teachers, the project ASSESS will provide a handbook to suggest a usable scale construction model for application or adaptation in assessing speaking and writing exams, easily and in a reliable way. The objective is to contribute to the improvement of teachers’ skills in preparing reliable rating scales, allowing them to give a trait specific feedback according to different levels of achievement. Providing constructive feedback on speaking and writing (strengths and needs) is essential for helping students improve their skills.

In addition, in the web portal, speaking and writing exams will be complemented with an example of assessment scale ready to use or adapt.

We founded ASSESS project to help teachers find innovative tools for assessing English Foreign Language Learners. Our mission is being realized. We are eager to bring inspiration and innovation to foster good practices and facilitate the evaluation process.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT IN DISTANCE EDUCATION

  The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut across the world.Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the class.As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology.Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in the usage of distance learning environments and e-evaluation techniques in education. It is believed that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and online education will eventually become an integral component of school education. Even after coronavirus, traditional offline learning and e-learning will go hand by hand. There are, however, challenges to overcome.

 Important studies and projects are being carried out in order to make distance education effective and efficient.However, there are deficiencies related to e-EVALUATION, which is one of the sub-components of Distance Education. Teachers all around the world are having difficulty in keeping up with this new process.The unplanned and rapid move to online learning – with no training and little preparation – has resulted in a poor user experience in assessment.Teachers are sometimes having to use unfamiliar technologies while at the same time figuring out how to effectively instruct students who may not be very engaged in an online environment. Similarly, students and their families may be frustrated by the technology and the demands created by Distance Education.To cope with these challenges, formative assessment , an ongoing process used by teachers during learning and teaching to provide feedback of student learning to improve student understanding of intended learning outcomes and support them to become self-directed learners,is a recommended solution.

 Therefore,the aim of ASSESS project is to identify a sustainable online education and assessment platform in which English Language Teachers can find ready and quality content on the basis of curriculum and evaluate their students constantly with Formative Assessment strategies by interacting on the platform.

To get more information watch our video! 

Motivating and Engaging Students During the Pandemic

Covid-19 pandemic has forced many students to home-school around the world. In many countries, schools are closed, extracurricular activities are canceled and big gatherings are not allowed. Both learning and interaction with peers have to take place online and that switch to virtual sphere has varying impacts on students. 

In order to shed a light on learners’ experience during the pandemic, Cambridge University Press has conducted a survey that reached out to English language learners from various countries around the world. According to the survey results, “Together with time management and communication, learners felt that keeping up their motivation under the new conditions was among their top 3 challenges”.  [Read More].

Motivation is an issue not only for the learners, but also for the teachers; motivating their students during the pandemic is one of the biggest challenges that education professionals experience at the moment.

The top three suggestions for motivating students in online learning, given by the language researcher and writer Dr. Heike Krüsemann, includes giving students feasible goals and opportunities to succeed;  increasing students’ “say” in the learning process; and encouraging peer-to-peer as well as learner-teacher communication [Read More]. This video, a talk made with Dr. Krüsemann, also gives tips on online teaching, as well as motivating and engaging students.

ASSESSING EFL STUDENTS

ASSESS Project

ASSESS Project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, as a Strategic Partnership for the Development of Innovation in School Education. It aims to define innovative methods and tools for the assessment of EFL learners. Its main goal is to bring new approaches to assessment and contribute to development of evaluation consciousness. It also wants to support restoration of assessment system and share good practices among European countries.

Progress of the Project’s Intellectual Outputs

Consortium partners have been working on the intellectual outputs of the project in the past months and have successfully completed the following deliverables:

Intellectual Output 1: Report on Curriculum

All partners created a database of stakeholders relevant for the implementation, and mapped the Curriculum in their respective countries, for the purpose of arriving at the Common Curriculum.

Intellectual Output 2: Database for Online Exam Online Creator

Each partner in the consortium created 50 Tests for 4 topics each i.e. 200 Tests and contributed to the database for Online Exam Creator leading to a database of 1200 tests.

Intellectual Output 3: Rating Scale

The Partner from Greece created a Handbook for Assessments by elaborating the process of constructing scales for Evaluation. The efforts have gone in simplifying the complex and multi-dimensional testing process.

Intellectual Output 4: Online Exam Creator

Currently, the consortium partner from Spain, Inercia Digital, is working on the Online Exam Creator.

Intellectual Output 5: Teachers’ Guidebook

In the coming months, after the completion of the Online Exam Creator, the consortium will proceed to the final intellectual output, the Teacher’s Guidebook.

“ASSESS” Project-ASSESSING EFL STUDENTS EVALUATION-ASSESSEMENT HANDBOOK & LEΑRNING TOOLKIT

The project ASSESS aims to define innovative methods and tools for the assessment of EFL learners and to bring new approaches to this procedure in European countries. 

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One of the major outputs of this project is the development of a practical Handbook for Evaluation and Assessment Methods for speaking and writing skills. The output’s aim is to help English teachers to improve their professional skills on preparing rating scales for their exams. The Handbook will be ready by the end of November. 

Moreover, as we are adapting to a new reality due to the pandemic of Covid-19, remote learning is becoming a necessity due to closure of schools during lockdown periods. Digital technologies and distance teaching and learning have become popular educational tools and methods.

To facilitate the learning & teaching process during these unprecedented circumstances we decided to adapt and upload the materials prepared by the ASSESS partners on the LEΑRNING TOOLKIT: Action Synergy’s eLearning platform. More specifically, numerous exams/exercises (vocabulary, reading, writing, listening & speaking) prepared by the ASSESS partnership for A1 & A2 Level EFL Students are now available on https://actionelearning.eu. The chapters covered include:  the weather, shopping, sports, my city/town. The students have the option to read the text or to listen to the audio before completing the exams/exercises that include “fill in the gaps”, “click & drag”, “true or false” open type answers, etc.

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Database for the Online Exam Creator nearing completion

Our Assess project is steaming ahead regardless of CoVid-19 restrictions. The partners from Portugal, Turkey, Finland, Greece, Germany and Spain have each completed 200 exams involving vocabulary, reading, writing, listening, and speaking, a total of 1200 exams. The exercises were built on specific vocabulary and the listening exams will, this autumn be recorded into audio files for the project. The voiceover talents of Megan and Luke Britton, native Brits, will be used for the recordings. The Finnish partner’s audio files have already been completed and the other partner’s files are being prepared. This will then see the completion of the exams for the Intellectual Output 2: Database for the Online Exam Creator.


Our dissemination efforts are expanding and the Assess Facebook page now has 118 likes. The partners will continue adding more interesting items to the Facebook Page to keep it lively and engaging.

Facilitating teachers the Back To School

September has brought the reopening of schools after the lockdown in each country. New measures in each country and the uncertainty of how to organise the classrooms maintaining thousands of children safe are making parents, educational professionals and high positions of authorities anxious.

With the beginning of this new period, the partners of the project ASSESS have had a meeting to guide the development of our project. Despite the impossibility of having a face to face meeting, the project has not been paused in any moment. Now we are carrying out questionnaires about the assessment of speaking and writing skills for teachers.

We are aware of the loads of work that teachers are having daily and of their needs of having their lives facilitated. Because of that, our objective is to give birth to the Online Exam Creator that will provide teachers with some exams to assess English as Foreign Language in the classrooms of Primary Education.

The Online Exam Creator will be developed during the end of this year and the beginning of 2021. Once developed, it will be proved by teachers with their students. If you are a teacher and you want to participate or you are interested in having more information about the project, contact with us in projects@inerciadigital.com 

The new normality with ASSESS

The new normality after COVID-19 is changing our day-to-day. The way in which we do the shopping, we go to a restaurant or we meet someone is different. In the same way, the way of teaching in schools will be different. To bring in a new way of teaching you need tools, methodologies and adaptability. This need for change in the classroom shows us that that changes are possible and necessary.

English is one of the most important languages due to the number of English speaking people and to its use in the professional world. Because of its importance, it is studied compulsory from the beginning of a student’s education. To get a successful learning of English, students must learn all the skills necessary: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

ASSESS project has the main objective of introducing a change in the evaluation of English as Foreign Language in General Education. To facilitate teachers the correct evaluation of communicatives skills, which are speaking and listening skills. Therefore, the partnership is working in the development of the platform, Online Exam Creator, which will be an useful tool for teachers that will allow them a new way of evaluating the foreign language in students.

In spite of the uncertainty about the opening of schools and universities or the new way of teaching in each country. The most important is that students continue improving their educational life and their learning is not damaged. Because of this, from Inercia Digital we continue teleworking in our Erasmus + projects will all our partners in order to keep them functioning and to improve the quality of European education.