I am learning to write blogs and I am not very good at it. It is not a genre that I learned in school. I never wrote a blog in university. I don’t teach blog writing. But the Corporate Communications Office at my university asked me to write several blogs. The only instructions I got were to write “your professional opinion about something related to your field.”
Yes, this relates to teaching English.
Recently I spent three days with other educational leaders in an invitation-only seminar organized by the National Education Agency (NSA) regarding the curriculum and assessment of foreign language for high school students. The foreign language curriculum (including English) was updated two years ago. Now, the National Education Agency called on experts to help us align create assessment tasks and to align rubrics to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scale. These important conversations help assessors consider the validity and reliability of assessments. Validity and reliability are especially important for standardized national exams. Test developers aim to design test tasks for young people that are realistic, modern, and motivating.
Here is where blogs come in.
Several test developers in our group proposed to include a blog writing task on the high-stakes, standardized, national English language exam. This was controversial, to say the least.
Other test developers were asking good questions. Their questions are:
What exactly is a blog?
What are the essential elements of a blog? For example, does a blog need an introduction or paragraphs?
How can we assess blogs? Is there a rubric for judging the quality of a blog?
These are good questions.
English teachers are already creating blog writing tasks in English classes and giving feedback to the students on the quality of their English usage. But how can a teacher rate or assess or score the quality of a blog? Won’t any score be subject to the teachers’ opinion of how well the blog communicated the message?
Writing blogs for homework, formative, low-stakes assignments is one thing. Including blogs in a national, high-stakes, standardized exam is quite another thing.
So, I am calling on you, my good teachers, to help us!
First, how do you assess blogs in your English language classes?
Second, do you think blogs should be included in high-stakes, standardized, national exams? I look forward to your responses to this blog!
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