Laurie Clarcq on Assessment

The Era of Testing is upon us. Hopefully, it implodes sooner than later. Laurie, in the recent standards discussion here, said this – I repeat it here so we can have it at our fingertips as a new category:
1.  In hundreds of years, not one human being has been able to create an evaluation system that ensured that any other human being acquired a language better and/or faster.   EVER.
Evaluation systems have NOTHING to do with acquisition.
What we actually do know about acquisition is that it cannot be manipulated very well externally.
What we can do is create an ideal-as-possible environment for acquisition emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physiologically.  Then…feed people language in digestible chunks so that their brains can acquire it as they will.    I think we know more about what interferes with acquisition than what elicits acquisition.
2.  What evaluation CAN do, is let us know what pieces of the language students have acquired and what they are skilled enough, and comfortable enough, to demonstrate.
3.  What evaluation is too often USED FOR is to divide students into categories, to provide justification for the sale of materials, to arbitrarily judge and rank students, teachers, programs and districts.
Too often, as teachers, we spend enormous amounts of time and energy trying to create, or adapt, or work with evaluation systems so that our students are not harmed in the process.
I know that I am a cynic and a rebel on this topic.   But I believe that there is no system out there that does any good for us, or for our students, no matter how much our “teacher brains” love those systems.
Keep evaluation to a minimum.  Use it to evaluate if you need to go narrower and deeper.  Use it to evaluate how compelling your material is.  Use it to evaluate the comprehensibility of everything you use.
Use a little of it to showcase your students.
Then, let it go….let it go…let it go….
with love,



Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

Jeffrey Sachs was asked what the difference between people in Norway and in the U.S. was. He responded that people in Norway are happy and

CI and the Research (cont.)

Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could

Research Question

I got a question: “Hi Ben, I am preparing some documents that support CI teaching to show my administrators. I looked through the blog and

We Have the Research

A teacher contacted me awhile back. She had been attacked about using CI from a team leader. I told her to get some research from



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben