Our methods of assessment and grading in the ALG Program differ somewhat from traditional methods. In many schools, it seems to us that testing and assessment has more to do with what teachers have given instead of what students have received! We rather seek to provide students with truly Authentic Assessment of their progress. This is done by collecting information from three sources, and in three areas.
The three sources of information are staff interviews, combination of all teacher/guides, and the student's own self-assessment.
The three areas are: Hours Attended, Understanding, and Ceiling.
Hours Attended is simply a count of the total hours of class attendance. In order to get a more accurate view of a students actual placement, hours may be added to reflect previous knowledge or study of the language.
Understanding is an estimate on the part of each teacher, as to the individual's overall understanding of each class hour. These estimates are compiled weekly. While at first this may appear too subjective to be of much value, testing the teachers' estimates against the student's own assessment shows that there is less than a 5% margin of error.
Ceiling is the degree to which the student adheres to the ALG Program. The basic requirements are as follows: 1) Listen for overall meaning rather than individual words. 2) Do not attempt to use Thai in the classroom or in daily life during the first 600 hours of study. 3) Do not use dictionaries or translations of either phonetics or definitions. Each student is monitored in these areas and graded. The lower the Ceiling, the slower the acquisition and the lower the end results will be.
The Hours of Study, Understanding and Ceiling are then combined into the students Language Acquisition results. This is the overall understanding of language that the student has acquired. Native language and culture is factored into this also, to give a very accurate picture of how much "Language" the student has acquired. Speaking ability follows understanding at a time interval of approximately 8 months, however this also varies slightly from person to person. Therefore, each student is monitored individually and is able to move through the program at the best speed for him.
The Language Acquisition Chart shows this as in the following example, for a student at 500 hours. Students from different language/culture groups will have a faster learning curve, depending on where they're from.