Fall Course: A&H 6040 Classroom Based Language Assessment

A&H 6040:  Classroom-Based Language Assessment (3 pts.)

Instructor: Professor James E. Purpura

Time: Tuesdays, 5:00 to 7:00

Special Dates:

Class begins on Friday Sept. 7, 4 pm-6 pm

Class on: Friday, Sept. 21, 4 pm to 6 pm

Class on Friday, Dec. 7, 4 pm to 6 pm (last class)

 No class: Tues., Oct. 30

No class: Tues. Dec 11 or Dec. 18

Room: TBA


  • A&H4085 Pedagogical English Grammar or equivalent


  • A&HL4080 Intro to Language Assessment;
  • A course in discourse analysis or conversation analysis

OR by permission from instructor (email to: jp248@tc.columbia.edu). I’m open to students from other programs taking this course, but we need to see if you are prepared.

 Program fulfillment:

  • Elective in the M.A. TESOL or AL programs
  • Elective in the assessment Ed.M & Ed.D. programs

This course would be appropriate for those interested in…

  • how assessment events are used to promote language and content learning in classroom and large-scale assessment contexts
  • how assessment events are conceptualized and managed by both teachers and learners,
  • how assessment events embedded in language instruction, are mediated through talk-in-interaction
  • how instruction and language/content learning can be embedded and tracked in formal and informal assessment events
  • how assessment and learning events are affected by a range of performance moderators (e.g., types of feedback, affect),
  • how the products of assessment events contribute to learning progressions over time
  • how assessment events can be constructed around coherent, goal-oriented scenarios intended to measure not only the display of knowledge, skills and abilities, but also the acquisition of lexical and content knowledge while solving problems in a group online.


This seminar explores a learning-oriented approach to language assessment by examining (1) how language and content learning and instruction can be embedded into formal and informal assessments to measure and improve performance, and (2) how assessments, mediated through interaction, can be embedded into instruction to promote learning outcomes. The seminar will begin with theoretical discussion of classroom-based assessment and its application to formal and informal assessments. We will then use an LOA approach to examine how scenarios can be used as a technique for measuring a wide range of performance indicators (enabling and performance skills) and performance moderators (types of assistance). This will culminate in the design of a Scenario-Based Assessment. The second part of the course will take a close look at how planned practice-based and spontaneous assessment events, embedded in teaching and learning and mediated through interaction, contribute to the local and long-term development of language and content learning outcomes. This part of the class will culminate in the analysis of selected assessment episodes using transcript data.


For more information: email jp248@tc.columbia.edu