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EAL proficiency assessments

EAL Proficiency describes how a child is acquiring their new language – English.  Having an understanding of a child’s proficiency in English when they start and through their time with you, will be key to implementing support and classroom strategies.  It also demonstrates the progress the child is making in key areas such as;

  • speaking
  • listening and understanding
  • reading
  • writing and grammar
  • personal independence, social and emotional development (EYFS only)

Our EAL proficiency assessment tool is matched to the EAL proficiency markers set out by the DFE in 2016.  This is designed to help teachers identify EAL levels across the different key stages, with key skills in mind.

The assessment tool contains guidance on EAL teaching strategies, as well as sample resources and lesson plan ideas.  We recommend you familiarise yourself with the assessment for the child’s correct Key Stage. These can be done through daily activities and tasks.  They don’t need to be done as a ‘test’ and descriptors can be ticked off as and when they are observed.  The assessment booklet should be shared with all staff that are supporting the child, this is so they are able to ‘tick’ any observed descriptors.  If the classroom is not providing the opportunity to observe a proficiency descriptor, then the teacher or EAL co-ordinator can arrange a task to cover that area.

EAL proficiency should be on-going and properly reviewed at least termly to track the child’s development and set new targets.  We suggest that you highlight two or three areas for improvement and set achievable targets that inform the teacher’s planning and differentiation.

It is also important to understand that, although a child might be fluent by the end of KS1, a KS2 EAL proficiency assessment should still be undertaken, as there will be new English and subject expectations.

All teachers and practitioners should use the EAL proficiency assessments to track progress and set language learning targets.

EAL proficiency levels

  • EYFS proficiency EAL assessment – PDF / Word
  • KS1 EAL proficiency assessment – PDF / Word
  • KS2 EAL proficiency assessment – PDF / Word
  • KS3/4 EAL proficiency assessment – PDF / Word

If the child has achieved different descriptors in different levels of a key skill, it would be best to use the lowest level as this is an area that could be preventing the child from fully accessing the curriculum. This would allow you to implement specific support for the child to move on.  This should also be followed when reviewing the overall descriptor.

 Additional key things to note

Child’s background – The first part of the assessment is to find out more about the child; the child’s home language literacy levels, ability in different subjects, previous school experience and how well developed the home language is will influence how teachers plan to support them.  Please book an interpreter for the initial meeting if needed and complete the Background Information Form on pg.2 of the KS1 & KS2 assessments.

Descriptor – the proficiency descriptors are used to assess language acquisition, to set appropriate language learning targets and measure how much the child is able to access the curriculum.  It is to be noted that while most bilingual children progress rapidly through the first two stages, many struggle to surpass the ‘developing competence’ stage and may not reach competence, or fluency, unless supported through specific interventions, which extend and explicitly teach language acquisition.

Resources – you should complete the assessment through observation and completion of school-based activities.

Setting targets – when you observe or have evidence of a child reaching a target, simply ‘tick’, date and set new targets by highlighting 2-3 areas which need improvement.  Set achievable targets regularly and use them to inform your planning and how you differentiate for that child’s needs.