Education and Learning in Second Language Contexts: Language and Diagnostic Assessment of Diverse Learners in Portuguese Schools

By Sandra Andrade Figueiredo, Margarida Alves Martins and Carlos Fernandes da Silva.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research in second language assessment has highlighted comprehensive diagnostic procedures to ensure indicators that provide classification about proficiency levels in the second language. Proficiency concerns the academic skills of writing, reading, and speaking and oral comprehension, as well as interpersonal skills. Those academic competencies have different evaluation structures concerning the non-native speakers attending to their immigrant experience. Assessments developed in this area present several tests to ensure a complete classification for placement at school levels. In Portuguese schools, context diagnostics and placement are still insufficient to determine proficiency in the cognitive academic level. During this new research, young immigrant students will be evaluated trough specific tests based on international batteries applied in the second language domain. The tests are in the adaptation phase. Researchers will discuss the main criteria that should be considered including language conventionality, complexity of texts, knowledge demands, type of lexicon on words list, verbal analogy, and scoring format (criteria such as Relative Proficiency Index and Rasch method). Our focus will be on the evaluation of cognitive academic language proficiency to provide indicators and data regarding the structure of tests, the scoring applied, and the standards designed for proficiency levels and placement.
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Keywords: Second Language, Immigrant Students, Schools Diversity

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 13, Issue 1, November 2013, pp.31-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.409MB).

Sandra Andrade Figueiredo

Post-doctoral researcher, Higher University of Applied Psychology, Higher University of Applied Psychology, Lisbon, Portugal, Portugal

She has a degree in Portuguese, Latin and Greek language education from the University of Aveiro, Portugal. She earned her PHD at the University of Aveiro under the theme of Psychological Factors involved and Cognitive Achievement in Second-Language Acquisition Context, sponsored by the Foundation for Science and Technology. She currently works as a post-doctoral researcher under the general theme of second language assessment, sponsored by the Foundation for Science and Technology. Her research interests include: First and Second Language Acquisition; Motivation, Anxiety and Learning Styles in Multicultural Classrooms; Didactics and New Technology for language learning; Language and assement.

Margarida Alves Martins

Full Professor, Higher University of Applied Psychology, Higher University of Applied Psychology, Lisbon, Portugal

Carlos Fernandes da Silva

Full Professor, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal, Portugal

I am a higher education teacher and a scientific researcher (since 1986), in Portugal. My main interest is cognitive neurosciences (psychophysiology and neuropsychology). My other interests include biological rhythms (shiftwork) and learning theories (behavioral medicine and behavioral modification). I am the head of the Experimental and Applied Psychology Lab (PsyLab) of the University of Aveiro (center of Portugal), where we have a unit on cognitive neuroscience (with a NeuroScan device and Biopac).