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Student Oral Language Observation Matrix (SOLOM)
The SOLOM is not a test per se. A test is a set of structured tasks given in a standard way. The SOLOM is a rating scale that teachers can use toassess their students' command of oral language on the basis of what they observe on a continual basis in a variety of situations - class discussions, playground interactions, encounters between classes.The teacher matches a student's language performance in a five mains - listening comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, grammar, and pronunciation - to descriptions on a five-point scale for each (SeeFigure 1). The scores for individual domains can be considered, or they can be combined into a total score with a range of five through 25, where approximately 19 or 20 can be considered proficient.SOLOM scores represent whether a student can participate in oral language tasks typically expected in the classroom at his or her grade level. Because it describes a range of proficiency fromnon-proficient to fluent, the SOLOM can be used to track annual progress. This, in turn, can be used in program evaluation, and as some of the criteria for exit from alternative instructional programs. However,to be used for these purposes, it is important to ensure that all teachers who use it undergo reliability training so that scores are comparable across teachers. For this purpose, a training videohas been produced by Montebello School District in California. The SOLOM does not require a dedicated testing situation. To complete it, teachers simply need to know the criteria for the various ratingsand observe their students' language practices with those criteria in mind. Therein lies the greatest value of the SOLOM and similar approaches: • • • it fixes teachers' attention onlanguage-development goals; it keeps them aware of how their students are progressing in relation to those goals; and it reminds them to set up oral-language-use situations that allow them to observe the student,...
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