Ideally, assessment takes the form of a child friendly conversation, followed by a reading activity and a writing task which is based on the language content of the interview. All four skills are then scored according to the descriptors as set out in the Lambeth Proficiency Stages. In addition to this, if time and staff are available, the pupil’s behaviour and written work may be observed in different subjects. Finally an overall grade is awarded.
Older new arrivals may be given a written assessment to complete. Two assessments, written by Sue Jarvis and Amanda Gay, are given here:
For comprehensive advice if children are causing concern owing to lack of progress see: Assessing The Needs of Bilingual Pupils by Derryn Hall et al, a long time classic text.
In addition, when the pupil has virtually no English and is not meeting realistic targets, a mother tongue assessment may be given. Lambeth LA produced a mother tongue assessment pack and accompanying CD in 2007 but, in case you cannot find a copy, here is a link:
Lambeth Mother Tongue Assessment Pack
Another excellent MTA pack written in 2012 by Angelika Baxter, EMA Adviser for Mid-South Essex: Essex First Language Assessment