Language assessors measure language skills through standardized tests.
These tests assess verbal, listening, reading and writing skills. Assessors
then recommend an appropriate training program based on those tests.
An assessment usually includes a personal interview, a written part and
a part that tests a person's understanding of facts, objects and details.
It may last up to an hour and a half. Parts of it are done over a computer.
The personal interview is also often taped for future reference.
But technology can only go so far. That's because not everybody can use
a computer right away. And more often than not, an assessment requires some
Margarita Villareal is the program manager of the language assessment center
run by Fresno Unified School District in California. She says some of the
children who come into the center are shy. But they open up when they can
respond through a play puppet. "We try everything in the book," she says.
But regardless of the method they use, language assessors must always treat
clients with empathy. They must also treat them with respect. "Just because
somebody cannot properly read or write English does not mean that they are
not intelligent," says Wes Schroeder. He is the manager of an ESL (English
as a second language) service.
You must also be sensitive of your clients' cultural backgrounds, says
Adriana Parau. She is the coordinator of a language assessment center.
Language assessors work for school boards as well as governments. They
may also find work in the private sector. Since English is the language of
international business, large corporations will hire language assessors to
work with their employees. Assessors may also work for groups who are trying
to rediscover their native language.
Working hours for language assessors rarely vary. "Once in a while, if
somebody cannot come for an assessment during the week, one of the assessors
might come in on a Saturday," says Parau. "But it is usually Monday to Friday,
9 to 5."
The job has no real physical demands except for the ability to communicate
orally and in writing, says Villareal.
But language assessors may also have to travel a fair amount in their work,
says Parau. So a physical disability may become an obstacle to employment.