Language Assessor  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotLanguage 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.

dotBut 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 unusual methods.

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.

dotBut 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.

dotLanguage 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.

dotWorking 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."

dotThe 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.

At a Glance

Figure out what language training people need

  • You can work for school boards or governments
  • You must treat clients with empathy and respect
  • A degree in literature or the social sciences is a good place to start