Wheaton College Color Logo

Learner Assessment

You may think of assessment as something that happens only once every few months, perhaps as an oral interview that provides information about your learners’ overall language ability. But do you ever feel the need for more frequent feedback about how your learners are progressing ― perhaps to identify problems early on, modify learning procedures, or offer help and encouragement? Would you like to be able to determine whether learners who are able to carry on everyday conversations easily can also handle ministry responsibilities such as teaching a Bible class? And when learners come to you for advice, can you pinpoint their areas of greatest need so that they will understand where to put their efforts?

In this course we discuss major types of assessment, like oral proficiency, and we talk about language portfolios and other simple, easy-to-use assessments that can make a big difference in keeping your learners on track, improving motivation, and accelerating their daily progress. We also show you how to gather a range of assessment information that will help you make well-informed decisions about next steps for your learners. Prerequisite: "Foundations of Language Coaching." (15 sessions, 3 per week)


Partial list of topics

  • What is learner assessment? How can it benefit your learners?
  • Understanding foundational concepts and principles of good assessment
  • Determining learners’ communication needs and following up by planning learning experiences to address those needs
  • Designing a variety of assessment types for your learning situation
  • Assessing specific language components and skills (e.g., grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, sociocultural competence)
  • Using portfolios and self-assessment checklists to accelerate learning, foster motivation, and support self-direction
  • Preparing learners for oral proficiency assessment
  • Using assessment results to develop or revise components of your learning program
  • Making sound decisions based on assessment results
  • Resources for coaches and ready-made assessment documents to use with learners


Printable pdf version of Language Coach Course Descriptions for the three language coach courses.


Course dates for 2020

  • March 9 - April 10
  • June 29 - July 31
  • November 2 - December 4





All Coaching Courses Registration Form for all three language coach courses (docx).


Q: Will I have to be online at a specific time each day?

A: The work can be done anytime that is convenient for you.

Q: Will I have to work on the course every day or can I devote one day per week to my course work?

A: The course content is divided into segments, three per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). However, you may work on the course less frequently if you need to do so. We strongly suggest that you give time to the course on at least one day each week.

Q: Will I need to be online the whole time I'm doing my work for this class?

A: You will not need to be online for everything you do, but the exact amount of time will vary from day to day. If Internet access is a problem, we can probably give you the videos by another means, such as via Dropbox.

Q: Will I need extremely fast and reliable Internet access?

A: Although it’s very helpful to have good Internet access, we realize this is not always possible. If you think this may be a problem, please email us so that we can discuss your situation.

Q: You say there is a lot of interaction with other participants and the instructors. How does that work?

A: In each of the 15 sessions there is a forum, which is an opportunity to discuss the topic for that day. This is done by writing your thoughts, which are shared with everyone in the class. You can ask questions and you can respond to questions or comments from others in very much the same way you would hold a discussion with a small group of people. One our of instructors also jumps into each daily forum multiple times to write comments on issues you bring up. In addition, at the end of each week you will respond to an applications question in which you apply what you are learning to some aspect of your individual coaching situation, and an instructor will give personal feedback on your response.

Q: I attended your one-week workshop on this topic. Will this course be nearly the same in content as the workshop?

A: There is some overlap between the workshop and this course, but much of the material for this course is new.

Q: How frequently do you plan to offer this course?

A: We plan to offer this course three or four times each year, or as needed. 

Q: What other language coach courses do you offer?

A: We also offer "Listen Up and Speak Out: Helping Learners Develop Oral Skills" (prerequisite: Foundations of Language Coaching), and “Learner Assessment” (prerequisite: “Foundations of Language Coaching”). We will offer "Learning Ministry Language" in Fall 2020.

Q: In addition to courses for language coaches, what other online courses do you offer?

A: Many times each year we offer Second Language Acquisition courses which equip language learners with the essential knowledge and skills they need to become more efficient and effective learners. We also offer a course on intercultural communication for field personnel of all stages in their careers called "Cross-Cultural Living and Ministry". Visit   for more information about dates, costs, and course content. Be sure to take a look at our FAQs document that will tell you more about the courses.

Please email us with your questions.