November 30, 2022

Multilingual Assessment

Co-Authored by: Paulina Yourupi-Sandy, Margo Gottlieb, Lynette Villagomez, Lee Pangelinan, and Lisa Emwalu

English: We can assess students who come from multilingual and multicultural backgrounds by using the approaches of assessment as, for, and of learning. This blog reflects on the successes and lessons learned from a recent webinar on this topic.

Finuʼ ChamorroSiña ta usa I estudianti siha ni man mattu ginen diferentis klasin lengghuahi yan kuttura, nai ta usa ottru klasin subidan aktibidat nai para ta tes ‘asi, komu, yan para manungu’. Esti na Blog, ha apupunta nu i fina’cho’chu setbishu yan leksion ginin i manma’pus na Webiinar nu esti na asunto.  Esti na Blog, ha apupunta nu i fakcha’ siha na leksion ni esta matungu’ ginen i webinar gi manma’pus put esti na asuntu.

Refaluwasch: E mescherágh sibwe amweri tool yaar olighát (kka re tooto me llól ssoghul masamasal kko) ghukkule sángi meeta aramas re mángi. Blog yeel e abwáári ghatchúl me lesson kka si akkabwung merel eew webinar eghilláál mwutchuló wóól topic yeel.

Chamorro female student on title page of webinar on Assessment for Multilingual Learners.

The Comprehensive Centers of Region 18 (R18CC) and Region 19 (R19CC) co-hosted a webinar on multilingualism and assessment on November 1, 2021. The key presenters were renowned author Dr. Margo Gottlieb and two immersion teachers, Ms. Lee Pangelinan and Ms. Lisa Emwalu, who both teach at Kagman Elementary School in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The webinar highlighted how assessment can be conducted in multiple languages, following the three assessment approaches “as, for, and of learning.” The presenters connected the assessment approaches with classroom applications, real-life examples of student language and cultural portraits, project-based learning, and student portfolios to amplify that yes, conducting assessment in languages other than and in addition to English is possible and easier than we may think.

During the webinar, participants were asked to identify the number of languages they understand or can speak and the number of cultures they are in contact with daily. Of the participants who attended the webinar, the majority spoke two or more languages, and all were in contact with two or more cultures daily. If this is the portrait of our participants, it is also likely that we will get a similar portrait of the student population—multilingual and multicultural learners—we serve in the Pacific. There is a need for educational leaders and multilingual learners to engage in opportunities where assessing multilingual learners in their multiple languages is a reality.

Dr. Gottlieb expounded on why assessment in multiple languages is important, what it looks like, and how it can be done.

Why is assessment in multiple languages important?

  • Every multilingual learner’s identity is tied to multiple languages and cultures.
  • Multilingual learners should have access to multiple languages from which they have choice and voice to become agents of their own learning.
  • Multilingual learners’ full linguistic repertoires are tied to multiple languages and cultures.

What is assessment in multiple languages?

  • Learning targets (objectives) should be flexible to allow for pursuing learning in multiple languages.
  • Multilingual learners should have opportunities to explore resources in multiple languages.
  • Success criteria should have provisions for multiple languages.

    How can assessment in multiple languages be done?

    • Leadership teams should craft a language and assessment policy and facilitate the design of multilingual/cultural curricular units of learning.
    • Teachers should engage elders in sharing their funds of knowledge and apply research to practice.
    • Multilingual learners should be offered opportunities to interact with peers of their partner language and be able to show evidence of learning in one or more languages.

    Ms. Pangelinan is a teacher of Finuʼ Chamorro (the Chamorro language), and Ms. Emwalu is a teacher of Refaluwasch (the Southern Carolinian language). Both shared examples of students engaging in their multilingual practices in those languages, as well as others representing various Pacific Islands communities, as illustrated below.

    Male student leading class in reciting classroom routines in Chamorro
    GIF/video credit: Lee Pangelinan

    Assessment for Learning GIF: Student morning routine. Students recite i fetcha’ para pa’gu na dia (the date for today) and Hafa sinentete-mu? (How are you feeling?) in Chamorro. After the lesson, students are asked to correctly say some of the words that were mispronounced.

    Assessment as Learning GIF:  The example used during the webinar was students creating their piñata to sell at the school’s quarterly Market Day event.  Ms. Pangelinan is able to assess students as they created their piñata based on specific criteria established.  Students are able to reflect on their learning and discuss ideas or concepts, share information, or problem-solve with their peers.

    Students working together on a piñata
    GIF/video credit: Lee Pangelinan
    Teacher and her students discussing learning goals and criteria for evaluation
    Image credit: Lee Pangelinan

    Assessment of Learning Image: The example used during the webinar is of Ms. Pangelinan discussing with her students the learning based on the criteria for evaluation and determining the extent to which their learning goals have been met.

    The presentation slides are available here.
    The recording of the presentation can be found here.

    For any questions, please contact Paulina Yourupi-Sandy at or Lynette Villagomez at


    last updated November 30, 2022


    Type: Blog

    Contact Us