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Test our P6 graduates...

Discussion in 'Staffroom' started by natewill, 27 Nov 2016.

  1. natewill

    natewill Thread Starter Active Member

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    Alrighty folks, here's a bit of a brain teaser for ya.

    My school wants to test our P6 MEP students to determine what CEFR level they are. After some mind-numbing google searches and a few glasses of Sangsom and soda, I'm a bit perplexed. First off, coming from a government school, the cost to this initiative must be zero or near-zero. Second, I want to help the school get a reasonable program up and running, because (if this thing actually happens, 25% chance at best) we the foreign teachers will be proctoring, scoring, et al. Third, it's kind of a not-bad idea, and I want to encourage the powers-that-be to have some quality control; they're trying really hard to have a good MEP, so I should support them.

    So far, there is no CEFR test. There are scales to translate TOIEC scores, TOEFL scores, etc into a CEFR level. There's the TOIEC Junior test which looks like a good fit for this usage, but most of it is online. I want a compact (1/2 hour - 2 hour) test that I can give to a group of students that involves all/most of the language skills, and that can be proctored by your basic agency-issued foreign teacher, and that is "free" even if we have to run off a bunch of copies, and can be scored with minimal fuss, with the score being translated into a CEFR level. Does this exist?
     
  2. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    The answer is pretty easy and positive. Yep, it's free and you can get all you need here:

    Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) - English levels

    You can check their level of English competency by taking a TOEIC examination, testing Listening and reading and another one that checks Speaking and Writing:

    TOEIC® test- about the Test of English for International Communication
    What is the TOEIC® test like?There are two separate parts to the TOEIC test. You can do one or both parts.
    1. The Listening and Reading test is a paper and pencil test that takes 2.5 hours and is taken at a test centre.
    2. The Speaking and Writing test is an online test that is taken in a test centre and takes 90 minutes. The Speaking and Writing test is a new test which is only available in some countries.

    Then you can find all assignments here for example A 2 : A2 level English (CEFR)

    Reading/ Listening/Grammar/Vocabulary

    You can copy all tests and paste them on exam papers, or whatever you're planning to do.

    Have fun with it. It's pretty good stuff and free.
     
  3. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    Those are some great resources Sirchai. What happens if natewill gives a student the B1 test and the student gets 100% Does this mean they are B1 or rather the test was way too easy for them? If you are to set the students up for success then I guess some prior knowledge of their ability is needed in order to give the correct test. There is a potential mine-field in giving the children of traditionally competitive / face losing adverse parents different tests, but I can't see how a standard test can measure non standard students

    The CEFR is a reference for the whole range of skills so to squeeze it into 1/2 hour - 2 hour test would seem impossible. Get a hold of the European council's original document and build in the can do aspect of the levels is my best guess.

    My suggestion is this year fudge it, but next year build a visit to the official test centre for all your grade 6 MEP students. The powers that be will get so much face as photos are taken at the official testing centre plus the test fee is not a huge amount or even contact ETS and get them to do a test at the school, lots of posters, even advertise locally, get students from all the local schools to come, build in a prize for first, second, third. It is not something that is being done at the moment. Where I work, it is done for science and math and it is huge. Tell parents that this is a core requirement of the MEP at your school.

    The only downside of this is that the kids who have learnt 6 years with the school and know diddly will get a bad score and parents there after will ask questions!

    Good luck
     
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  4. natewill

    natewill Thread Starter Active Member

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    I'm thinking one test that has material 'rated' at A1, some A2, some B1, some B2, etc. Sort of a graduated exam, where the first several questions are easy, so everybody gets the right. But as the test continues, the questions keep progressing through CEFR levels, and students start to falter based on their actual CEFR level. At the end of the test, a proctor can see "ah, you passed all of the A1 questions, all of the A2 questions, but only some of the B1, and really struggled with the B2 questions. Therefore you are at level B1" or something like that.

    Like a placement exam. If you have a new student and need to know what level they are at currently, you don't give them 16 tests to find out what they know and what they don't; you give them one well-written progressive exam that has a bit of everything, and then you can make decisions after that.
     
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  5. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    Sounds good and good luck putting it together ...it will certainly get you off the ground to take this as your initial approach ....from there modify accordingly.

    Tell the school of this approach but ask them to bear in mind the scores may be high or low and not to worry the parents or scorn the kids ....find the benchmark is the target this time around. Hope your school is supportive of your ideas.

    Oh, a nice suggestion from BF if they have the budget but yep that downside too eh.
     
  6. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    You have to be very careful with some test results. My ten-year-old Saturday student ( daughter of a Canadian) is a real bright kid and I made the CEFR grammar and listening tests with her.

    The only help I gave her was to read some words she couldn't read. She scored Mastery level= C2 in the grammar part and C 1 in the listening one.

    But would she really understand all the different vocabulary, grammar, etc? Of course not.

    I assume that using "Tell Me More" helped her a lot.

    The test is usually getting more difficult when the first answers are right. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you guys that it was my tutoring only that helped her to get such a breathtaking result.

    I was almost speechless, but the girl seems to have a sort of a photographic memory and her intelligence is neither from daddy, nor from her mom.

    Would the Thai teachers have her command in English, none of us would be needed. And she's only ten, just turned ten a few weeks ago.

    But she'll leave Thailand in March, then jump over grade five into grade six at a Canadian school.
    Nice to tutor such a bright kid without the dadda duddu things....lol
     
  7. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    Real tests... the Cambridge ESOL tests for young learners (likely movers or flyers) are designed for that age range.

    You can download free tests (listening, reading, writing) from their website and look at their channel on youtube for examples of speaking tests. They are complete but you do all the work and there is no certificate at the end of it.

    Alternatively you can get your school to contact a Cambridge test center here in Thailand and do it for real.
    The test costs are about b1000-1500 (they vary with test level) and are completely done by the test center.
    Sahavith and Normington will come to you if you have enough students doing the tests (contact information on the Cambridge website). The other centers will usually require you to go to them.

    The students are scored on the Cambridge scoring scale (which is mapped to the CEFR).
    Marking is done by Cambridge (UCLES) and Cambridge issues certificates with visuals on the face and specific descriptors on the rear.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    If you are looking for a cheap and cheerful fix that is a real representation of ability then may I suggest then only you have access to the tests beforehand and the tests are done in one room with you in attendance. Experience shows that both foreign and Thai teachers have a habit of helping students on the tests to the detriment of measurement of learning but it saves a few faces. Just get all the books you use, look on the back of them and they will have the CEFR code on the back, use the content in the books for the tests. You will get blown out of the water if the students face content which hasn't been taught. Yes in an ideal world teaching to the tests is a real crappy way of educating but we are not in Venice but Rome.
     
  9. muppetminder

    muppetminder Active Member

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    You don't need to test them. Your options are A1,2 for M1.

    I have some Ss above and below A2, but seems to be a good choice for my G7 EP.

    If you need to individually determine, then imo they will fall pre A2 to B1 in an EP class.

    Select the level that fits the students and how the materials will scale up in the school.

    A2 is fairly easy, basic grammar. B1 introduces more complicated grammar.

    Six CFER levels, six Mathayom grades - easy. Yet, most students in typical Thai EP, let alone IP or Thai side will make it to compently complete level C2 materials.

    The upper levels are quite substantial.


    PS I hate Gateway.
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2016
  10. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    ( snip) A2 is fairly easy, basic grammar. B1 introduces more complicated grammar. (snap)


    Basic grammar where the students have to be able to differentiate between their and there, where even some foreign English teachers seem to have a huge problem with using the right form of it?

    I gave the same test to some Thai English teachers at a seminar and the results were really bad.

    Not even one out of 120 Thai English teachers had the right word. A real catastrophe.

    And assuming that the students know the word "enough" in this context without being taught such "easy" grammar and sentence structure before isn't as easy as you might think.

    I'm happy to have a party, or I'm thankful to have a party, maybe I'm glad to have a party, I'm going to have a party, etc..can give learners of the English language a very hard time.

    This forum is so cool because no grammar nazis are bothering us.

    But if you look at your own wording without any form of criticism, the word "compently" in your post, I've got no idea what that word means.

    Currently, or competently complete? Or completely? I'm really sorry, no offense to your post, but it sounds so professional, but it isn't.

    Maybe you should stop criticizing the Thai side for a minute?

    BTW, I've got no problems when you write something negative in return about me.

    We're all human beings and all of us make mistakes from time to time. It's in our nature.

    Finally, your statement that you don't need to test them sounds incredible.

    The program is actually made to check learners' level of English easily by using a grammar and a sentence structure test, part two is a listening test that shows their understanding of spoken English.

    I've just realized that this is your first post on this forum and hope you do not misunderstand me.

    Cheers, and a very Happy Father's Day. -:thai wai

    A 2 CEFR fill in the missing words.png
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2016
  11. muppetminder

    muppetminder Active Member

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    At the end of the day the tests don't mean anything because all the students will need to be placed in a group (class) and given a text book.

    A1
    A2
    B1
    B2
    C1

    See how that works and corresponds to grade level? Magic.

    The grammar becomes boring asnd stale after B1. C1, C2 are very advanced levels.

    Yes, easy grammar - it is relative, but if your kids are struggling all year with "to be" then maybe CEFR is not for them anyway. That is VERY possible.

    You sound like you are not working in a very satisfying school.

    Nitpicking a typo, what a turd. Sorry I took the time out of my day to peck something out on my mobile phone.

    If you think that easy grammar might not be so easy for your special snowflakes, then it's A1 by default. See how much time I saved you?
     
    Last edited: 5 Dec 2016

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