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children testing

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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 2:35 pm    Post subject: children testing Reply with quote

Hello everyone,
I am teaching English to children in Italy and I have nearly completed a TEYL course. My certification paper is going to deal with children testing systems and whether they are an effective tool or totally counter-productive. I am trying to get a few responses from teachers of young learners around the globe to see what they think.
In Italy there is a great variety of children tests but most schools tend to use Cambridge ones or in-house exam papers. From my experience I have realized that there are other ways of checking children's progress than a final scary exam (portfolios, projects, on-going assessment....) but apparently it's very hard to get rid of the traditional testing methods. I would like to teach children in a relaxed and fun atmosphere but often exam pressure is there to make lessons stressful and boring as well.
What's the situation in the country you are living? Do you reckon that children exams do them any good?
Thanks a lot to you all for your resposes and help.
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Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 533

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 5:38 pm    Post subject: Testing the little ones Reply with quote

Hello Michela,

I have the following attitude. Children will have to take regular tests throughout the many years they are in institutionalized education. In the small private ESL academy where I work, we give trimestre exams mostly because parents expect such from us as professionals, though each individual teacher then uses the information gleaned from the results to evaluate the need for remedial teaching.

With the kids from five to ten years of age, I give regular quizes, about one every three class hours. I use these quizes to get rid of anxiety, remove the "important" aspect of doing a quiz or an exam. My quizes are exactly the same as the exercises we have already done in class. Thus, a quiz is just another kind of exercise. Getting a high grade (85% or up) means that the material has been well grasped. Getting an average grade (60 to 85%) means that a bit of review needs to be done in the next class, probably just going over the same quiz together to find out what went wrong. Getting a lower grade (below 60%) means that some intensive review work must be done, usually involving a change of tactics on my part.

Another important aspect of these quizes and tests is to help the kids learn just how to approach test-taking. How to look for the answers that are often right before their very noses. How to copy accurately so that they don't lose points because of careless mistakes. How to take a test in its stride and not let tension build up. My little ones beg me for quizes, it's one of the ways they can clearly see if they are improving. (Also, the reward for a 100% is the highly valued star I paste next to their name on the "Black Marks and Stars" sheet!)

That was improvised. Hope it is close to what you were looking for!

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