<b> Forum for the discussion of assessment and testing of ESL/EFL students </b>

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Post by simone.brazil » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:48 pm

I feel that the regular testing method may be harmful to ESL students' education. Many students develop test anxiety and soley focus on doing well on tests rather that really learning, so this might be a problem. I think you might be better off doing informal assessments of the students and doing classroom projects where they focus more on learning than taking a test. I would like to use this method but I wonder if it is a bad idea because all of the student will have to take standardized tests. Maybe I will not be preparing them well enough for these standardized test that they have to take?

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Post by KatrinaB88 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:06 pm

I'd go with a combination of continuous assessment and weekly short tests, say spelling, fill in the blank type thing. Of course how you test and assess really depends on the age group you are working with, one method does not meet all needs etc. Generally I agree with you though, if you test in a rigid way, students just memorize for the test and don't really get into the language and yes i also agree that it will put many learners off completely.

Best of luck.

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Post by Sally Olsen » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:32 pm

if the student knows how to take the tests they will do better so it would be unfortunate not to show them how the tests are constructed. There are only so many things in English that are difficult so it is good for them to know about these things for their use no matter what they do with English in the future.

Whenever you learn about another language, you learn more about your own and how it is constructed because it is different or the same. The more you can point out the differences and what is the same, the better they will be in their own language as well. You don't have to know these things, just get the students to point them out as you teach them the English.

Get many examples of tests that have been given in the past and pass them out so the students can see what kinds of things have been asked and what kinds of answers are the best. You don't have to give the tests to have the students learning. Of course, some students will want to take the tests to see how they do and you can hand it out for homework beforehand if they want to do that. That way students who won't do well can look up the answers and learn as they go.

There are many things to learn about the structure of tests that they will never learn in real life and real conversations . Show them how in English we say what we are going to say, then say it and then say what we said, using different words and sentence structures to say the same thing. This will help them with their writing as well. You can point out the different styles of writing for different subjects and how to pick out the subject and verb if they don't know the vocabulary so they can fake it if they have to.

Knowing how to read the answers before you read the question is invaluable in questions where you have to choose from multiple answers.

There are so many tricks to teach them and usually they are in books that help you prepare for the tests but it is much more valuable if the students figure out most of them themselves.

Usually timing is really important for these tests = how much time you take for each section and so that can be practiced as well, at first with a lot of support and then with suggestions of how to pace themselves and what to do if they don't finish. You can't get a mark if you don't answer the question so it is always better to answer everything.

The tests often have very interesting articles to read so you can get the same information in their own language so they are actually learning about the subject and expanding their knowledge with lots of visuals.

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