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Unit 10 This unit explores the types and methods of evaluating student’s level and progress in the classroom and outside the classroom. It presents some of the common external examinations taken outside the classroom such as TOEFL, IELTS, TOIC, Cambridge Assessments, etc. A teacher giving feedback in the course of a lesson or course is regarded as a form of evaluation, however informal, because this informs students on what their mistakes are, how to correct them and ultimately help them to determine their level and progress. There exists a formal way of giving feedback to students is sometimes arranged by learning institutions presenting the use of a system to assess students level and progress. E.g. through tutorials, evaluation by the students, and through taking of tests. a. Tutorials – they can involve the teacher taking the whole class, or individual students. The teacher can choose to facilitate tutorials at the end of each week so as to check students’ progress and offer the appropriate feedback. b. Evaluation by the students – this entails students giving feedback about the course they are taking either through a guided discussion, or a questionnaire. If possible, the guided discussions can be facilitated in the mother tongue of students with low level in spoken English. This method helps generate genuine feedback from students can become a good reference for designing future lessons. c. Tests – there are several forms of testing available with regards to student level and progress. Eg. placement tests, diagnostic tests, periodic progress tests and achievement tests. • Placement tests – follows a multiple-choice type test covering grammar, vocabulary, and an interview at the end. This kind of test enables teachers to decide which class is suitable for a student, based on their language level. A two-paged sample test is presented featuring: Section 1 (multiple choice on grammar), section 2 (gap-fill activity focused on using appropriate vocabulary, section 3 (a creative speaking/writing activity), and section 4 (an essay based on “I need to improve my knowledge of English because…”). • Progress tests – entails a balance of receptive and productive skills, grammar and vocabulary; and are mostly exercises chosen from unused work books or other resource books. The content of this test is not limited to language points covered within a given period. They are particularly useful because they help teachers determine which language points need more in improvement. • Diagnostic tests – they are quite similar to placement tests, yet the intent is to derive a more specific feedback. This kind of test helps the teacher determine the peculiar difficulties/weaknesses of a student, hence tacking them accordingly. Placement tests are taken at the beginning of a course. • Practice tests – they are designed to follow the particular format and structure of an external exam with the intent of preparing students to take those same exams. Examples of some of these exams are: TOEFL; IELTS; TOEIC; Cambridge Assessment (UK OCR Examination, Cambridge ESOL, Cambridge International Exams), General English (KET i.e. Key English Test, PET i.e. Preliminary English Test, FCE i.e. First Certificate in English, CAE i.e. Certificate in Advanced English, CPE i.e. Certificate of proficiency in English; Business English (BEC i.e. Business English Certificate, BULATS i.e. Business Language Testing Service; Trinity College London (ESOL Skills for Life UK). From this unit, I have learnt about the various types of student evaluation that exist and the purpose each is intended to serve in a student’s language learning process.
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