Testing students’ progress is essential to showing the effectiveness of a language programme. Therefore, it is vital that the school provide a comprehensive and well-planned testing programme to show students their strengths and weaknesses.
Progress tests are run approximately every four weeks. These tests should last for only 1 lesson, and should be specific to the textbook the students are using. These tests will focus on the lexical and grammatical items covered in the course book, as well as focusing on the listening and speaking skills they have learned throughout the course. To test students’ writing, the academic manager will select a standard prompt and a grading scheme that all teachers should adhere to. Students must achieve a level of at least 85% in all areas to be considered for a change in level. The teacher should then discuss this with the academic manager, as moving a student too early will be detrimental to their language learning.
End of term tests not only focuses on students’ progress, they test the students overall level. Students should be advised that the completion of a textbook does not mean that they have reached a specific level in their language performance. Due to the fact that we are testing level and not progress, a standardised language level test is required. It was the decision of the administration to base all end-of-term tests on either the Cambridge or Trinity Suite of exams. For levels up to and including Intermediate, the students will take either the KET or the PET exams. For students in Upper-Intermediate and above, they must take a Trinity based exam, as these not only test receptive skills, but force the students to show what they can do with their language.
Elementary: 81 points + on the KET
Pre-Int: 131 points + on the KET
Int: 121 points on the PET
Up-Int: 120 + points
IELTS 1/FCE/Pre-Adv: 131 + points
Advanced/Ielts 2: 131 + points
For elementary students wishing to enter pre-intermediate, there is no minimum score. For all other tests, students may not score below 50% on any area. If they do, this is seen as a fail for the entire exam. Level progression is important, however, it is the wish of this school to help students be strong in all areas of language use.
To help prepare students for the format of the exams, the teachers should use a class period to prepare students for these high-risk exams.
It is vital that we have comprehensive records of tests, for student queries and British Council regulations.