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Dear Joe and other MFL teachers - a general question on testing and assessment

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by ellenpd, May 12, 2011.

  1. Hello there,

    I work in Italy for the British Council (as an EFL teacher and trainer) and have been asked to give a presentation to Italian teachers on how we test and evaluate students of middle school age (11 - 13) in the UK. The specific questions are :

    What are the evaluation methods adopted in language classes?
    What types of assessment are proposed: formative or summative?
    What types of external examinations are there (GCSEs)l?

    I've done an internet search and I've found out a fair bit about AFL and APP, so I think I can cover how formative assessment works.

    But I'm a little unclear about how summative assessment works. Again I've found the level descriptors from the NC on the internet. What level(s) would you expect 13 year olds to reach?Do you use these level descriptors. Does anyone use the CEFR or the language ladder? Do you give grades at the end of the year, write a report to give to parents, what form does this take?

    I've seen some examples of end of year tests which clearly focus on the 4 skills. Do you also give periodic grammar and vocabulary tests?

    Finally could you briefly outline the format of GCSEs. eg how many papers, what type of testing eg cloze tests, multi choice etc.

    As you can see, I've done some research but I would like to say what teachers actually do. Thank you very much for your time and help,

  2. dalej

    dalej New commenter

    Dear Ellen,
    Assessing pupils at KS3 can take a variety of forms e.g weekly vocabulary tests, homework tasks, half-termly tests or end of year assessments. Pupils need to know which level they are working at and what they need to do to improve to take them to the next level. Each half termly test doesn’t have to cover all four skill areas, but pupils do need to be assessed in them all by end of each year in KS3.
    Pupils can take the FCSE exam at the end of Year 9 if they are not going to carry on with languages and would like to have an external qualification. They can also do NVQ or Asset languages for alternative accreditation although these are not recognised by the new eBacc so this may be a non-starter.
    By the end of Year 9 most pupils would be expected to be a Level 5. The stronger ones would be Level 6.
    By law schools have to give parents evidence of their child’s progress each year and this normally takes the form of an end of year report with a level and comment on what they need to do to improve.
    The GCSE exam has changed recently and now includes controlled assessments. Each exam board has different rules on how these should be administered and therefore I suggest you look at their sites for more details.
    I hope you find this information useful.
    Best wishes

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