Testing and Evaluation as a Vital Part of ESL Teaching
No enterprise or activity can be said to be successful or to have failed in life without some forms of standards against which the goals and objectives of the activity are measured and assessed. This also applies to the activity of teaching and learning in the classroom, where the learning goals are assessed and evaluated during and after the activity and at the end of a specific period.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Fidelis O. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
For clarity, it will be important to explain the difference between test and evaluation
Tests are a measure of the level of skill and knowledge that has been acquired in the course of a teaching and learning exercise. Quizzes, multiple-choice questions are examples of test instruments that can be used to assess the level of students’ achievements.
In the international school where I teach, different types of tests are conducted and are significant for a variety of purposes. One of them is for the placement of new students during admission. The placement test is a written test conducted with a pass mark of fifty percent as a benchmark for admission. The result of this evaluation test is instructive for the school in the placement of the student with the strength and the weakness of the students in the admission test scores reported to the appropriate designate section of the school the child is gaining admission to. Where the prospective student fails to meet the 50% cut off, he or she has an opportunity of a second chance.
Another type of test administered in my school is the progress test which is carried out at the end of the week known as the weekly test to assess what students have covered in the week. As a year 6 class teacher, I conduct this exercise, as directed by the school, every week in the subject areas of Mathematics, English, and IPC – International Primary Curriculum. The progress test is a class test that usually takes the form of a written task with a time frame of 15 minutes and obtainable marks of 20. The weekly test is conducted over the term with the cumulative scores computed on the school SIMS, School Information Management System and reported to parents on the school’s virtual learning environment, VLE periodically as progress grades 1, 2 and so on. In other instances the weekly progress test can take the form of students' project work carried out as a group or individually; they are presented before the class with the teacher scoring the project work and the students’ oral presentations based on some agreed rubrics. This is significant in the sense that it keeps the children on their toes and helps them to be secured in their learning by ensuring that what is learned, i.e. the knowledge and skills acquired over the week is tested with appropriate feedback given to improve their learning.
The examination is another form of test conducted at the end of a term known as a summative test. In my school, examinations are conducted at the end of the semester unlike in other schools where exams are done termly. Using this, students' academic work is evaluated at the end of the first semester and the second semester; the first one is carried out in January and the second in June. In each period, the students’ learning and knowledge and skill acquisition throughout the teaching period is evaluated in the examination testing instrument. The significance of this lies in the fact that it evaluates the students’ achievements over the teaching and learning period. As a result parents and teachers and the school can use the result of the test and the cumulative scores and their evaluation to judge how the wards and students have fared. Like the formative test such as class test and the progress test, the examinations grades are graded along with the progress grade in the database and reported to parents the school VLE platform.
The external examinations are also another type of test which is very significant for all schools. As the name implies, the test is standardized tests organized by international bodies like IGCSE, CAMBRIDGE EXAMS which conducts Checkpoint exams. Being a British school, which adopts the Hamilton curriculum and the IPC curriculum in the elementary section of the school, the year 6 students are prepared for their Checkpoint examination which usually comes up in April. This form of the external test requires adequate preparation because the report and results of the test are often seen as the reflection and the measure of the school’s educational standards.
Evaluation is an assessment procedure that takes the forms of a test, questionnaire, and project work. Students’ cognitive abilities and their learning objectives can be assessed based on the identified instruments above.
In my school, the student evaluation is based on the grading system below Mathematics grading system
Test 35% Quizzes 10% Classwork 20% Class participation 5% Homework 5% Mental mathematics 15% Project 5% Attendance 5%ю
The analysis of this grading system and the various assessment tools will give students a sense of the school grading system which will be employed in evaluating their academic work. Also, it will further help to motivate them to work hard in the specific area of the assessment with high percentage allocation such as test and classwork without ignoring those of others with little allocations of 5%.
This student evaluation is given to each child and their parents at the start of the academic session as a form of the guide into their learning.
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This evaluation for teachers implies that it helps them to vary their teaching styles to cater to different categories of students in the charge with the effect that during evaluation no particular student is at disadvantaged as several evaluation procedures are used in their assessment.
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