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Unread Apr 12th, 2007, 07:24 am
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Default How to make a Student Progress Speaking Test

I am Filipino. I teach Koreans in the Philippines. Our setting follows the Korean Hagwon system except that 90 percent of our classes are done one on one; and all the teachers are Filipinos. There are no Native Speakers. Classes run for one hour.

My Principal is asking me to make a test on speaking ability that will check whether the student has progressed after studying for two months. I have 1 year and 10 months of teaching experience but with no formal CELTA or TEFL training.

Here is our context:

1. The test will measure the speaking ability of the student after two months.

2. Within their two months of study, the students have only used reading books ex. True Stories Series by Sandra Heyer.The books are used to increase their reading and listening comprehension skills and their vocabulary range. All of their classes have been in one-on-one sessions. The natural communicative-interaction that happens in a one-on-one setting is the only communication pratice they get.

Since I assume that they are low Beginner students, they do not need to practice their speaking skills too much. Their first two months mostly focused on listening and basic responses. For this reason, I don't know which aspect of speaking I need to test and how simple the test should be? Will it be picture based? Will it be a simple oral comprehension test of a story? Will it be a simple interview?

3. I assume that each school has a different definition of a student's level. According to our school's implied standard, the test must be level specific because the students begin from various levels.

The test must target Low Beginniner to High Beginner students, and Low Intermediate to High Intermediate students.

4. I say implied because we still don't have any written description of a student's ability according to level. The teachers generally agree on a level according to our experience with students. Is this a natural thing to happen? Our Hagwon is quite young -barely two years old. Do other ESL teacher's do this? Do other ESL Language Schools have a written description, if yes, how can we make one?

5. I have tried studying the FCE (First Certificate in English) and the old TSE (Test of Spoken English) but I haven't taken any of these tests. So I am not confident to follow their format. Not only that, I don't know how they rate them.

How should we rate our students? Is there a standard speech ability rate available that most schools use?

The principal suggested that I take the TSE so that we can copy its format and style in our school's speech tests. We also thought of buying the SPEAK Kit from ETS: these are old TSE Exams including instructions on how to rate students. What do you think of these suggestions?

Has any of you purchased the SPEAK Kit and used in class?

I am totally in the dark; I have tried making my own, but, most of my creations are not effective.

I hope you can show me a sample and desribe some steps on how to do it.

Finally, given our school's youthfulness, our principal also plans on sending me to take the CELTA course either in Singapore or Korea; then after that, I need to train the teachers with what I got. I am an inexperienced teacher. I am confident to take the training but I am reluctant on training other teachers. I mean do other schools also do this -they send a teacher to study then he comes back and trains others? How successful will this kind of practice be?

Thanks alot!
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose -Jim Elliot
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