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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread May 21st, 2006, 11:53 am
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Default How important are placement tests?

Do you think placement tests show the real skills of a student? Can you think of any other ways to test a child or an adult without using diagnostic / placement tests ?

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Unread May 21st, 2006, 07:29 pm
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

A good placement test that covers all skills is very effective, although I've always found that an oral test is the most effective.

A placement test needn't be answering paper-based questions. For example, you could get the students to discuss a topic or even play a game in English. As long as you know what you're looking for and you can measure it, it can be effective.
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Unread May 31st, 2006, 11:07 am
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

Hi Emile,

Do you have a particular game you play with your group to establish their level? The idea is good of course but you need a system that helps you qualify your students' skills.
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Unread May 31st, 2006, 07:29 pm
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

My company does testing and placement of adults using BULATS and our own tests, using the ALTE/CEF system, sorry about all the acronyms. The CEF levels are very useful for this purpose.

A game could be used for kids, just an idea, as long as it was quite structured. A game where the kids take turns would be perfect. One of the benefits is that they would interact more freely with each other and in a game situation than they would facing an oral examiner.
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Unread Jun 1st, 2006, 06:44 am
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

Hi Emile, as far as I know BULATS and ALTE/CEF are European or rather British based systems. They use levels and categories rather than scores to evaluate a person's skill level. Is that true or am I mixing something up here?
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Unread Jun 6th, 2006, 08:51 am
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

Hello, open mind

One of my adult student passed the " Bulat's" it is a Cambridge examination specialized in commercial and financial .
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Unread Jun 6th, 2006, 08:54 am
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

Hi Michele, what do you think of the value of a BULAT's certificate? I mean, who recognizes it and how many candidates take thse tests per year?
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Unread Jun 6th, 2006, 07:20 pm
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

Hi,

Like I mentioned before, my company offers the BULATS tests, so I'll try to answer

BULATS is a test rather than an examination, so the candidates get a report on their level and ability rather than a cert (although they do get something that looks like a cert.)

You can't pass or fail BULATS. Like IELTS, it finds your level on a range and it's up to your company to set the target.

At our company, we get very few individual enquiries, but a lot of corporations have asked us to run it for their groups. It is generally used for recruitment, promotion, pre- or post-course testing or just for data gathering.

When people say BULATS, they generally mean the computer (or paper-based) test of reading, listening, vocab and grammar. There are also BULATS tests for speaking and writing.

So the value of the test report may only be useful to the company and not the employee (that's what the comapny wants to hear). However, it is a Cambridge test and the ALTE/CEF levels that it uses are becoming more and more popular all the time, especially in Business English.
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Unread Jun 7th, 2006, 07:11 am
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

So if the management of a corporation asked you which system you recommend -- BULATS or TOEIC, what would you say? I mean, what parameters would you use to compare both tests and assess the value and benefits a company can get from both?
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Unread Jun 7th, 2006, 07:56 pm
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

Well, I would recommend BULATS, since that's what we sell

But actually, there are quite a few issues with TOEIC. It is basically a multiple choice listening and reading test (reading and listening are the easiest to test thru a computer medium).
I have heard the scores are not that reliable, especially at higher levels.

WIth BULATS, you can test all four skills + grammar/vocab, and the computer test is adaptive so the candidate can't just get lucky by guessing the mutliple choice answers. BULATS is more British, of course, it's a Cambridge test, and personally, I feel the oral and writing tests are the most useful. sections.
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Unread Jun 8th, 2006, 06:49 am
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

Hi again, how many candidates take BULATS per year? What companies are using BULATS on an international level and how are they using it? Do you know of any company that has made BULATS part of their job requirements or job descriptions? Also, if you say BULATS is more British, how does this reflect the international business world? How many international companies use British English? How many British companies have international subsidiaries?
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Unread Jun 8th, 2006, 07:04 am
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

For my part I don't know. My student who is ( 49) works as a financial auditor and her company made some employees take a BULATS test. ( Maybe Emile's company did it , who knows?).
Personnally I like Cambrige tests.
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Unread Jun 8th, 2006, 08:01 pm
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Default Re: How important are placement tests?

That's a lot of questions! Most of the answers are on www.bulats.org, but basically a lot of multinationals are using BULATS. We've run the tests with quite a few 'household names' and the BULATS site lists Airbus, Wipro and others in 30 countries.

The test is still growing and not as widely known as, say, IELTS, but it's getting very big in China and Japan.

Quote:
Do you know of any company that has made BULATS part of their job requirements or job descriptions?
Sure, we have a couple of such clients.

Quote:
how many candidates take BULATS per year?
No idea, but we've tested over a thousand in a one-year period.


Quote:
BULATS is more British, how does this reflect the international business world? How many international companies use British English?
A lot of countries have a 'colonial heritage' and British English is the language of choice. I suspect that European learners may prefer British English, too.

Quote:
My student who is ( 49) works as a financial auditor and her company made some employees take a BULATS test. ( Maybe Emile's company did it , who knows?).
Maybe... if she lives in Malaysia

Openmind, if you're really interested in the test, check out the website www.bulats.org and also see www.alte.org
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