Testing and Assessment

ASSESSMENT COMPONENTS:

 Beginner, Elementary, Pre-Intermediate:

A. Traditional Assessment:

 

  • Midterm - 30 %
  • Final  - 35 %
  • Speaking Exam - 10 %
  • 2 Pop Quizzes (Grammar & Vocabulary) – 10 %

  

B. Indirect Assessment:

  • Online LP (writing tasks, speaking tasks, reflection sheets, graded reader tasks & project)   - 10 %
  • Outside Class Study (Online Workbook / MEC) – 5 %

 

Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate:

 

A. Traditional Assessment:

  • Midterm - 30 %
  • Final - 30 %
  • Speaking Exam - 10 %
  • 2 Pop Quizzes (Grammar & Vocabulary) – 5 %

 

B. Indirect Assessment:

  • Online LP (writing tasks, speaking tasks, reflection sheets, graded reader)   - 10 %
  • End of Term Project (PBL) - 10
  • Outside Class Study (Online Workbook / MEC)  - 5 %

 

* The Online LP in repeat classes does not include the graded reader component.

 

APPROACH TO ASSESSMENT

TEDU English Language School strongly believes in the importance and indicative value of student production. Without being restricted by writing or speaking conventions, students are guided and taught in such ways as to encourage as much production as possible. The driving force behind this belief is that, by the time students complete the preparatory program, they should be able to communicate confidently both in written and oral forms. The assessment system, therefore, is designed to reflect this approach.

 

  • Approach to the assessment of productive skills:

 

ELS places great emphasis on the assessment of Writing and Speaking skills as these are the skills enabling a clear assessment of whether students have been able to reach the expected language levels or not. Both speaking and writing tasks are designed in such ways that students can relate to the contexts personally so that they can generate more ideas, use the target language they have learned and try to get their points across. In other words, they fulfil the tasks with a clear purpose given to them, and an awareness of an audience which serves the purpose of helping them be more engaged in the tasks. As the result of this, ELS no longer has grammar and/or vocabulary sections in achievement tests, but only in the pop quizzes. However, this does not mean that grammar mistakes are tolerated during the marking of exams or other forms of assessment. It is made clear that markers (teachers) and also students are aware that however they answer certain questions or whatever the task type may be, their language use needs to be accurate in order for the message/content to be delivered effectively.

Some of the task types used in ELS tests of productive skills are:

• Writing texts at certain lengths

• Discussing scenarios using pictures

• Discussing situations

• Giving presentations

 

  •       Approach to the assessment of receptive skills:

 

The TEDU ELS approach to the assessment of receptive skills is actually a reflection of the importance we attach to productive skills. Students’ reading and listening abilities are tested to see if they have progressed in these areas, however, as mentioned before, the way they display comprehension needs to be done in a language-wise accurate manner. Although content related accuracy is prioritized in the marking of receptive skills tests, students are expected to do this in a grammatically correct manner. Otherwise they are partly or totally penalized on the items/questions they have answered grammatically incorrect. This approach has resulted in quite a positive backwash effect on students because students know that whatever they say needs to be worded correctly and they need to be communicating with correct/clear English.

 

  • Task types:

 

Some of the task types used in ELS tests of receptive skills are:

 • 3 or 4 option multiple choice,

• Open ended,

• Matching information,

• Gap-fill,

• Choosing the best summary, etc.

 

  •    Test types:

 

The following are the Progress Tests of ELS:

  • Midterm,
  • Pop Quizzes,
  • End of term project (PBL),
  • Learning Portfolio,
  • Online workbook/MEC.

 

The following are the Achievement Tests of ELS:

  • Speaking Exam,
  • Final.

 

The Midterm and the Final include 3 parts: reading, listening, and writing. In the reading section, there is a reading text whose length will vary according to the level of the course. The students are expected to answer main idea and detail questions. As the level of the students’ progresses, higher order skill questions are included. In the listening section, the length of the texts listened to vary in accordance with the level of the course. The questions become progressively difficult. In the writing section of the Midterm and the Final, depending on the level of the course, the students are expected to write texts of different lengths. The writings are assessed according to the writing criteria. The writing strand of the program aims at improving students’ writing ability through the writing input and tasks. The reason for providing students with different writing tasks is to give them the opportunity to practice and improve their writing and the reason for assessing students’ writing is to give them a sense of timed essay writing as well as to inform them about their writing performance. Considering the academic environment where students are expected to produce clear writings, giving effective writing feedback and providing feedback in different ways depending on students’ needs are crucial so as to enable teachers and learners to work together towards a mutual goal which is likely to enhance the quality of students’ writing. For this reason, in the teaching plan of ELS, extra time is allocated for feedback and students also have the opportunity to have tutorials with their teachers on their weaknesses. As for the speaking skill, because spoken production is one of the most challenging skills, students need a lot of opportunities to practice speaking so that they can become competent. With this in mind, the ELS speaking strand is designed to encourage students to speak through different speaking tasks.

The pop quizzes include vocabulary and grammar questions. The students are expected to answer the questions by making use of the context and meaning.

In order to be able to successfully pass onto a new module, beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate and intermediate students will have to receive an average grade of 65 and he/she has to attend 85 % of the classes. Upper students need to receive an average grade of 75 and they must attend 85 % of classes in order to become eligible to pass onto their faculties. If they are not able to collect an average of 75 %, they may take the EPE. If they get 65 out of 100, they may pass onto their faculties, if not, they are required to repeat the upper module. The only prerequisite to be able to take the EPE is to have attended 85 % of the classes.

 

RATIONALE BEHIND THE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM:

The values that shape the curriculum system (reconstructionism, progressivism and constructivism) alsoshape our assessment system. Below is the way these educational values influence our assessment.

With reconstructionism, skills development, not just linguistic knowledge is emphasized. Therefore, TEDU ELS believes that an integral part of its mission is to teach students certain language skills that they will need in their departmental studies. To ensure this, traditional assessment, i.e. traditional skills exams, and grammar and vocabulary quizzes, is required.

However, TEDU ELS also acknowledges the fact that students learn in different ways, so they need to be tested in different ways. Progressivism emphasizes not only the outcomes, but also the process of learning to value the experience of education, a learner-centred approach to give students a chance to learn by doing, encouraging students to be active participants shaping their own learning, pursuing answers through problem-solving and critical thinking. Constructivism emphasizes learning resulting from a personal interpretation of experience, and the use of collaboration by encouraging students to work together.  The LP requires self-reflection and evaluation and the end of term project (Project Based Learning) requires active involvement, development of 21st Century skills such as team work and problem solving. Students are also encouraged to direct their own learning by choosing their learning materials and techniques, so they are given the chance to study outside class with online components such as the MacMillan English Campus. Therefore, students who shine better with different assessment systems are given a chance with indirect assessment.

In order to ensure reliable marking and high quality feedback for ELS students, after each exam, before papers are marked, and for the speaking exams before the exam day, all teachers have to attend standardization meetings in which the tasks are closely examined by all so that marker familiarization with expectations is made possible and sample student responses are discussed and marked.