International Schools Curriculum Work

I have recently started a project where I have been asked to develop English, Maths and Science learning objectives for the approved curriculum in the client’s International Schools. It’s quite a head-shift for me, as in the International House schools I worked in, I didn’t do too much of what is now known as CLIL.

I’ve spent most of today drafting examples to go with content edited learning objectives for Year 3 Science students and teachers. It’s really interesting – working outside of my comfort zone, I find more questions come to mind such as how do I phrase an example to go with this biology learning objective: ‘Describe ways in which animals are suited to the environments in which they are found.’ ‘I’ve come up with: ‘Example: describe how a camel survives in the desert by carrying fat in its hump for times when there is little or no food or water.’ and am fairly happy with that one.

I’m less confident about my physics examples. Here’s an example for you: learning objective: ‘Understand that we need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light.’ My example: ‘understand that we can see things in daylight or with other sources of light, and that we can’t see things when it is dark at night or when we don’t use electric lights.’

I’m more or less in the middle with my chemistry ones. Feel free to suggest improvements that can be made to the following example for this learning objective: ‘Understand that temperature is a measure of how hot or cold something is and that it is measured in degrees Celsius (°C) using a thermometer.’ Here, my example is: understand that temperature varies and we use thermometers to measure how hot or cold something is.

Thanks for reading this and I look forward to receiving some comments or likes if you like this post.


Test writing at A2 level for Lower Secondary

Since coming back after the break, I have been tasked with briefing some unit and progress tests for an A2 Lower Secondary course for 11-14 year olds. I’m currently writing the progress and end-of-year tests, so I am working with my Cambridge English KET Handbook close to hand. I am cheered by the news that I may have found a writer for our unit tests as we are asking for someone to start as soon as possible and our first choices were booked up.

Test writing from the inside perspective

It’s the second day back at my desk since the UK August bank holiday, when I treated myself to four whole days off including a very sunny Friday in the garden.

I’m now getting on with revising a sample Primary test in line with the client’s feedback. I know my stuff, or so it seems from the good overall feedback, but I have to be mindful of not writing too much especially as it is the first unit test. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Fortunately the client has given good suggestions on how to counter this, so I will be amending the activity types so less text can feature. And I will be sketching out the layout as this is a requirement.

Sometimes people think because there is so little on the page for children that it is a doddle to write for this age group. Wrong! I am inclined to think it takes more time as you have to get it right in terms of cognitive challenge, interest, physical ‘fit’, course book ‘fit’, motivation, engaging activities that children want to do and so on.

Research into task design of assessment tasks for YLs

I am making available an MA assignment I wrote a while ago about the design of assessment tasks for children. In it, I examine how tasks which effectively assess the language ability of children can be designed. It was written while I was working at Cambridge English as a Subject Officer for the YLE tests and I refer to the research the tests underwent as part of the 2007 review of the YLE tests.

NB The two internal documents from Cambridge English are not publicly accessible (Guidelines for Oral Examiner Training and Coordination and Instructions to Oral Examiners) Also note that the latest YLE information is available online: 

I hope you enjoy reading my MA assignment.

As February approaches…

I am now splitting my time between content mapping a Primary course for Pearson and writing revised Primary test material, again for Pearson. On Monday I’m meeting my contacts at this publisher to plan my IATEFL workshop on how we have gone about producing can do descriptors for Pearson’s YL syllabus. Interesting times and I am enjoying it.