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.

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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: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/young-learners-english/ 

I hope you enjoy reading my MA assignment.

A ten-week Teacher Training course for recently qualified teachers of Young Learners

Ahead of the return to school for most teachers and young learners, I am pleased to share a ten-week initial Teacher Training course for recently qualified teachers of children and young teenagers. I wrote this when I was still working as a Teacher Trainer and have updated it to place it on my blog.

First of all, I am sharing the pre-course information that can be given to trainees either ahead of or at the start of the course: YLs Initial ten-week Teacher Training course – overview

Post-IATEFL

Well, our talk went down well at IATEFL and I am now back at my desk getting ready for the next stage of the Learning objectives for YLs project. This will be to reorder the descriptors to create a logical set and to incorporate the feedback from reviewers and either rewrite descriptors or send them for further analysis. I also need to assign a cognitive level to the descriptors, which will be quite a challenge. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into the job, so to speak, and will keep you updated.

YL can-do descriptors for rating

I have just finished the second day of selecting can-do descriptors from a list of new and adapted ones to be sent out for rating. It involves carefully selecting descriptors that fill gaps in the current syllabus.

I will be co-presenting a workshop on this at this year’s IATEFL conference so come and find out more. We’re on in the morning on the Monday.

YL descriptors – progress update

After a week visiting family, I have settled back into the daily routine. I have now finished content mapping all seven levels of a Primary course, and have now moved into the next phase of the project which is to pull out all of the new and adapted YL descriptors I and my fellow content mappers have created. Interesting if slightly gruelling work.

It’s now just over a month to IATEFL where I will be presenting on the YL can-do descriptors project so come and see me doing my thing in Manchester on the morning of Monday 13th April.