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.

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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

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.

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.