Categorized | ESL

Term Test

This last week the students took their term test.  There are different levels at school with the higher levels teaching more complicated English.  This test helps determine if the student “levels up” or not.  There are other factors as well, such as the students performance throughout the semester.

The test consists of a listening section where the students listen to a CD and answer some questions about what was said.  The next section consists of 50 questions.  They read and answer on a scantron like sheet.  One by one, as they do the written section, they will go outside to the hall to do a speaking section with a foreign teacher.  Here they have to answer some questions with as much information as possible.  We start by asking them some random questions about how they feel or their family.  This is followed by a few questions over 2 stories from their reading books.  They are told beforehand, at least they were in my classes, which reading stories the questions would be over.  The speaking section is graded on how well they speak, how natural they sound, and how much they remember from the stories.  But that’s not all.  They then have to write an essay, which is then graded by the foreign teacher.  They get a total of two and a half hours to do this test.  Most are very nervous.  They don’t want to be the only one of their friends not to level up.

Now what I don’t really understand about this whole process is this.  It is only the 5th week of a 10 week semester.  Why have it near the middle of the semester and not the end?  For the next month they will either not care about the material because they know they have leveled up and are moving on, or they will not care much because they know they will be going through the same level again.  Granted each semester the material changes so they will not have to go through the exact same stories and all again.  But why not wait till the end of the semester?  Some of the kids are new and some are just not picking up the material to the level they need to be at.  I really can’t explain why they do this, except my school is a business first.  How it helps them in the business aspect I don’t know, but that has to be one if the main reasons, if not the main reason behind it all.

Then you have to remember this is not their normal school.  This could be one of two or three academies they attend after their public school.  These kids are under a lot of pressure.  Many times when I am out parents will be pushing their small children to say hello to me and use the English they have learned.  The kids are usually shy and don’t want to talk, but the parents want to see them speak.   There aren’t many places where you will see parents push their young children to speak to strangers.

‘Till next time,


About Eric Bynum
I taught ESL for three years in South Korea and now I am looking to set out on a new journey after just finishing my teaching certification in the US. I hope to continue teaching and traveling and you can follow his journeys here.

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