Ahead of her talk at IATEFL Liverpool, Amy Malloy takes a look at the importance of child-friendly placement testing. Amy is an Assessment Manager in the Test Development Unit at OUP, specialising in young learner assessment.
Young learner assessment is becoming an increasing issue in primary language teaching. Parents, fellow teachers, and educational authorities all want more and more information on the standard of English of children under their care.
In a world where language testing is becoming increasingly important, with decisions on scores being potentially career-defining for both teenagers and adults, we have a responsibility as educators to ensure that this pressure does not begin to impact upon younger learners.
We can do this in three ways:
1. By finding ways to assess our young students’ language ability in a low-pressure, fun, enjoyable way in the classroom. Research has shown that young learners actually produce and respond to language better when they are having fun.
2. By ensuring that any information learned from this assessment is used to target our teaching to each individual child’s ability. This can increase the child’s motivation and maximise learning outcomes.
3. By understanding more about the different types of assessment tools at our disposal and what they should be used for. We believe that accurate and reliable assessment can be integrated into everyday classroom teaching, as part of an enjoyable and positive experience for young learners, rather than causing anxiety.
The best place to start is with accurate placement at the start of the year. By creating a fun placement lesson at the start of a course or school year, not only do the children start off motivated and engaged, but you also gain accurate information with which to confidently plan and customise your teaching for the term or year, which in turn serves to maintain motivation.
My presentation at IATEFL Liverpool will take a workshop format, looking at different types of assessment tools and the information they can give us, how to create a positive placement testing experience in the classroom, and finally, ways to integrate the new online Oxford Young Learners Placement Test into an engaging first lesson of your children’s school year or language course.
Amy Malloy will be talking about Child-friendly Placement Testing at IATEFL Liverpool on Wednesday 10th April in Hall 14 at 3.05pm.