Thursday, July 26, 2007

English tests

One of the best speakers I've listened to recently spoke in almost flawless English and he was only in his early twenties. Fresh from college he went on to work as a language training officer conducting seminars to those who aim to improve their command of the English language. What amazed me was the fact that his field of study was not even English. He finished a BA in political science but was tapped to be an English language trainer because of the excellence he exhibited in using the English language.

In that seminar among English teachers of the country my theory that giving oral exams is the best method of improving the language facility of students was affirmed. "We were never given any written exam in English in that school where I studied from Kindergarten and we all are doing great in the field of communication," said the young trainer.

This is not to undermine written tests, but they are not the only measurement to a student's capability. The best way to find out how much a student has learned about the language is to make her use it in actual setting.

The written type of tests still have their own function but they do not accomplish much. Tests in English should be centered on the student's capability to use the language with ease and spontaneity.

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