Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Providing for EFL Special Needs - examiner training, Nagoya

Focusing on the small print
My examiners were guinea pigs for a refreshed format of meeting today. I was extremely nervous before hand, as I have relied on tried and tested format & materials which I inherited since becoming a Team Leader. I have realised that this does not make the best of our precious time together, apart from maintaining their ability to assess adequately & practice reading the scripts. Both of these are very important, make no mistake: they are the key aspects of the actual examining job i.e. Deliver the speaking test to script, and assess the candidates accurately.

But, in the broader scheme of things, my examiners are grown ups. They have already shown me in training that they are up to the task. If they did not, they would not have been approved by Cambridge ESOL as examiners, and would not be on Luna's team – it’s very simple!
Kim, Corazon & Bonnie

Nowadays, examiners have access to the most recent videos of candidates to polish their assessment skills on. We can still dip into videos if we need to – in fact we do, but with a much more detailed analysis that is not assessment driven. Instead, we can focus much more on the interlocutor’s role, which impacts on the candidates’ performance/perception so strongly. We can pull the wings off the script and put it back together again, figure out which level it is. We can dissect the assessment criteria and put it back together again, without any ‘spare’ pieces. We can add to our examiners’ teaching toolkits and actually put meaning into another line on their CVs.

I want to thank my Nagoya/Gifu team today for not noticing the change of emphasis today – or at least not making a big deal out of it and asking me eg “Why did Naomi only get a 2 for Pronunciation?”

Instead, we achieved:
Focus on lip-reading
·        Ability to manage the delivery of speaking tests to sight-impaired/blind candidates.
·        Ability to enable hearing-impaired/deaf candidates to take their listening tests through lip reading
·        Monitoring peer performance in detail, fine-tune own performance
·        Tightened timing, material handling, rubric
·        Weaned Jim off over-reliance on videos

 Thank you team for travelling into the teeth of Typhoon Roke and for giving up your National Holiday/World Pirate Day, and for all of your Facebook concern for my missing pint of Guinness! You are all very much legit Cambridge ESOL examiners now, and I am looking forward to you examining soon. Find us some candidates and venues if you can too?!
Exactly the kind of people you want examining Young Learners!

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