Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Some students were taking Starters for the very first time, and were understandably nervous/not quite sure what was going to happen. Of course, we had had a run through of various tasks leading up to their big day (without making it a big deal - see no point in exam prep for the exam's sake) but that had always been co-operative & familiar. On the day, no looking around, peeping, surruptitious pencil dropping, reading out loud, putting hands up, gawping at the teacher etc!
Other students had done it before, and were quite aware (from mum, not us!) that they needed to improve on last year's scores...and I think by and large we all achieved that. Phew!!! Some of our older students moved up a level to have a go at Movers or Flyers, and they could see the difference. They had more time, for sure, but needed to be able to eg spell more, read longer passages, match vocabulary, tell a story...a big step up, and quite different to other tests they may take here in Japan (which, in my honest opinion, are basically exercises in translation/death by grammar and not worth the time/money wasted on them - purely intended to trick test-takers and pile on stress...not fair).
I was very happy that my students remembered 'how to' tips such as ignoring a question if they could not figure it out quickly. Always half a chance a light will go off later; if not, they have still answered all the other questions in time. What I also really like about the assessment of YLE (as in all other ESOL exams) is that the candidates are given the benefit of the doubt eg if their meaning is discernable but spelling a bit off, no real drama (unless spelling in eg listening is actually being tested).
We were very glad this year to welcome some candidates from Magnus' school in Okaya, and Rico's Organic English School in town. Thanks both of you for that, and for your help on the day.
You can see more happy YLE certificate holders on flickr, click here
Now we are busy pusing ahead, full of confidence and thinking about how much better we can do this year!