Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Biggest day of the year - FCE

December 10th saw 31 experienced English teachers struggle up a steep hill to deliver speaking tests to over 300 high-schoolers in central Tokyo.

The candidates had already done their Reading & Use of English, Writing, and Listening papers - an altogether long & tiring day for them all. Final prospect of their FCE day was their paired speaking test with people they'd never clapped eyes on before.

All examiners are trained to deliver the speaking test from one of several randomly selected scripts on the day - to the same very high standard, ensuring each candidate has a fair opportunity to show what they Can Do. While one examiner invites the candidates to express their opinions & converse with each other on a range of topics, his/her colleague is paying very careful to attention to their output in order to assess each of them against a standardised assessment scale. The whole process per pair lasts about a quarter of an hour, and is a very intense experience for everyone involved.

My role on the day was to monitor the examiners and provide feedback - fine tuning essentially, to ensure quality control. Speaking examiners after all need to be delivering & assessing at the same level no matter where in the world they may be...and in my experience really appreciate being observed as they don't get that too often at work. Common objective shared, and therefor total confidence that the results will be reliable.

Massive thumbs up to Hibiya High School for adopting Cambridge English: First and a pat on the back to the organisers for achieving a smooth flow of candidates during the whole afternoon. And well done my speaking examiners - proud of you!