proficiency testing for new students

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  • nadine
    13 December, 2010 at 4:34
    • Total posts: 9

    can anyone point me in the direction of a proficiency test to gauge the level of new students? i’m looking for something for adult and young learners. if you don’t use a proficiency test, i’m interested in whether you assess whether they’re pre-intermediate, advanced etc, from general conversation?

    16 December, 2010 at 16:12
    • Total posts: 279

    Reply To: profiency testing for new students

    Hi Nadine

    At most schools I’ve worked at, the evaluation method has been very similar, and has gone like this:

    – a test of grammar and vocabulary (sometimes multiple choice to make marking it quicker, sometimes not)
    – a writing sample – the instructions are usually along the lines of "Write about your job, your last holiday, your plans for the future" etc
    – an oral test, ranging from 5 minutes up to half an hour, either with a list of fixed questions, or as a general conversation.

    A combination of these 3 tests, while far from perfect, can usually give a good general idea of a student’s level, which is often good enough for the purposes of placing students.

    What this type of test doesn’t do is test receptive skills (listening and reading) – and it could be argued that if you are evaluating students to put them in a group with other students, homogeneity in receptive skills may be more important than homogeneity in productive skills.

    There is a test called DIALANG which is free to use, fairly comprehensive and tests receptive as well as productive skills – at the time of writing this their website is down for maintenance, but you can find more information about it here:

    Hope that helps.


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