It’s the end of the school year and the PLF has again administered final examinations to our English students at Chey and Knar primary schools.
This year, we administered exams to four classes of English 1 and three of classes of English 2. The examinations were based on the different curricula and each class’s progress through it. For example, English 1 was tested on such areas as the alphabet, color and word recognition, numbers, and prepositions. English 2 was tested on sentence completion, days, months and telling-time, body-parts, and weather.
Prior to giving the final exam, all the students took a practice test. This served several purposes: it helped the teachers to target areas that needed review; it gave the students practice taking a written, paper exam (which they do not often do); and it helped us to revise the test to ensure that students understood the directions and to make it a more valid and reliable an evaluation tool.
Then, on the day of the final exam at each school, a cadre of volunteers divided up the students to proctor the examination, which helped us to make sure each student was utilizing only her/his own knowledge. Once all of the examinations were collected, the results were compiled and distributed to the teachers. In addition to the results for each student, which were broken down by each section (or skill set tested), the teachers also received an overall average for each skill set. With this information, next year the teachers will be better able to pinpoint students in need of extra assistance, to challenge students that demonstrate high levels of ability, and to target the skills that are weakest in general.
The results showed an overall improvement from last year’s scores on a similar, but not identical, examination. However, in a reversal of the results from last year’s English exam, this year the data showed that students in English 1 had mastered the curriculum to a greater extent than those in English 2. Additionally, some students, particularly those who are often absent from class, did not feel prepared enough to sit for the exam, and these students will remain in the same class until they have sufficiently mastered the material.
Of the 56 English 1 students who took the exam, 49 (87%) scored 75% or more on their exam. This means that the vast majority of these English 1 students will be eligible to move to English 2 next year. Of the 60 English 2 students who sat for the exam, 37 (62%) scored 75% or more on their exam, so roughly 2/3 of the English 2 students who sat for the exam will move to a more advanced class. The English 2 exam was quite a bit more advanced than that of English 1, and the results will help the teachers to pinpoint the skills that were the weakest overall, such as writing complete sentences. The teachers will have a chance to review the examinations and results in order to make the final decision about placement of students in English classes next year, based not only on students’ exam scores but also their performance and attendance in class.
Article by Elizabeth Palumbo