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Introduction

What Is Language Testing, and Why Is it Important?


For many people, the word testing can cause The goal of language testing is to collect information
unenthusiastic feelings. Teachers may not like the in order to make judgments about a language learner’s
time that testing takes away from instruction, and knowledge of a language and ability to use it (Chapelle
students may feel anxious about their performance & Brindley, 2010). In order for a test to provide useful in-
on tests. Testing, however, can be a useful tool for formation to its users, it must be valid. Validity refers to
both teaching and learning. Assessments can pro- whether a test measures what it claims to measure. The
vide useful feedback to inform teachers and learners Our World assessments claim to measure the language
about what and how much has been learned. In presented in the Our World curriculum. Each test in the
turn, this provides helpful information to teachers on series has been developed in conjunction with the Our
whether teaching objectives have been met. Testing, World curriculum. Test items and tasks are modeled af-
in this sense, is an integral part of classroom success. ter the way language is presented and used in the Our
World student books.

Assessments Included in the Our World Series


The assessments developed for the Our World series a student passes Grammar I and II, but not Grammar
aim to be a comprehensive set of tools that teachers III and IV, he or she is likely a level 3 or 4 student. The
can use throughout the delivery of the curriculum. teacher should administer speaking and writing tasks
The Our World assessment pack contains two types appropriate for a level 3 or 4 student and determine the
of tests: diagnostic tests, which intend to measure a appropriate level. If a student passes Grammar I–IV, he
student’s English language ability prior to using the or she is likely a level 5 or 6 student.
curriculum; and summative tests, which intend to Final determination of student placement, of course,
measure a student’s English language ability after using should be based on the discretion of the teacher who
a portion of the Our World curriculum. A description administers the test. The placement test is to be used as
of each test follows. The Our World curriculum also a tool to help teachers elicit enough English language to
contains formative assessment resources in the teacher’s show evidence of students’ overall ability.
manuals.
Pre-tests  The Our World assessment pack contains
Placement test  The placement test is a diagnostic a pre-test for each level of the series. The pre-tests
test intended to be used prior to students entering the are also intended to be used as diagnostic tests, but
Our World series. The placement test is designed to at a finer level of detail than the placement test. A
measure students’ existing English language abilities teacher may opt to use a pre-test at the start of a year
based on the Our World curriculum framework. to determine a class’s overall knowledge of material
The placement test uses “cut scores” as the basis covered in a particular level and then plan instruction
for making basic judgments about students’ English accordingly. Alternatively, if students are enrolled
language abilities. The test begins with a grammar on a rolling basis, a teacher might use a pre-test to
section focused on beginner or advanced levels—levels 1 determine how much a particular student knows about
and 2 and level 5—to help teachers make determinations the English language skills covered in a particular level.
about an approximate level of student language ability. The pre-tests contain sections on listening, grammar,
Grammar I and II focus on grammar presented in level reading, writing1, and speaking. The listening section is
1 and 2, while Grammar III and IV focus on grammar designed to test students’ knowledge of high-frequency
presented in level 5. If a student passes Grammar I and II, topical vocabulary from the units. The grammar section
he/she proceeds to Grammar III and IV; if not, he/she can tests select grammar topics from the level. Additionally,
move on to beginning Speaking and Writing tasks. Based other grammar topics are integrated into the writing
on student performance on Grammar I and II (and III and speaking sections in order to judge how students
and IV), the teacher makes a determination about how make use of grammar in less structured items. Reading
many Speaking and Writing tasks the student will take. passages are based on one unit of the level; typically
For example, if a student has not completed Grammar they are taken from the student book and modified
I and II successfully, the teacher would likely determine to make them shorter and simpler. Reading items are
that a student should be placed in Our World levels 1 or 2. intended to test reading comprehension. Writing tasks
The teacher would then administer speaking and writing are focused on one topic and type of text from the level.
tasks appropriate for a level 1 or 2 student and determine Speaking tasks are focused on one topic and several
the appropriate level based on student performance. If grammar points from the level.

1 Writing is not tested in levels 1 and 2.

2 Introduction
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Introduction

Student completes
Student does
Student A takes the first Speaking Student is
Student not take Student moves
Grammar I and and Writing placed in
does not pass Grammar to Speaking /
II of placement tasks. Placement Level 2
Grammar 1 III and IV of Writing tasks
test based on student
placement test
performance.

Student completes
Student B takes Student takes Speaking and
Student Student is
Grammar I and Student Grammar III Writing tasks.
does not
II of placement passes and IV of Placement based placed in
pass
test placement test on student Level 4
performance.

Student takes
Student C takes Student takes Speaking and
Grammar I and Student Grammar III Student Writing tasks. Student is
II of placement passes and IV of passes Placement based placed in
test placement test on student Level 6
performance.

The pre-tests are not comprehensive; that is, they unit. The speaking tasks contain three to four speaking
do not reflect everything that is taught in the level. prompts and have been developed so that teachers may
Rather, the pre-tests sample a range of important expand upon them if they wish to further test students’
grammar and vocabulary topics from different units of speaking abilities. Tasks are intended to be administered
the book. Pre-tests are optional and are not intended one-on-one, perhaps on a separate testing day, and
for grading purposes. can be found in groups of three (one per unit) following
each Mastery test.
Unit quizzes The quizzes are designed as Quizzes are intended to assess the most important
summative achievement tests, focused specifically on vocabulary, grammar, and communicative abilities
the English language taught in each unit of the Our addressed in each unit. Teachers can use this valuable
World series. information to determine whether students have met
Each quiz contains listening, grammar, reading2, learning goals.
and speaking sections. Levels 3–6 also contain writing3,
sections. Listening sections test vocabulary presented Mastery tests Three mastery tests have been
in the unit, using grammatical structures that have developed for each level of the series. The mastery tests
also been covered. There are typically six listening are designed as summative tests and cover material
items that contain visual depictions of the vocabulary. from three units. The format and length of the mastery
The grammar section tests grammar presented in the tests is the same as that of the unit quizzes: each test
student book’s two grammar activities. Reading sections contains sections on listening, grammar, reading,
test reading comprehension. Texts are typically derived writing4, and speaking. However, because mastery
from the student book, but are shortened and modified tests cover three units’ worth of material, the breadth
to make them easier for students to understand when of information is greater. Mastery tests are intended
working independently. Writing sections contain one to provide valuable information on whether students
writing task based on the type of text presented in are retaining information over the course of the level.
the student book. Speaking sections use photographs The information gained from mastery tests can help
and illustrations to prompt student thinking and test teachers determine whether students are retaining
a combination of grammar and vocabulary from the language on a long-term basis.

2 Quizzes for level 1, units 1–3 do not contain reading passages.


3 Writing is not tested in levels 1 and 2.
4 Writing is not tested in levels 1 and 2.

Introduction 3
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Introduction

Final exams  A comprehensive final exam has 2. Make testing a part of learning. Teachers should
been developed for each level of the series. The final make testing part of the overall instructional
exams are summative tests and contain approximately program. For example, create review sheets and
40 items each. They are intended to cover the com- study guides that students can use to prepare for
prehensive range of vocabulary, grammar, reading, tests.
writing, and speaking skills targeted in each level. 3. Review regularly. Reviewing content regularly in
The format of the final exam is the same as that of class will help reinforce learning and will also help
unit quizzes and mastery tests: each exam contains students prepare for quizzes and tests.
listening, grammar, reading, writing5, and speaking
sections. However, on the final exam, items relate to 4. Be prepared. Before any test, think about what
topics covered in all units of the given level. will be needed for the testing situation. Bring extra
pencils, scrap paper, and erasers. Plan for what
students will do after the test while other students
Test and Score Use are finishing. Write all of the directions and
Tests and quizzes in the Our World series have a guidelines on the board before the testing session
designated number of points associated with items and state them verbally, so that testing procedures
and tasks. Typically each test item has been desig- are clear to all students.
nated as one (1) point, scored as correct or incorrect.
5. Manage time. Teach students to pace themselves
Writing tasks are typically worth three (3) points, with
based on how long the test should take to
one point assigned for appropriate use of grammar,
complete. If needed, write the time on the board
one point for using the assigned type of text with ap-
and remind them when they should be starting a
propriate expressions, and one point for writing the
different activity in the test.
assigned number of sentences. Speaking tasks contain
2–4 prompts on unit quizzes and mastery tests, and 6. Create a comfortable seating environment.
9 prompts on the final exams (one from each unit). Consider how students are placed in the
Each prompt is worth two (2) points and is assessed as classroom and determine whether a new seating
meets expectations (2 points), does not meet expecta- arrangement is needed.
tions (1 point), or does not respond (0 points). 7. Skim the test. Tell students to look at the entire
Teachers should add the total number of score test first. Remind students to read directions
points on the entire test or quiz to determine the raw carefully and look at practice examples.
score. As a classroom-based assessment system, the
final scoring of the tests and quizzes may be deter- 8. Focus on the positive. Remind students to focus
mined locally. The raw score need not be the final on what they know and come back to difficult
evaluation. Teachers may weight different sections of questions at the end.
the test at their discretion. A teacher may decide that 9. Write and speak in complete sentences. Remind
certain items are more difficult because less time was students that they should always write in complete
spent in class on learning the material. All summative sentences when answering questions or completing
tests are intended to measure progress and may be a writing task, and that during speaking tasks they
used for grading purposes. should answer with complete sentences.
10. Review your answers. Teach students to take
Testing Tips for Teachers and time at the end of testing to review answers and
Students responses.

To help testing go smoothly, the following 10 tips References


are provided for teachers and students. Chappell, C., & Brindley, G. (2010). Definitions
of language testing. Retrieved from http://
1. Have a positive attitude. A teacher’s positive
languagetesting.info/whatis/lt.html
attitude toward testing and test scores can help
students approach the testing situation with
constructive feelings.

5 Writing is not tested in levels 1 and 2.

4 Introduction
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Placement Test

Name   Date 

1 Circle the correct answer.


1. Are there any apples? No, there .

a. are b. is c. aren’t d. isn’t

2. there any cookies? Yes, there are.

a. Are b. Is c. Can d. Want

3. I to play soccer.

a. can b. can’t c. likes d. like

4. they like to fly kites?

a. Are b. Is c. Do d. Does

5. Do elephants swim? No, they .

a. do b. does c. don’t d. doesn’t

6. Does a fish swim? Yes, it .

a. do b. does c. don’t d. doesn’t

7. A horse fly.

a. can b. can’t c. is d. isn’t

8. A fish swim.

a. can b. can’t c. is d. isn’t

9. I to be a dentist one day.

a. can b. do c. wants d. want

10. He to be a doctor one day.

a. can b. do c. wants d. want

Placement Test 5
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Placement Test

2 Circle the correct answer.


1. What are ? They’re shoes.

a. this b. it c. these d. that

2. What is ? It’s a T-shirt.

a. this b. they c. these d. those

3. Where is the phone? in the kitchen.

a. It b. It’s c. They d. They’re

4. Where are the shelves? in the bedroom.

a. It b. It’s c. They d. They’re

5. Where is the table? in the kitchen.

a. It b. It’s c. They d. They’re

6. The are playing basketball at the park.

a. child b. person c. children d. parent

7. The is in the house.

a. person b. people c. students d. parents

8. The are reading in school.

a. student b. person c. students d. child

9. There aren’t carrots in the garden.

a. any b. no c. an d. a

10. There isn’t egg on the table.

a. any b. no c. an d. a

6 Placement Test
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Placement Test

3 Complete the sentences. Use words from the box.


carried carry go had has

haven’t isn’t used weren’t would

1. If the weather is cold, I inside.

2. If it rains, I an umbrella.

3. The piano is loud, it?

4. The dogs were cute, they?

5. Have you ever relaxed at the beach? No, I .

6. Has she ever been to a concert? Yes, she .

7. If I went on a vacation, I take photos.

8. If you a lot of money, what would you do?

9. Paintbrushes are to paint pictures.

10.The seeds are by birds.

4 Complete the sentences. Use words from the box.


as avoiding because everyone looking

no one playing painting that when

1. in my class is a good student. We all do well in school.

Placement Test 7
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Placement Test

2. wants to play at the park in the rain.

3. at old photos of my family is really interesting.

4. pictures is my favorite hobby.

5. Rosa is good at the guitar.

6. Some animals are good at predators.

7. A polar bear is white as snow.

8. A garden is a place has flowers.

9. we recycle trash, we conserve energy.

10. It was difficult to see of the ash.

5 Write the names of five things in this picture.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.
8 Placement Test
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Placement Test

6 Answer the questions about the picture in complete


sentences.
1. What is the mother wearing?

2. What are the children doing?

3. What’s the weather like?

4. What did the boy do?

5. Compare the boy and girl playing with the ball.

7 Write a paragraph (5 to 7 sentences) about what


the people did in the park. Use at least five words
or phrases from the box.
cell phone play catch jeans skirt
sneakers sunglasses text message throw a ball

Placement Test 9
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Placement Oral Test

Placement Test Speaking

10 Placement Test
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Teacher Script

Placement Test
Speaking Instructions
Task 1: Say This is Mario, and this is Mario’s family (point to Mario’s family). I will ask you about Mario and his
family. Use complete sentences.
Teacher Expected Student Response

Who is in Mario’s family? Mario has a brother, father, mother and sister.
Where are Mario and his family? They are in the kitchen.
What are they doing? Mario is sitting at the table. Mario’s father is cooking.
What does Mario’s father have? Mario’s father has some food.
What is in the room? There is an oven/a stove, refrigerator, sink, etc.
Where is the refrigerator? It’s next to the sink.
Where is Mario’s father? He’s in front of the stove.
Where is Mario’s mother? She’s next to Mario’s sister.
Where is the clock? It’s above the sink OR, It’s next to the sink. OR, It’s next to the refrigerator.

If student is able to answer at least five of the questions above, go to the following task.

Task 2: Say I’m going to ask you a few more questions about Mario’s family. Use complete sentences again.
Teacher Expected Student Response
What food is on the table? There is a loaf of bread, etc.
Is there any pasta on the table? No, there isn’t. No, there isn’t any (pasta).
Mario’s mother says, “Did you wash your hands,
Yes, I did. OR, No, I didn’t.
Mario?” What does Mario say?
What does the family do after the father puts the pasta
They eat dinner.
on the table?
After dinner, Mario wants to tell his father that the
The pasta tasted delicious.
pasta was very good. What does he say to his father?
Look at Mario’s family. What does Mario’s family look like? Mario’s mother has curly hair. Mario’s sister has glasses. Etc.
Mario’s sister is the youngest. Mario is younger than his
Compare the ages of the three children.
brother. Etc.
Responses will vary, but should use will: Mario’s brother
What will Mario’s brother do now that he is home?
will hang up his coat and wash his hands. Etc.

If student is able to answer at least four of the questions above, go to the following task.

Task 3: Say Mario’s brother, Tony, is late for dinner (point to Tony). His parents were worried (point to parents in
the thought bubble).
Teacher Expected Student Response
Tony was late. What do you do if you are going to Responses will vary: If I’m going to be late for dinner, I call
be late for dinner? my parents.
Responses will vary: His parents are going to ask him where
What are Tony’s parents going to do?
he was.
Responses will vary: I have never been late for dinner because
Have you ever been late to dinner? Why or why not?
I always wear a watch.
What might Tony’s mother ask him? Responses will vary: She might ask him, “Why were you late?”
Pretend you are Tony. What would you say to Responses will vary: I’m sorry I’m late. It started raining when
explain why you are late? I was walking home. I waited until the lightning stopped.

Placement Test 11
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Answer Key

Placement Test
1   (10 pts) 2   (10 pts) 3   (10 pts) 4   (10 pts)
1. C 1. C 1. go 1. Everyone
2. A 2. A 2. carry 2. No one
3. D 3. B 3. isn’t 3. Looking
4. C 4. D 4. weren’t 4. Painting
5. C 5. B 5. haven’t 5. playing
6. B 6. C 6. has 6. avoiding
7. B 7. A 7. would 7. as
8. A 8. C 8. had 8. that
9. D 9. A 9. used 9. When
10. C 10. C 10. carried 10. because

5   (5 pts) 6   (5 pts)
1. Answers will vary: girl 1. Answers will vary: They’re playing with a ball.
2. boy 2. Answers will vary: It’s sunny and warm.

3. trees 3. Answers will vary: The mother has a cell phone.

4. Mom 4. Answers will vary: The mother is wearing a hat and


a skirt.
5. ball
5. Answers will vary: The boy is older than the girl.

7   (3 pts)
1. Answers will vary: It was a beautiful day. Two children went with their mother. The children played catch, and their
mother sat on a park bench. She used her cell phone to send text messages. They all had a wonderful time.

Speaking
Expected Student Responses
Task One:
1. Mario has a brother, father, etc. 6. It’s next to the sink.
2. They are in the kitchen. 7. He’s in front of the stove.
3. Mario is sitting at the table. Mario’s father is cooking. 8. She’s next to Mario’s sister.
4. Mario’s father has some food. 9. It’s above the sink OR, It’s next to the sink. OR,
5. There is an oven/a stove, refrigerator, etc. It’s next to the refrigerator.

12 Placement Test
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Answer Key

Task Two: Task Three:


1. There is a loaf of bread, etc. 1. Responses will vary: If I’m going to be late for
2. No, there isn’t. No, there isn’t any (pasta). dinner, I call my parents.

3. Yes, I did. OR, No, I didn’t. 2. Responses will vary: His parents are going to ask
him where he was.
4. They eat dinner.
3. Responses will vary: I have never been late for
5. The pasta tasted delicious.
dinner because I always wear a watch.
6. Mario’s mother has curly hair. Mario’s sister has
4. Responses will vary: She might ask him, “Why were
glasses. Etc.
you late?”
7. Mario’s sister is the youngest. Mario is younger than
5. Responses will vary: I’m sorry I’m late. It started
his brother. Etc.
raining when I was walking home. I waited until
8. Responses will vary: Mario’s brother will hang up the lightning stopped.
his coat and wash his hands. Etc.

Placement Test 13
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