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12 November 2008 @ 02:29 pm
This is only a test  
A few hours ago I took what my school calls the "Achievement Test." This test is given every quarter to test what we have learned and to place us in the appropriate class for next quarter. They give this test about 2 weeks before the end of the term so they can have the old students registered so they know how many new classes they need to make for the new students.

This quarter I am repeating the same material as last. All 10 Chapters. Needless to say I felt I had an idea of what format the test would be based on this, and since this is my 4th Test total. I was wrong.

The test is automated. Everyone listens to the same recording at the same time. This test, unlike the previous ones they decided to NOT have a pause between the instructions and the questions. They also decided to not repeat the questions during the listening comprehension. Further they decided to have the speakers speak at a rate that was quite fast. Even faster that the tapes that come with our course materials. Needless to say, right of the bat I was confused. Every other previous test, and every other section they repeat the question and the answers. By the time I realized what had happened they were on question 2. So I had no choice but to guess and realize that I had to listen VERY carefully.

Later on I was puzzled because the question had a Character we have not learned. Yes. So I do not know if that was the correct answer, or the wrong answer (because the question was so fast I couldn't understand it). Further later on they used a grammar structure that we have not yet learned.

Another part of the test was giving directions. We had a simple map showing 4 buildings and were expected to tell how to get to the building. Last quarter we were allowed to write our answers. This quarter however, we had to RECORD our SPOKEN answers. They have never required this before.

The first question was "Where is the school?" I answered "The school is next to the Post Office" (it was) and then I got confused because the other 2 questions asked things like "From the Store, how do you get to the bus stop?", etc. And so I added to my answer assuming the question was SUPOSSED To say "How do you get to the School?" Needless to say I was unprepared for this turn of events and on one of the questions ran out of time. However, I got most of my answer verbalized so I hope its ok.

One section I could not remember at all, however, I remember that on the test for that Chapter I did quite poorly. That is also the section that Friday I am going over with my Tutor. So perhaps we should have reviewed that sooner.

There is hope however. As soon as we started the test the teachers were up at the front of the room discussing because they had not seen the test before hand and evidently were quite angry about the changes and the material that was not appropriate for our level. I even spoke to my teacher about all this immediately after the test. She said she was also upset and would talk about it in clas tomorrow. To illustrate how mad I was, When I spoke to my Teacher I didn't even TRY to use Chinese.

The one saving grace is that our teacher is the one who grades the tests. If I get a very poor grade I refuse to take the same material over a third time (I'll be fine repeating the last 6 chapters, but not all 10, especailly since the last 3 chapters are the ones that I had the hardest time on). I will argue to be placed my next term based on the average grades of my in class chapter tests. From the moment the first question was asked I was thrown off my game psychologically and there was never any time to recoop that because of the timed nature of the exam.
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peters_mompeters_mom on November 12th, 2008 11:34 am (UTC)
I'm sorry, Peter. If the teachers were surprised who writes the tests? Didn't they know the format had been changed?
Peter (柯益友)peterintaiwan on November 12th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
There is a curriculum and testing department that writes the test. There are small changes made every term to the test, but I think the teachers were surprised that there was a lack of repeating the question and some other things. I will ask my teacher more tomorrow.
Baby J: GIRkishuku on November 13th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
Hey, I'm going to print this for our testing and assessment department as part of collecting feedback on the Achievement Test. You mind?
Peter (柯益友)peterintaiwan on November 13th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
If you would like to. Just copy and paste it into word so its more anonymous, I'd feel better about it that way. But know that if my score is very bad, they will most likely find out who wrote it cause I'll become the unhappy ugly American.

Our teacher talked a little about it in class today. Evidently, the test was written by someone who has new(?) and has never written a test before and has never taught so they are unfamiliar with the vocab. So we in essence were guinea pigs. Oh the joy.

Further, instead of having one concrete correct answer, many of the questions also had answers that could ALSO logically have been correct. So the teachers will be grading it accordingly (i.e. if the answer key lists "B" is correct, but "A" could also be an answer, both will be accepted). One of the questions from the listening comprehension was related to eating at a restaurant and what was ordered (1 bowl of vegetables, 1 bowl of something, 1 fruit, 1 chicken soup, etc.) Evidently the question asked how "dishes" were ordered. The correct answer expects 3. However, there are 5 "things" ordered total. And for various reasons (based on the actual question asked and the 3 choices offered for answers) our Teacher said logically all 3 answers were acceptable. Also the sections for the listening comprehension were quite long and the teachers recognize that we probably could not remember everything.

Our teacher is grading the test today and tomorrow will give us the results and go over the tests in class. All the teachers were quite upset about this, and I am sure the testing and assessment department knows because the teachers asked for justification as to why the questions were the way they were.