ENGLISH TEST: Not a true measure of language proficiency

THE online Cambridge Placement Test has come under fire from many English language teachers. The directive has proposed that excellent teachers in schools and English language education officers at district education offices, state Education Departments and the ministry sit the test first.

The test was held recently nationwide for all English language teachers and lecturers.

Many English language teachers were not happy with the manner the test was conducted. Many fear that they will be called to attend special courses if they do not do well in the tests.

Though the test was supposed to last half an hour, some ended up taking three to four hours to complete the test. Whenever there was no Internet access or connection, the test stopped automatically and resumed when access was re-established.

The test had grammar questions and a listening component where one had to use a headphone and listen to a recording and tick the correct answer.

There was also a comprehension test questions with multiple choice answers. The text was rather lengthy and answering comprehension questions by painstakingly scrolling up and down the screen searching for clues was exhaustive.

Most of the senior English educators, who were not computer savvy, had much trouble handling the mouse and the computer.

Many fear that they may be penalised wrongfully based on the results of the online test despite the assurance given by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

Many teachers feel that they may be victimised by the results of the test which did not measure their true proficiency level.

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