Encore!!! As A Testing Tool For Language Teachers
One of the most important aspects of any language learning program is testing students’ progress. Testing is one of the best ways to gauge how well a student is learning and comprehending a subject, and when it comes to language it is even more critical. Testing for language learners needs to include ways to know that the language is read, spoken, and understood at the expected level.
As apps begin to take a larger place in the classroom, both in person and online, an app needs to be able to be an effective testing tool. Encore!!! is one such app that is able to step up to the plate and fulfill the need of being both an effective learning and testing tool. We are going to take a closer look at what a language test needs to be effective and how Encore meets these needs for teachers and students alike.
Why Is Testing So Important For Language Learning?
Learning a new language is a task that is incredibly complex. It has aspects that are both verbal, written, and above all interactive. Language is not something that you do alone, and you need to be able to understand and be understood by native speakers. This is where testing comes in. Testing for language learners should be designed to assess progress in each aspect of the language learning process, and ensure that the student is progressing toward each landmark of fluency. It can be best broken down that we test students for a few main reasons:
- Student Placement: Before a student even starts a language learning program, it can be useful to give them a test to see what they might already know. An incoming student assessment can help to keep a student engaged by immediately introducing them to new material, rather than having to retread what they have already learned.
- Meeting Goals: We usually associate testing with meeting goals. There is a good reason for that, as testing is one of the most important ways to know how a student is progressing.
- Helping Students Improve: Sometimes a student is not meeting the expected goals. Having a test that is well designed can help a teacher to see what the student needs help with and how to help them reach their goals better.
- To Assess Your Own Teaching: As much as assessing student progress, testing can serve to show how effective your teaching methods are. If you notice that your students are not picking up on something you taught, or maybe a lesson just was not as effective as hoped, testing can help guide you to finding those problems and craft a better learning plan.
A test needs to have an interactive element. Just looking at a sheet of paper or words on a screen is not going to be able to judge how well a student has mastered a language. A well rounded test should have a variety of different sections assess the student’s progress on multiple fronts.
Language Learning In The Classroom With Encore!!!
Encore!!! is a language learning app that works in the classroom as well as the home. With built in tools that allow teachers to create learning programs for students, it has the flexibility teachers need to help students learn effectively. Encore!!! gives teachers the ability to add that personal touch to their programs and really help their students learn in a personalized way.
Teachers can customize their lessons to best fit both their teaching style along with their student’s learning style. By adding your own audio and text content to the app with the My Entries feature, teachers can use content that their students can relate to (like song lyrics, movie dialogue, and more) to help them connect to the material better. Teachers can also adjust the lessons to better adapt to students who may need some extra repetition, or help with either the verbal or written portions of the class.
What Are Some Types Of Testing For Language Learning?
There are many different approaches to testing students who are learning a language. They all are important for meeting the needs of different classroom environments, teaching styles, and the learning style of students. These testing types can be used both on their own or in conjunction with one another:
- Relaxed Evaluation
This type of test is a low pressure diagnostic evaluation that is best used for helping to find a student’s current level of fluency so you can find the right course for them to take. These tests don’t even need to be called tests. They can be disguised as an exercise or activity, and don’t even need to be “graded”. Have students take them at consistent intervals and use the scores to help guide your curriculum or see who needs some extra help.
- Student Designed
In many learning programs today, the learning is done in a student centered way. It is then a natural progression to have tests designed with student input as well. A student designed test can be done by having students review the material with the teacher, then give their input as to what the qualifications for having mastered the lesson would be. This can be a long process, but it helps to make students feel invested in their own success.
- Task Based Assessment
Task based assessment is best for testing a student’s ability to comprehend and speak a language. This can be done by assigning students to give a presentation or speech in the language, and then respond to questions from the class or a classmate they are working with. By watching them interact you can more easily assess their ability.
- Traditional Testing
This is your standard style of test. For language learning this usually will involve conjugating words in a text, fill in the blank, multiple choice, error correction and other types of written testing that is usually combined with a spoken portion.
How Encore!!! Can Be Used For Testing
Encore!!! has been building robust tools to help teachers, and testing is no exception. Using our tools you can incorporate all of the methods we have discussed above for testing when using the “Social Encore” mode. Teachers can craft a fun and interactive test in the app, share it with their students, and then have the students answer the questions and complete the tasks.
An example of a test made using the Encore!! app could be like this:
- Multiple Choice: A series of multiple choice questions. For instance, you could have a word in the language being learned (L-2), and then a variety of answers in the native language of the students (L-1) for them to choose the correct one from. This could be done in reverse, or with choosing the word that fits into a sentence among other possibilities.
- Fill In The Blank: These questions are used heavily in language lesson tests. They give you a portion of a sentence and you choose the word that belongs in the blank space. A simple yet effective series of questions.
- Error Correction: A series of phrases or sentences that students have errors that students need to identify
- Pronunciation Test: With the Encore!!! app, you can have students read aloud and record a word or phrase on the screen. This lets you be sure they are able to properly pronounce the words they have learned.
- Comprehension: Students can listen to a selected recording and respond to show that they understood what was said. This can be done by answering a recorded question, completing a section of song lyrics, or anything that might show the teacher that they understood.
- Role Play: Recording responses back and forth, responding to each other. Role playing student to student or teacher to student helps show fluency and proficiency in its highest forms.
This is one example of a test that uses many of the discussed types of assessment, but there is so much flexibility to let teachers design the best test for their classroom and students. Even for relaxed assessments, you can create exercises in Encore!!! that will serve that purpose as well.
Encore!!! is an app that can be an amazing tool for language teachers to help them design both courses and tests that help their students to effectively learn. Testing is a vital part of the learning process, especially when it comes to learning a language, and Encore!!! allows for teachers to make effective tests that can be used by students in the classroom as well as doing distance learning.
Apps are changing the way we teach and learn, so being at the leading edge of this revolution in learning will let language schools and teachers get ahead of the curve. That benefits the students by giving them a learning experience that uses the latest methods of learning and new opportunities for success. Schools and teachers can even use Encore!!! to create their own apps and content to share with students. To learn more about our educational tools, contact us at