Principal Ross hosted Coffee Chat for current parents last Tuesday to discuss the topic of Mandarin assessments and answer questions.
We will conduct two formal year-end assessments during this spring trimester to evaluate our students’ level of Mandarin. The primary intention of using a formal assessment is so that we can use the data to track how students are progressing from one year to the next and also in relation to one another as a cohort. We do not intend to rank the children or give parents specific scores, but you will receive some feedback in the comments section of the final report card.
The children have not been told much about these assessments: our approach has been “business as usual.” We do not expect you to prep your child in any way, and we do not want the children to identify the “test” days as being any different from regular schooldays.
1. Chinese Children’s Competency Certificate (CCCC)
The test has a reading and a listening component. Originally we had intended for all of our students — both kindergarten and 1st grade — to be given this test. However, after taking a closer look at the content, discussions amongst the teachers, as well as discussions with other schools that have experience implementing this test, we have decided to administer the first level, called “Sprouting,” to our 1st grade students only. A mock test will be conducted a few days before the actual test so that students can become familiar with the format. The real assessment will be administered on April 26th and 27th.
This is our first year conducting this assessment, and because it was chosen halfway through the year it has not yet been aligned with the curriculum. Therefore we will view this as a trial and will make a decision after conducting the test and receiving the results as to whether it is a suitable assessment tool for our students and our program in the future.
2. Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency Assessment (ELLOPA)
Our teachers will conduct this assessment with their own class over a two-day period toward the end of May. The assessment is conducted with pairs of students and evaluates children’s listening and speaking ability. Unlike the CCCC, which is separate from our curriculum, the ELLOPA assessment has been designed using specific parameters provided by CAL (Center for Applied Linguistics) but based on content taught in our own curriculum. The assessments will be recorded and scored on a rubric. Children will be given a level based on the proficiency demonstrated. There are a total of nine levels (3 main levels and 3 sub-levels) beginning with “Junior Novice Low.” In the first year of an immersion program, we would expect most children to appear somewhere on the “Junior Novice” level from “low to high.” However, since this is the first time we will be using this assessment we cannot be sure how our students will perform and whether their scores will reflect their true ability.
As with the CCCC our main reason for using this assessment is to provide feedback to teachers and the school administration on how our students are acquiring the language.