Assessment tools to support your adult students’ journey to proficiency

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Pearson English Assessment tools

Learning a language is a life-changing journey, and as a language teacher, you’re in the privileged position of making that journey with your students. You’ll have the opportunity to see them developing new skills, growing in confidence, working towards their ambitions and widening their horizons. 

There will be some stages of the journey that your students will undertake independently. And there will be others where they will need your support and encouragement to reach the next milestone. Assessment is one way of driving your students forward. It gives them a destination to aim for, and measures the progress they’ve made. But which assessments are the best to support your adult students along the way? At Pearson, we offer a number of assessment tools that can make the journey easier. 

Step 1: Place your students 

Before you even begin your classes, you need an assessment tool to find out each student’s level. This will help you make sure that they are in the right class and working at a level that pushes them but is still manageable. 

Students who are working at a level that’s too easy for them quickly become bored. But placing students in a class that’s too difficult for them can undermine their confidence and cause them to become discouraged. It’s therefore important to get an idea of a student’s level before planning your classes. 

Placing students accurately can be a challenge, especially at the start of a new term when you have a high intake of new students. Using an efficient and easy-to-use test minimizes the effort involved and lowers the risk of human error. 

The Pearson English Level Test can be taken in just 30 minutes and gives instant results. It’s aligned to the CEFR as well as the Global Scale of English (GSE). Best of all, it uses adaptive technology to adjust the questions according to the student’s answers. This ensures it offers just the right level of challenge and, also, that it’s different each time a student takes it. 

Step 2: Benchmark their progress

As you work together with your students, it’s important to assess their progress on a continual basis – this allows you to track how they are getting on and adjust your syllabus to suit their needs. 

By working at the edge of their abilities – and sometimes by stepping outside their comfort zones – they’ll make progress quickly and feel both stimulated and challenged. Measuring student progress also allows you to target your teaching and make the most of valuable class time with your students. 

Armed with in-depth information, you’ll be able to tailor your lesson plans to work on the skills that your students need to practice, without wasting time reviewing areas where they don’t need it. 

Pearson English’s Benchmark Test is course-agnostic. That means it can be used with any course or program. It measures progress across the four skills. The scores are based on CEFR levels, as well as on the GSE which allows for the measurement of small increments of progress. 

Another option for both level and progress testing is the Versant test, which offers an easy way to check students’ level as well as measure their progress. This test is most often used by educational institutions, corporations and recruiters looking to hire new candidates.  

Step 3: Certify their skills

The third stage of your students’ learning journey is certification. Students often need to certify their skills for work, immigration or educational reasons. Aiming to pass a test will also further motivate your students, giving them a goal to work towards. 

PTE General certificates are recognized by hundreds of schools, universities and government bodies all over the world. The test measures real world skills, such as using English to write messages, read articles and participate in conversations. 

It tests all four skills – but the focus of the exam is to ultimately assess a candidate’s ability to communicate in English, rather than their knowledge of exam strategy. It has two parts, a written paper and a spoken section, and tests across all levels of proficiency. 

For more information on test dates and centres, along with lots of preparation resources, have a look at the PTE General homepage.

Discover more articles about preparing learners for PTE General. 

Step 4: Verify their level 

Students often begin learning English with a specific goal in mind. Sometimes they need the language for professional reasons, to fulfil the requirements of a certain role or job. Others want to move abroad, either to study at an English-speaking institution or for immigration purposes, so they can live for an extended period of time in a country where English is the main language. 

If that is the case, your students will need to gain a qualification that is trusted by universities and governments as proof of English language abilities. 

PTE Academic is widely recognized around the world. It offers a flexible, unbiased assessment of your students’ language skills, and provides them with a detailed score report that verifies those skills. 

Help your students prepare for PTE Academic with these free resources. 

For more information on any of these assessment tools, head to the Pearson English Assessment page, where you’ll find details on each test you can share with your students. If you have any questions, leave us a comment below. 

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