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What is more important to be able to speak a language or pass a language test?

I don’t understand. I really don’t understand. In Hong Kong, as with most of Asia, there is a huge drive to pass a test. If one passes a test then they are “good.” If they don’t pass a test then they are a “bad.” I agree testing is important. I agree testing is the best measurement of how someone is doing in a certain thing such as math, science, history and so on. Is a test the best measurement for a language? If you pass a test a written and listening test only does it actually mean you are a good “user” of the language?

I think not. If a student can pass a test but not be able to hold a simple conversation with a native user, then there is no point in having the test. If the student knows tones of grammar, via filling in blanks and choosing the right multiple-choice answers, but cannot use it in conversation and actually writing their own piece than what is the point.

In order to adequately test someone’s language ability the student needs to be able to produce the language on their own. It is that test which should be more valuable than a basic test on filling in the blanks and filling in bubbles. I understand why this type of test is not used: it takes too much time to mark. In the end isn’t it the goal of language teachers to help their students be able to produce language rather than pass a test? 

Published in Hot Takes


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