Thursday, January 04, 2007

Practice Tests

I should have taken a picture of the little darlings today doing their practice tests. My seniors--12th graders are getting ready to take the "English Bagrut," national final exams.

It's a complicated process since there are three, oops! four tests to the test. Does that make sense? OK, to make it more complicated exact, there are three levels to English testing, and three written tests to each level.

They are known by their old labels, 3 points, 4 points and 5 points. In those days if a graduate wanted to go up a level, they needed to take the entire exam again in the higher level. So the "powers" decided to "go modular." Now there are a slew of tests to be done. A, B, C are 3 points, needed for a minimal high school diploma, C, D, E are 4 points, considered minimal for university application, and E, F, G are 5 points. There's also a required oral interview, and half the points for that are based on how well the student can discuss a "project" they've done in English.

The result is that instead of just testing them in their last year of high school, we spend a good portion of the last two years dealing with testing. I must admit that I only teach English in the 9th and 10th grades. After that my priority is getting the kids ready for "bagrut."

Some of you may be wondering why davka in January? Isn't the end of the year, the prime testing time in June? We are in the northern hemisphere, right? Well, with all the tests we now have the option to use a "winter test time."

So today, I joined my boss, the English co-ordinater, as we gave a shmorgesbord of tests to the seniors in two consecutive testing sessions. We used photocopies of old "bagrut" tests.

Honestly, I had a good time.
One reason--I didn't have to prepare and teach difficult classes.
Two--the kids were great. This is my favorite class. They were serious and well-behaved, especially my students. They've sure improved over the last year. If you would have told me a year ago that I'd be writing this, I would have thought you nuts.

I guess we never should give up on them; one never knows how they will turn out.


Anonymous said...

Good luck in the upcoming bagrut! Our 135 12th graders had the oral exam yesterday - it went well but I am exhausted. Now on to the bagrut ....
(And maybe I'll try your soup today. it looks wonderful!)
sara g

muse said...

135 in one day?!
How many testers?
You need a vacation!
Good luck to you, too!!
Tell me how the soup came out!