Tests and assessments are essential in assessing student strengths and weakness, providing grading and feedback, motivating students, measuring student performance, carrying out curriculum evaluation and refinement and more. For second language education, testing and assessments are especially helpful in building student fluency, as tests and assessments ultimately allow students to apply their knowledge and conversational skills against a concentrated scenario.

The XpressLab platform is a unique digital language assessment platform that makes it easy for teachers to integrate multimedia elements, such as audio sound clips, student voice recordings, images, video and more, directly into tests and assessments. The platform makes it easy for educators to create a wide range of exam types, which students are able to complete using their student account. Assessment and test results are then automatically recorded within the platform, making it easier for educators to evaluate and track each student’s achievements.

In addition to a wide range of digital and multimedia tools, XpressLab also includes two built in testing tools designed by pedagogy specialists:

1.  Mastery Style Tests

The premise of mastery learning recognizes a student’s understanding of a subject as a constant and time as a variable. One of the approach’s many advantages includes putting students, rather than teachers, in the leading role by allowing students to set their own goals and manage their own time. This approach allows students to become actively involved in their lessons and assessments.

One of the key elements of mastery instruction involves administering formative or practice tests at the end of each unit. Practice tests do not count towards a grade, but are used as a way helping students and the teacher identify strengths and weaknesses.

With XpressLab’s built it mastery style tests, teachers can easily create practice tests that allow students to record their own audio responses. With mastery style tests, students are invited to re-record answers to test questions until they are satisfied with their response. Teachers can incorporate audio clips of correct answers, which students can then use to compare against their own answers. Because XpressLab is a digital platform, students can work at their own pace and on their own time, giving students access to course material outside of class hours.

2.  Timed Tests

Timed tests are especially helpful in second language education as students are required to actively apply their conversational skills in a simulated situation. Times tests are proven to address fluency and comprehension by improving student reading rates and reading accuracy.

XpressLab’s built in timed tests allow teachers to easily develop online tests that require students to answer questions within a pre-set period of time. By adding pre-recording audio or video clips with a timed test feature, teachers can evaluate language fluency in simulated real-life situations, simulated interviews or typical conversations.

XpressLab also includes a number of built in assessment types that teacher can assess, making it quicker and easier for teachers to develop robust online tests that help students develop language fluency and reading comprehension. Teachers can incorporate the following built in assessment types:

Vocabulary Recognition:  Use a picture related to a vocabulary item to help provide a context for a question or create a “What is this?” question to determine whether students have learned vocabulary in the target language.

Group Composition:  Divide students into small groups and have them work together to prepare an oral student presentation. Students could help each other with vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation in the process of preparing and recording their presentation. Each student may record a portion of the presentation. XpressLab allows each student to record his or her part, press “pause” and then pass the headset to the next student until all parts of the presentation have been recorded. The final recording is played back as one continuous audio file. Students learn from each other and they have fun working together

Cloze Exercises:  Use a text passage in which one or more words in a series of sentences are left out. The assessment type requires students to demonstrate their language competency by completing the sentences with words that make sense.

Written Responses to Oral Questions:  Ask students to listen to a recorded passage and then summarize in writing what they had heard, or invite them to respond in writing to oral questions about the passage.

Oral Recording Prompts:  Use oral recordings as question prompts. Try recording a portion of a class lecture and require students to respond to questions about the lecture or give a summary of what they heard.

Thematic Questions:  Ask questions related to a theme presented in class using a picture prompt.

Reading:  Questions could be used to measure students’ ability to read aloud by using a text prompt rather than a picture prompt and asking students to read a word, a sentence or a short passage they saw on their screen. To assess students reading comprehension, ask students to read a passage and then respond to questions or summarize in their own words what they had read.

Dictations:  Record a series of words or a passage that students would have to write on a sheet of paper. Students would submit their dictation to the instructor for marking.

Situational Questions:  Record questions about a situation suggested by a picture or text prompt. For example, if try using a picture of two people at a table in a restaurant, and asking your students to indicate what they thought the people were going to order or what they might be talking about.

To find out more about how XpressLab can help your students develop language fluency, strengthen reading comprehension and ace their next test, visit us online at www.xpresslab.com or contact us directly at sales@xpresslab.com.

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