The importance of measuring ESL student improvement to maintain motivation
As teachers, we all know that if we’ve been working with the same students for a period, motivation can lag. The student’s familiarity with the learning relationship can create a perception that improvement has stagnated. This perception can lead to a loss of motivation, and the cycle perpetuates… To combat this, we believe that measuring ESL student improvement and rewarding it is vital for all ESL teachers.
Whether you’re tutoring a single ESL student or working with class groups, you need a way to measure and reward ESL student improvement to maintain motivation.
Motivation is a key determinant for progress in secondary language acquisition – so it’s important that we work to maintain it!
Measuring ESL student improvement can be time-consuming and complicated
Objectively measuring progress in second language acquisition is inherently difficult. Which skills and competencies should you focus on? Reading and Writing? Listening and Speaking? How do you provide a consistent test so that the results are comparable but the tests do not contain repetition? Finally, how do you report the results back to your students to best maintain their motivation?
Of course, whichever approach you choose to measure student progress, you want to be sure it doesn’t take up too much of your class time. You don’t want to lose valuable time with your students by teaching towards a test. Especially a test that you’ve elected to use as a tool to maintain motivation!
A simple tool to measure and reward ESL student improvement that you can implement today
Our placement test can be assigned to students multiple times. The grammar portion of the test selects questions from a database of 800 questions, so few questions will re-appear on multiple assignments.
When a student sits the grammar portion of the test, we require them to sit through 20 A1 (i.e. beginner) questions, followed by 20 A2 (i.e. elementary) questions and so on (up to a 100 question set). Any two results are comparable even though the question sets aren’t repeated.
The best part about using our placement test to measure ESL student improvement is that the test is easy to deploy. It only takes a couple clicks from your teacher account to assign (or re-assign) the test. We save the results on your student management dashboards for easy access.
In addition, there’s no need to cannibalize valuable class time with test-taking. The test is accessible from any internet-connected device. Students can take the test at home if required.
And what about rewarding improvement?
It’s one thing to measure progress but what about rewarding or certifying it? This is the other half of the equation that is critical to maintaining motivation with your long-term ESL students. Your students will want to receive some form of certificate to notify them of their progress.
It may seem that offering digital stickers is a bit childish, but we can assure you, that your students will be motivated by the recognition it provides.
Last year, we released a certificate tool under our Professional Set-Up. Teachers can now print a branded certificate that links to a student’s placement test results. This is a simple way to certify student progress (under your own brand). The feedback from our teaching community on these certificates has been tremendous. You can read more about these printable certificates here.
Watch this 1-minute demonstration to see the process in action:
Of course, we encourage you to develop your own techniques to measure and reward your ESL students’ improvement. However, if you’re looking for a simple solution to increase motivation this term – please consider our Professional Set-Up here.
How have you been measuring ESL student improvement?
Which measurement tools or techniques do you use? Can you use your tests multiple times with the same students? Do they also offer comparable results? What other techniques do you use to maintain your students’ motivation?