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Posts Tagged ‘admissions’

I work with my institution’s international teaching assistant (ITA) program. The program, like those at many universities and colleges in the USA, is designed to provide language and pedagogical training to non-native English speaking graduate students who serve as teaching assistants for their departments.

Last fall, after testing all potential ITAs for oral proficiency training, our program received many concerned calls from departments whose international students did not meet the minimum English language standards to be TAs. In fact, a large number of the students were well below cut-off in the university’s policy regarding ITAs. Departments were concerned that these students needed funding and now they did not qualify to work as TAs due to their oral proficiency. To put it mildly was a very frustrating experience for many stakeholders.

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Given the University’s need to assess the English language proficiency of in-coming transfer students from the community college system, I was able to continue assessing the effectiveness of our ESL placement test. Earlier this week, a group of transfer students took the new grammar/vocabulary test, as well as the existing oral interview, and a revised writing test. Now that I have additional examinee data, I have been able to conduct an initial item analysis. (more…)

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… it’s worth it.

I just got out of a meeting in which an ETS representative spoke to various admissions staff and ESL faculty at our institution. Having attending the language testing conference this summer in China and then having spent my bus rides over the past 4 weeks reading through a book on the TOEFL validation study (the review will be posted on the robblog soon), I felt very prepared for this meeting. In fact, I was able to answer quetsions about TOEFL that the representative could not, given the extra research I’ve read and conference session I’ve attended. There have been times over the past two months when I have questioned whether my interest and background in language testing would be useful to my current institution, but today’s meeting helped me to realize that to some degree, I am the resident expert on ESL testing issues here, and I can make a positive impact on the quality of our programs.

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