First and foremost, assessing English language skills should encompass as holistic an approach as possible. For this reason, the students were required to complete a Stage 7, Stage 8 and Stage 9 English examination. These examinations allowed assessment of both comprehension of fiction and non-fiction content and personal writing of both fiction and non-fiction extracts.
The results of these assessments were analyzed to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement.
Benchmarking involved setting clear standards and expectations, and defining what proficiency levels were required at each Stage. Benchmarks serve as a reference point, ensuring that students' progress is measured against established criteria, in this case, Cambridge English standards.
After assessing and benchmarking the students, a progressive programme of English was devised, allowing the students to be placed on appropriate learning pathways. This meant tailoring instruction to suit the students’ specific needs. Those who require additional support can access remedial lessons or even attend extra classes.
Ongoing assessment and adjustments are crucial. Students' needs and abilities can change over time, so the importance of regular re-evaluation of their progress and necessary modifications to their learning pathways need to be emphasized.
The process of assessing, benchmarking, and placing Lower Secondary school students on the correct learning pathways in English is a dynamic and essential part of education. It ensures that every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential and provides a foundation for lifelong language skills and academic success. By continuously refining and adapting this process, students can thrive and excel.
The purpose of this accelerated course is to provide a foundation in essential language skills and concepts, ensuring that students have a strong grasp of grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension before they begin their senior high school years. The transition from junior to senior high school can be challenging for students. An English accelerated course can help ease this transition by familiarizing them with the increased academic demands and expectations, including more complex tasks, longer essays, and a broader curriculum. In addition, the familiarity and skills gained from an English accelerated course can reduce the stress and anxiety that students might feel when faced with the increased demands of high school coursework.