How can tests help or hider learning
I absolutely agree with the idea that tests can help students to improve their knowledge and language skills
Сan plan their subsequent activity; identify their language approximate level; to find out our strength and weaknesses; to make decisions independently
The issue of applying linguistics and language testing in learning process has always aroused heated debates. People have different points of view on this issue. Let’s speculate, however, what stands behind it.
I absolutely agree with the idea that tests can help students to improve their knowledge and language skills. To begin with, by doing tests they identify their language approximate level. As a result, they can plan their subsequent activity. They usually define concrete objectives, goals and start the learning process.
Secondly, certain tests help us to find out our strength and weaknesses. Such tests results direct our attention to specific tasks and rulers. We can practice and do lexical, grammatical, listening, writing, speaking exercises. Furthermore, usually tests have concrete composition format that hasn’t changed from year to year. It gives an opportunity for the students to prepare for the exam in a best way and to fulfill the test tasks to automatism. Also, you should do the test for the appointed time. You learn to control and save your private time. You learn to direct the forces and opportunities to the necessary way. It can help you to reach the right result overcoming your nervousness and fear.
At last, tests teach us to make decisions independently. I think it is a very important aspect in learning. Students learn to rely only on themselves in a choice of the necessary answer.
For us, English language teachers, testing is an objective way of estimation of students’ answers. It puts all students in equal conditions, practically excepting subjectivity of the teacher. Moreover, tests are more volume tool as testing can include tasks on all subjects of a course. It allows to test knowledge of the pupils of all course or a certain section or topic. In addition, testing allows to save our time. We can control many students at the same time.
But sometimes testing can hinder learning. Firstly, doing tests is not connected with creativity. We don’t develop our imagination and fantasy. As a teacher, we can’t estimate our students’ creative potential and talent. Secondly, students have no enough time for the deep analysis of a subject. They are limited in time. Testing results though include information on gaps in knowledge of concrete sections, but don't allow to judge the reasons of these gaps. At last, tests material project is a long, labor-intensive and expensive process.
Fortunately, we have a lot of resources, f.e. the official website “Cambridge English Language Assessment”. In this website, we can find and choose materials for learning and teaching English, Exam preparation, take their quick and free English test to find the best exam for you, lots of free online activities for teenagers and adults.
As for me, at the end of my studying in EF School in Brighton in the UK in 2013, I successfully passed the Cambridge English Exam “TKT”. It was a good chance to develop real-life English skills, make an English language teaching career rewarding, effective and enjoyable.