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Cambios en los exámenes de Young Learners de Cambridge English

Si eres profesor de los exámenes Cambridge, seguramente sabes que los exámenes de Young Learner (Starters, Movers and Flyers) van a cambiar a partir de enero de 2018. Para obtener más información, asistí a un seminario online organizado por Cambridge Language Assessment y Cambridge University Press.

Fue muy informativo y pensé que para algunos de vosotros un resumen sería útil.

¿Por qué van a cambiar?

Cambridge Language Assessment quiere actualizar los exámenes para que sigan siendo relevantes (la última revisión fue en 2007), incorporar nuevas estrategias de aprendizaje y hacer que los exámenes de  Young Learners tengan más similitudes con los demás exámenes Cambridge.

¿Cuáles serán los cambios?

En general:

  • Examen de speaking – El rango de nota ahora será de 0 a 5, en vez del actual 0 a 3, para poder dar información más detallada sobre el nivel real del alumno.

Starters:

  • Examen de listening – Habrá una nueva parte 1 que será muy parecida a las partes 1 de Movers y Flyers donde el alumno tiene que identificar una persona en una imagen.
  • Examen de reading & writing –  La parte 1 ahora incluirá los sustantivos plurales además de singulares y la parte 4 será un texto parcialmente basado en hechos reales.
  • Examen de speaking – Se les preguntará a los alumnos su nombre. La parte 1 ahora será una mezcla de las antiguos partes 1 y 2. Además, habrá una nueva pregunta “Tell me about this box”. Cambridge ha dicho que se espera y se acepta respuestas de una sola palabra y que si los alumnos tienen dificultades, el examinador les hará más preguntas para ayudarles.

Movers:

  • Examen de listening – No habrá el elemento de dibujar en la parte 5 y la parte 3 será más parecida a la parte 3 del examen de Flyers.
  • Examen de reading & writing – Habrá menos preguntas en total. La parte 2 actual ya no estará. Se cambia también el orden de los ejercicios para que vayan del más fácil al más difícil. Habrá una nueva parte 6 donde el alumno tendrá que hacer y responder preguntas además de escribir frases.

Flyers:

  • Examen de reading & writing – Habrá un nuevo ejercicio de writing al final del examen donde el alumno tendrá que escribir una postal o un correo electrónico corto.

¿Qué recursos hay?

Pronto tendremos nuevos exámenes de muestra (sample tests) además de las listas de vocabulario. Nos darán carteles para el aula y nuevas actividades a partir de abril, seguidos por nuevos vídeos de speaking en agosto.

También habrá más seminarios online y presenciales para los profesores desde febrero de 2017 hasta mayo de 2017. Si eres profesor de exámenes Cambridge en España, puedes encontrar una lista de seminarios aquí.

Cambridge Webinar: Changes to Young Learner Exams

If you’re a Cambridge Exam teacher, you probably know that the Young Learner (Starters, Movers and Flyers) exams are changing as of January 2018. To find out more, last Thursday I attended an online webinar run by Cambridge Language Assessment and Cambridge University Press.

It was very informative and I thought some of you may find a summary helpful of what the changes will be.

Why are things changing?

Cambridge Language Assessment want to update the exams in order to keep the relevant (they were last reviewed in 2007), to incorporate new learning approaches and to better align the Young Learner exams with the other suite of Cambridge exams.

What changes will there be?

In general:

  • Speaking exam grade bands will now be from 0 to 5, instead of the current 0 to 3, in order to provide more detailed feedback to students and teachers.

Starters:

  • Listening exam – There will be a new part 1 which closely replicates listening part 1 in the Movers and Flyers exams, where the child will have to identify a person in an image.
  • Reading & Writing exam –  Part 1 will now include plural nouns as well as singular ones and part 4 will be a semi-factual text rather than a riddle
  • Speaking exam – Students will now be asked their name. Also, part 1 is going to be an amalgamation of parts 1 and 2. There will also be a new question “Tell me about this box”. Though they have stated that one word answers are expected and acceptable and that should a student struggle, additional questions will be asked by the examiner to help them.

Movers:

  • Listening exam – In part 5 there will be no drawing element anymore and part 3 will be a reflection of part 3 in Flyer’s exams
  • Reading & Writing exam – There will be fewer questions. The present part 2 will no longer be included. The task order has changed so that they will now run from the easiest to the hardest. There is a new part 6 writing task where the student will be asked to ask and answer questions as well as write sentences.

Flyers:

  • Reading & Writing exam – There will be a new writing element at the end of the exam where students will be expected to write a short postcard or email in order to give them ample practice before moving onto the KEY level.

What resources are available to me?

There are new sample tests coming soon in addition to word lists picture books. Classroom posters and activities will be available as of April, with new speaking videos to follow come August.

There will also be more webinars and seminars for teachers running from February 2017 to May 2017. If you’re a Cambridge teacher in Spain, you can find a list of seminars here.

Calling all FCE and CAE teachers – new resource!

I’ve had a problem for the past couple of weeks. One of my FCE classes has been impossible to motivate. They’ve been tired and fed up and totally unable to concentrate. Not only were they not interested in what they had to learn in the course book but also the class felt like it lasted all day instead of it’s hour and a half slot.

After searching and searching and trying new and different tactics to shake them up a bit and get them involved, I finally found a fantastic resource which has helped create some good atmosphere in this class while at the same continuously practicing for the FCE exam.

I stumbled across Gosia’s Lesson Plans Digger blog a few weeks ago and have been implementing her gamified Word Formation exercises with these kids and it is slowly but surely getting them more engaged with the tasks at hand and making them more confident especially in this area.

We’ve especially enjoyed the word formation card game where all you need is some pieces of paper and a couple of die. As a teacher, I can’t tell you how great it was to see them leaving with a smile and actually laughing in class again. I think we’ve got our rhythm back!

Gosia’s blog is really fantastic and she has lots of great ideas for CAE as well as FCE and I can’t wait to try them out in class.

English Book Club – improve your reading skills and so much more

Not to state the obvious, but if you’re going to reach a high level in any language, you have to read. But reading not only helps you for the reading parts of an exam, but it can also help in many other areas such as:

  • Grammar retention
  • Vocabulary retention
  • Fluidity (if you read outloud)
  • Pronunciation

Personally, I’m a huge advocate of reading. I love reading and try to do so as much as possible. Hence why I set up the English Book Club in my current school. I’ve found it’s a great to boost student’s confidence in reading, of course, and also in speaking and listening. As the students have to read the passage before the group meeting and then comment on it during the one-hour session, they lose that fear of speaking and they improve their listening skills by actively taking part in a debate. It’s fantastic to see everyone improving week on week.

If you want to improve your reading skills but there’s no book club near you, try picking up a book. But how do you choose? Well, there are 2 main elements to bear in mind when choosing a book in a foreign language. Firstly, it should be suitable to your level. Cambridge have created a fantastic series of graded books so you can choose exactly the right level for you. And secondly, it should be a story that interests you, otherwise you’re not going to enjoy the book very much.

Moreover, once you have the book, make sure you read little and often. It’s much better to continuously improve your skills than to try and cram it all into one day. Another tip, which helps a lot of my students, is to read outloud. Yes, it will take you longer to read, but through reading the words and saying them outloud, you can increase your fluidity, improve your pronunciation and practice grammar patterns you may not otherwise use.

I hope those tips are helpful! Happy reading!

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