We're now gearing up for the NELP Pre-Test. For those who are interested, The NELP Pre-Test will be given on Saturday, August 23rd. I'm really excited about this year's test.
This year we're taking the test in a new direction. In previous NELP entrance tests, pictures were a big part of the test. The first thirty questions, in fact, had pictures. The pictures made for a visually appealing test, and in some ways I'll miss them, however, there are four major reasons why pictures will not be used in future tests.
One, it required me to draw forty pictures for each test, and quite frankly, it's a lot of work for test that will take thirty minutes. Often those forty pictures were days of work, drawing and redrawing, and I'm really not that great an artist.
Two, picture-based questions tend to lend themselves to identification-type questions: recognizing the difference between a fork and a spoon for example. However, in NELP, it's not really enough for students to be able to simply recognize objects or know a little basic vocabulary. Many students are now able to recognize basic things and know the words for those things in English. In NELP, we're looking for functional communication ability, and that can be better assessed, in my opinion, without pictures through questions that test the applicant's communication ability: the ability to respond to questions, the ability to correctly complete a sentence and so on.
Three, my mid-term and final exams in the NELP program have no pictures, and I wanted a test that would more accurately reflect the kind of tests the students can expect to see when they enter the program.
Four, as I said before, many students are now learning basic English nouns and verbs in elementary school, but that doesn't mean they can actually communicate in English. Our previous tests, to state it simply (no pun intended), were too easy. Sometimes the scores were too close together. I wanted a test that would more accurately put the students on a scale, that would not merely measure whether or not they met the basic requirements to enter the NELP course, but would rather more accurately assess their language strengths and weaknesses in a way that would allow us to determine their language level in relation to the other students taking the test. As we get more and more applicants to the program, since we are only able to accept 15 students to the course at this time, it will become increasingly important to not only know who is capable of thriving in the NELP environment, but in fact who can MOST benefit from the course. This was a major goal.
So, what will the test be like?
The basic structure of the test, and the material to be tested will not change. There will still be three parts:
Part 1: Listening Comprehension
Part 2: Vocabulary and Grammar
Part 3: Reading Comprehension.
Part 1 will now consist of four sections:
Part 1-1: Question and Response (fifteen questions)
Part 1-2: Fill-in-the-blank (fifteen questions)
Part 1-3: Conversation Comprehension (two questions)
Part 1-4: Narrative Comprehension (three questions)
Part 2 will consist of multiple choice fill-in-the-blank questions.
Part 3 will consist of multiple choice questions about a reading.
Things you should know: the basics. Study the basics. For the pre-test, you should know basic vocabulary, basic verb tenses, pronouns, adjectives, possessives, word usage, prepositions, countable and non-countable nouns, and comparatives.
Students should also be able to answer factual comprehension questions and should be able to make inferences based on what they hear or read.
I think this test will be more successful than previous tests.