As I often say: NELP exams only get harder. It's natural for grades to go down over time. In fact, it's rare for students' grades to go up. It happens ... but not often. Often a student's English level may be improving even though her grades are going down. It's not for lack of trying. It's just that my class starts out a little difficult and then gets more difficult as we go along. So in general, if a student's grades stay the same, she's probably working really hard and is really learning a lot. If a student's grades improve over time, she's doing pretty awesomely, and if the grades gradually fall, that's kind of to be expected.
That said, I was really shocked at the grades this term. Oh, boy, did they fall. I think in the six years since the NELP program began, I've never seen so many low grades or so many grades that were SO low. I'm in shock. Jaw-on-the-floor shock.
I'm surprised because In a lot of ways, this term was easier than in previous years. The Beta Tests were harder because I reintroduced Language Development, the high level vocabulary questions. They were easier because they had fewer questions. The OC tests were about the same. The first grade Alpha test was kind of hard though. The high school first grade OC test was just ridiculously difficult, but two students still ended the term with very good grades. I was deeply impressed with them. Even the high school students whose grades were not so good ... well, more studying would have been better, but I'm sure they tried.
Overall, the junior high school second graders did the best on their tests. They also had the best homework completion rate and did, as a whole, the best book reports (though I did have some excellent book reports from first and third graders too). I'm very happy with second grade as a whole.
Some of the other students, I think, underestimated how hard the tests would be. Some of them could have studied more.
I see a lot of evidence that many of my junior high students did not study for their OC listening testAT ALL. It would not surprise me if some of them did not crack open their books at all (or even don't know where their Progress in English books are). Note to Mom and Dad: students should be studying Progress in English, on their own time, for homework, on a weekly basis.
I hope to see some higher scores next term. Next week, I'll see my students for our special winter lessons, and their are going to be some very sad girls on Tuesday when I give back the tests.