Young Learner Exams
I was reading quite an interesting blogpost by a teacher in Greece about how too much emphasis is put on exams without the real reason for taking them being clear. I’ve been thinking for a while about Cambridge Young Learner Exams as this is the first year that I’ve worked in a school which offers them – this is actually the first year they are offering them too.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of exam, there are three levels called Starters, Movers and Flyers which are suitable for students in Primary education, though open to all young learners. They test three skills: Listening, Speaking and Reading and Writing. My feelings towards these exams are mixed, but certainly tilting towards the negative.
On one hand, it could be argued that the exams are very motivating and encourage students to continue with similar exams through their education (*ahem* more money to be made if we start them young!). Why are they so motivating? Because students can’t fail the Young Learner Exams. Students are awarded a certificate with a number of shields, ranging from 1 to 5 showing their ability in the three skills.
And there’s my problem. I don’t understand how it can be a positive thing to charge students x amount of euros to take an exam which at the end of the day is fairly worthless. I don’t think future employers are going to be impressed by a twenty-seven year old lawyer who achieved 5 shields in every skill at the age of ten.