With the holiday season approaching, it’s good to add some fun into teaching to keep your students engaged and motivated. We’ve created 12 simple classroom activities and tips that you can carry out with your primary class to encourage them to be good.
Which exam is right for my students?
A guide to the Pearson assessment suite
Are you stuck on which English exam or test to offer your students? You’re not alone – there are lots of different assessments to choose from and it’s often hard to see how they are different and why you should select one over another.
We’re bringing it all together in this handy guide to help you decide which English language assessment is right for your students.
Exams for young learners
Language exams can be quite daunting for your younger students, especially if they’re taking them for the first time. That’s why we think it’s important to ensure what they have to do is interesting, fun, and motivating.
English Benchmark and Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners exams are designed with this in mind, so let’s take a closer look at them both.
Who it's for: This assessment is aimed at young learners aged between 6 and 13, and who have Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels between pre-A1 and B1. English Benchmark is a great tool for teachers who want a simple way to assess the English abilities of their classes at any stage of the year.
With individual reports produced quickly after completion, parents and teachers can quickly see where their children are on the Global Scale of English (GSE) or CEFR. This can help assess their readiness for the next step, such as the Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners exam.
What it tests: English Benchmark aims to assess a student’s competence in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing (with the exception of Level 1, which does not test writing). It covers five different ability levels, with three tests per level.
Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners
Who it's for: This test is for young learners who are again aged between 6 and 13, and whose CEFR levels range from pre-A1 to A2. It is available in over 40 territories worldwide, and at different times of the year.
Upon completion, the learners will be able to take pride in receiving an official certificate from EdExcel, the UK’s largest governing body for academic qualifications.
What it tests: International Certificate Young Learners focuses again on integrating all four of the main skills and these are divided over four ability levels – Firstwords (Level 1), Springboard (Level 2), Quickmarch (Level 3), Breakthrough (Level 4). It focuses on completing realistic communicative tasks throughout, giving them a great first experience of official assessment.
Spread out over two separate written and speaking parts; the learners are encouraged to talk effectively about their own lives, rather than simply reciting grammatical or vocabulary structures. This includes activities such as board games and picture matching.
Exams for adults
There are many reasons why your students may need to take a language exam. Some adults need proof of their level for work or university, companies may wish to analyze the abilities of their staff, or individuals may be keen on pursuing a personal goal.
Whatever the motivation, choosing the correct assessment is crucial. By checking out the summaries below of all our assessment options for adults, you’ll be sure you’ve picked the best one.
Pearson English International Certificate
Who it's for: Pearson English International Certificate (PEIC) is designed for adults of any level who use English in a variety of daily activities, such as with work, at university or socially. As a result, we’ve ensured that the content of PEIC is suitable for learners in any part of the world, age-appropriate, and available at various times of the year.
With its widely recognized Ofqual accreditation, PEIC is excellent for those needing a general English certificate for their work or higher-educational institutions.
What it tests: Throughout the six-level options, ranging from A1 (beginner) to Level 5 C2 (proficiency), authentic materials regarding specific themes are frequently used to assess all four key skills.
Learners will complete tasks related to note completion, letter or email writing, and speaking role plays, along with defending a point of view at higher levels. This reinforces the PEIC as an exam which best suits those who complete everyday tasks in English.
Who it's for: If your learners are looking for reliable, unbiased proof of their English level for immigration or studying abroad, then the Pearson Test of English Academic is perfect for them. Widely recognized by governments for their visa application processes, and multiple leading universities such as Harvard University in the USA, PTE Academic can be found in over 50 locations globally.
In addition, the exam is 100% computer-based, can be accessed over 360 days of the year, and can be booked only 24 hours in advance. This suits students and professionals who require more flexibility and benefit from the results being available after only 5 business days.
What it tests: PTE Academic uses the latest Artificial Intelligence software. This means students can be confident that they’re given an unbiased grade for the four main skills they are tested on. The initial speaking and writing sections assess your learner’s abilities to produce responses to questions and scenarios using academic English.
This theme continues through the subsequent listening and reading sections, where candidates complete various tasks such as interpreting information, reordering paragraphs, and summarizing a spoken text.
Who it's for: Pearson’s Versant tests are designed for businesses that require a simple, quick and reliable way to assess the English competence of their current or prospective staff. Furthermore, they suit educational institutes that require an efficient way to evaluate the English capabilities of their students before, during, or after their courses.
What it tests: The suite of four different English exams is tailored to suit different requirements, depending on the client's needs. Ranging from 17 to 50 minutes in length, the skills tested will vary from a specific written (Versant Writing Test) or spoken focus (Versant English Test), to the Versant English Placement Test and Versant 4 Skills Essential which integrate all four skills.
Speaking tests are also available in additional languages including Arabic, Dutch, French, and Spanish for dual language programs.
All Versant tests are fully automated, and available online or offline throughout the year. This means that you’ll be able to access the results immediately afterwards.
Who it's for: If you work for an educational institute and need a way to efficiently deliver, mark and administer a placement test for new students, then Placement is perfect for you. Our adaptive software means this single test will generate questions depending on your student’s previous responses, and therefore is suitable for beginner to advanced level learners.
This results in a single, fair and unique testing procedure, along with reliable GSE and CEFR grades upon completion.
What it tests: Placement is a 50-minute, computer-based assessment that tests the students on a wide range of topics, including the four skills, plus vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. Using real-life English content reflecting life in the classroom, students complete tasks such as choosing the correct word or phrase, error correction, dictation completion and describing visuals.
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In the fast-paced world of business, there is one undeniable fact that holds true: employees are the key to success. Their commitment and expertise propel organizations towards their objectives, which is why investing in a learning culture is essential. The advantages are numerous and include improved staff retention, increased productivity and the goal of higher employee engagement.
You may have heard the term learning management system (LMS) at work or perhaps during your time in education. For many, this throws out images of clunky, outdated systems that clumsily distribute course materials and are tough to use. But that is no longer the case. Modern LMS's are far more user-friendly, and it's time to relearn what you thought you knew about these tools.
In this ultimate guide, we will look at everything you need to know about learning management systems and why they are so beneficial.
What is a learning management system?
The idea is that these LMS platforms offer one central place for users to manage and access courses and learning materials. Depending on the user, this could be anything from self-paced e-courses to classroom training.
This can help facilitate a range of training, studying and skills development, as well as assessments, exams and certification management.
Who uses LMS's and why?
There are many great uses for learning management systems but these are used primarily by businesses and educational establishments. Here are some of the most common use cases for these platforms:
HR and management - The HR and management team might implement these across the business to help with learning and development and make sure that organizational goals are being hit
Employee onboarding - Those starting a new job may be given training via an LMS; this can make the onboarding process much quicker and simpler
Compliance training - Lots of roles require compliance training, for example health and safety training, and this is a great way for businesses to stay up to date and ensure everyone complies with regulations
Customer support - Some businesses use learning management systems to onboard customers or clients. This might include sharing user manuals and product guides. Plus, sales professionals might also use them to train new partners or clients in using their services or platforms.
Classroom learning - Lecturers and teachers can create and share course materials and align content and tests from one place. These can also be used to put a twist on traditional classroom learning.
Blended learning - Schools, colleges and universities may use these for online lessons and blended learning, particularly for remote students
Volunteer training - Charities and non-profits may also use an LMS to educate volunteers and keep them motivated about the cause
Of course, these platforms can and will be used in other ways, but these are some of the most common and beneficial uses for LMS's.
Who has access to LMS's?
In most cases, learning management systems will have two primary user groups: administrators and learners.
Administrators are the people who create, manage and deliver e-learning. They may use these platforms to upload their own learning materials, or they may select courses and materials from an existing list given by the provider.
On the other hand, learners are the professionals or students who will use these platforms to train, study and gain new skills. Many modern LMS's allow multiple learners to train or access materials at the same time.
However, there is a third and final group that we have yet to mention: the parents of students using LMS's, particularly outside of school hours. In some cases, parents may have access to these systems to support students, track their progress or look at feedback from the teacher.
Key features in modern LMS's
There are a variety of learning management systems out there and some are more advanced than others. That being said, many modern platforms will share similar features to ensure they stay competitive. Some of these key features may include:
Authoring tools that allow administrators to upload or build their own courses
Access to subject matter experts who can contribute to learning and development activities
Automated workflows that allow for the creation of personalized learning journeys
A resources library that holds all relevant learning materials, such as guides, video clips and courses
Quizzes and surveys for a more fun and engaging way to assess learners
Compliance features, such as automatic reminders that notify learners when it is time to retrain
Certificates and diplomas that give learners recognition as they study and meet their targets
Insights and analysis for individual progress and results, allowing administrators to identify gaps or areas where support is needed
Compatibility with mobile devices for studying on the go
Integrations with other internal systems and software
This is by no means a complete list and different platforms will have different functionality. However, these are some of the most common and beneficial features of many modern LMSs.
The benefits of using learning management systems
Saving time and money
First and foremost, an LMS can be an excellent way for businesses to save time and money on training.
Of course there is an initial investment in the platform, but training can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if it must take place in a location outside of the workplace. Therefore, this can be the more cost-effective solution. Not to mention, the materials are quick to access and can save time and effort.
Ensuring compliance training is completed
These platforms are an excellent way to ensure that all mandatory training is completed on time and to the highest standard. For example, industry-specific training such as fire safety or cybersecurity training.
Provide accurate data
Administrators can access data and insights into their employee's learning. This can be a great way to see where more support is needed and to identify any skills gaps that need to be filled. Similarly, teachers can get to grips with how well their students are doing and if they need extra help in any subjects or areas.
Improves the learning experience
Whether in school or the workplace, LMS's can be a great way to improve the learning process. It allows users to study and access learning materials from one accessible location. Plus, through a multimedia approach, they can use guides, videos and more to help them learn. This can ensure they engage with the materials and stay motivated.
Finally, an LMS can make communication between students, teachers, employees and employers far simpler. For example, automated reminders keep everyone in the loop and ensure all training is completed on time. But more than that, there is one central place to communicate, review feedback and access the same materials.