The journey towards English fluency can feel long, but reaching your linguistic goals makes it all worth it. So how do you know if you’ve reached your goals and are moving forward in the language learning process? Or, how do you know if the program has been successful with your employees? Did your English language training program work? Here’s how to tell.
To make an English fluency journey successful, it’s important to measure the progress and see if the English Language Training Program is helping your employees achieve their learning objectives: improving formality in emails, speaking more clearly on conference calls, or simply practicing presentations before they take place, in order to improve confidence and word choice.
While standardized tests are a popular method of measuring linguistic progress, evaluating growth isn’t a one-size-fits-all model, especially when your employees’ goals have no associated test. This post will walk you through some of the best ways to assess the efficiency of your Corporate English Training Program, and help you decide on the right model for you and your team.
Why Tests Are Not The Best Way To Gauge Your English Skills
While tests are a part of the traditional education system, they have been proven to fail language-learning students time after time. UCLA Professor W. James Popham has spent his career exploring the impacts of different instructional methods on student performance and concludes that standardized tests do not work for everyone.
Here are a few reasons why:
Test anxiety Is Real: Many learners suffer from test anxiety, a condition that causes the learner to become incredibly nervous come test-taking time. Standardized test anxiety is a common challenge for English language learners, because they must fully understand the question being asked, grasp what is expected of them, and decide how to articulate their answer all within a time limit.
Some Students Work Slower: Every learner is different. Students read and understand questions at different paces, and some may need a little bit more time to work through a text, analyze its meaning, and produce thoughtful answers.
In recent years, educators and scientists have questioned the correlation between speediness and intelligence and found that how fast we work does not always reflect how much we understand.
Timed tests are often thought to assess fluency, but fluency is much different than memorization. When a student’s progress is assessed in a more relaxed setting, it can help them gather their thoughts and think critically about a subject, as opposed to just wracking their memory for answers. And your employees will likely have time to think about a solution for work, and will not be timed on it, so this is not a good test for how well they will respond at work.
Top 3 Ways To Gauge Whether Your English Language Training Program is Working
As we’ve shown, standardized tests often don’t reflect how much a learner knows.
Luckily, there are other options in assessing if you and your team are effectively learning English. Each of the options below targets either one or all aspects of language learning such as oral, listening, writing, and reading skills. Read on to discover effective and fun assessment methods that can easily be done with your team’s language tutor.
1. Make A Portfolio
To measure progress, we have to reflect upon our learning journey as a whole. A great way to do this is with a work portfolio. A portfolio is a great evaluation tool for your team, as it encourages them to:
- Gather a diverse set of samples completed over time
- Compile their information into an organized format
- Take stock of what they have learned and when they learned it
Portfolio samples can include emails, evaluations, voice memos, presentations and conference calls. Through these samples, you’ll be able to see how your employees’ skills have developed and measure the progress of pronunciation, accent, confidence, word choice, writing skills, clarity of expression and sentence structure. When the portfolio is complete, critique and evaluate this progress with your language tutor and then discuss with him or her how you have grown throughout the course. A meeting with a supervisor or manager is key to see the growth from start to finish as well. We even suggest getting feedback from clients, as they will often notice the biggest changes, since they do not work with the employee on a daily basis.
2. Give Oral Performances and Interviews
It’s common to have anxiety surrounding your writing skills, but this doesn’t have to stop you from excelling in a language. If you or anyone in your team struggles with their reading and writing skills, then consider an oral performance tool. Verbally articulating what you have learned is a great way to assess your accent, public-speaking skills, and confidence in front of a group.
There are a lot of fun ways that your team can give oral presentations such as:
- Mock interviews for hiring or evaluating a team member
- Role-playing leading the meeting or selling a product to a client
- Reciting texts or giving speeches/presentations
All of these assessments can be done in person or online with an online language tutor. After testing your speaking skills, you’ll have a better idea of how you communicate in public situations and what you need to work on for the future.
3. Use a Rubric
A rubric is a great self-assessment tool that clarifies expectations and measures progress for every learner. Consider using a rubric to see if your English language training program was a huge success. Not only can rubrics be used to determine how well you did in a tutoring session, but they can also illuminate your overall growth throughout a class. But what exactly is a rubric?
- A rubric is a predetermined checklist that assesses the learner’s performance.
- It can be used by you, your tutor, and your entire team, to see if you are performing at a certain level and meeting expectations.
To personalize your learning experience, you can create a unique rubric or use the many free templates available online. As “differentiated instruction” pioneer and educator Carol Ann Tomlinson once said:
“Assessment is today’s means of modifying tomorrow’s instruction.”
With rubrics, you can assess if your team has achieved their language goals, and further understand their strengths or weaknesses.
Moving Forward: How Fluency Corp Can Help Your Employees Reach Their Language Goals and the Company’s Communication Standards
At Fluency Corp, we view each learner as an individual with their own challenges, strengths, and objectives. Our team of trained language professionals provides effective, personalized evaluation based on your team’s needs, and our corporate language training programs will help you and your team go above and beyond your fluency goals.
Learning a new language is a process, and we are here to help you not only move through that process smoothly but also have some fun while doing it. If you are looking for a language tutor who can help you and your team reach your fluency goals, click here.