Protocol for Level Tests

First of all, you want to give the student a big Scrambled Eggs welcome. This should be a positive, friendly, happy experience! They aren’t sitting a formal exam. We want our newcomers to go away feeling excited to start their course.

Typically, when the student arrives they will have a conversation with one of our admin staff who will complete the top half of the level test form.  This usually takes around 15 minutes, after which the teacher’s part of the test will begin.

If the level test is online, the admin will send the student a Zoom link with you in CC. Online, the teacher does the first part of the level test and lets the admin enter the room after 30 minutes. Be sure to be punctual! It’s extra important for level tests as this is the first impression that we are giving the students and it could be the difference between them deciding to take a course with us or not. The admin will join the waiting room during the teacher’s part of the test. You don’t need to let them in immediately. You should let them enter the room after 30 minutes or when you have finished your part of the level test. The student should already know that they will first speak with a teacher and then to an admin as the student receives an email explaining the procedure before the level test. However, it’s a good idea to briefly explain that the Italian admin colleague will be joining after 30 minutes to answer any practical questions the student may have about the course.

The teacher should use the Notebook file ‘Level Test’. Explain to the student that you will have a little conversation to understand what we need to focus on in the future. Go through the slides with the student, speaking slowly and clearly.  As you go through the slides, take note of any particularly interesting things that a student says. Take a look at these examples:

In the ‘Note Test di Livello‘ box, you should write down in quotation marks any particular good or bad things they say or any bad habits. ‘My sister live in Roma’ (no s, for example) and highlight the mistake. Likewise, draw attention to any good things they say. ‘Ronaldo is furious’. ‘If I hadn’t studied economics, I would have studied art’.

For the key grammar points in the bottom left box, give the boxes a clear tick if you believe they are already comfortable using that grammar point in speech. The admins also send homework before they start the first lesson. The level test teacher indicates which topics to send exercises about by circling those topics.

Tick = Comfortable
Blank = Nothing or weak
Circle = The topic to send for homework.

In the vocabulary box, indicate whether their vocabulary is above, typical for, or below their overall level. Perhaps give an example word or two e.g. ‘Didn’t know ‘shirt’. Knew ‘kick’ and ‘bridge’’.

For fluency, indicate the speed, comfort and clarity with which they speak. Were they nervous? Hesitant? Super confident? Smiley?

Give a level. Try to be more specific than simply ‘B1’. You could describe a student as B1.1-9, or low, mid or high B1.

Finally, if there are any additional key points you would like to note, feel free to jot them down on the back of the level test sheet.

Of course, you don’t have to do every slide – if they are clearly an A1 student you can skip the stuff that would just embarrass them or reformulate the questions into something easier. Likewise if they are clearly a high level student (B2/C1), ask them a few off-menu questions (3rd conditional, past perfect, questions such as ‘If you hadn’t studied X, what would you have chosen instead? How would your life have been different? How would your life have been different if you’d won the lottery when you were 18?’).  The final slide is only necessary for students who wish to prepare for the Academic IELTS.

It would be great if you could notice a specific area which a student would need to study first. If they are weak at comparing things or making the second conditional for example make a note of that, or if there’s a particular student they remind you of in terms of level that would be great to know. If there’s a specific set of slides or a lesson that you think should be the starting point for that student, note it down. Feel free to add anything you think could be interesting for a teacher to know or would help us plan the course.

Finally, be sure to give the level test to one of the admin staff at reception. If you have completed the level test online, send the document via Slack. You can send a Word document which the admin staff will print out and store for future use.