New test for English teachers, students

New test for English teachers, students

Ministry seeks to weed out backpackers

Photo courtesy of Bangkok International School

The Ministry of Education will use a new one-size-fits-all method to assess the English proficiency of students as well as overseas teachers with the aim of improving the quality of English teaching and learning and eliminate unqualified foreign teachers.

Deputy Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said the new guideline, called CEFR-T, will be adapted from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR).

It is used to assess the language ability of candidates with six different performance levels ranging from A1 for beginners to C2 for those who have mastered the language.

However, the CEFR-T will be divided into 10 levels ranging from 1 for beginners to 10 for those who are language experts as it is an adaptation of the original CEFR for teaching English specifically in context from Thailand.

Criteria for each level, including speaking, writing and listening, have been determined. However, the test itself – which will be designed by the Thai Vocational Qualification Institute – has yet to be developed.

The institute responsible for designing the test expects the Ministry of Education to determine the level of proficiency students will need to achieve by the time they graduate.

The test, which will initially be used among students and teachers to assess their proficiency levels, will eventually be available to Thais who wish to know their English language proficiency for professional purposes.

Mr Teerakiat said the CEFR-T will also be used as a criterion to select foreign English language teachers.

“Foreign teachers will need to acquire at least level 7 which is equal to CEFR level B2 to become a primary school teacher. We need to make sure that they are qualified teachers who can really teach, not just backpackers who want to earn a decent amount. money while staying in Thailand,” he said.

Mr. Teerakiat explained that level 1 of the CEFR-T will be equal to A1 of the CEFR while level 2 will correspond to A1+ and level 3 will be equal to A2.

The new system will make it easier for teachers and students to determine their qualification levels.

An initial goal is to help all Prathom 3 and Prathom 6 students achieve CEFR-T levels 3 and 4 respectively within five years.

At these levels, students should be familiar with frequently used expressions and be able to express themselves in English in everyday situations.

“Right now, I believe our students in Prathom 6 don’t even reach level 3,” he said. CEFR-T Level 3 reflects basic language proficiency, familiarity with everyday expressions and the ability to make very simple sentences,” he said.

The goal for Mathayom 3 graduates is to reach Level 5, Mr Teerakiat said.

These students should be able to describe experiences, events, dreams and expectations as well as offer their own opinions, Teerakiat added.

Levels 3 to 5 are considered intermediate levels.

The goal for Mathayom 6 graduates and university students is Level 6, he said, adding that the level means upper-intermediate language proficiency.

These students must be able to understand the main ideas of complex texts and produce clear and detailed English writing. They must also be able to spontaneously enter into a conversation, he said.

Mr Teerakiat said his next plan is to allow foreigners to submit their CEFR-T assessment scores for a teaching license recognized by the Teachers Council of Thailand so they do not have to apply. an exemption to teach without a license every two years. .

At present, the Teachers Council of Thailand only allows foreigners who do not have a degree in education to teach at the school for a period of two years as a waiver and they can extend their education licenses. teachers for a maximum of two waivers or four years.

After that, the teacher must become “fully qualified” to receive a full teaching license by enrolling in a course provided by a private institution to earn a degree in the teaching profession.