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21 December 2004
South Korean Flag

KLB - Level Testing

So, the end of this month will mark the end of the first "semester" with my students. Cathy told me today that we have to give new level tests next Tuesday, and so, "Next tuesday you come one hour early, "Cathy said. I guess it's a demand.

"What for?"

"It's level test day."

"So we're going to change the students around?"

"Yes, right."

"But I know exactly who needs to be changed."

"Oh, good. Who should we change?" I went through and named a bunch of kids who need to be moved down a level.

"Oh, no. That's impossible."

"What is?"

"Students only can move up. Not down. No, never."

"Well, why not? They're in the wrong level."

"Parents don't want."

"Fine, then. So we can move some up?"

"Of course."

I went through and picked 4 or 5 kids who could be changed up a level. "So, now we don't need a level test." We really don't, since I know every student's strengths and weaknesses and a test will be just a waste of time.

"Oh, no," Cathy said, shocked. Somehow I see her ending up just like Brenda from my book, I swear.

"Well, what's the point of the test if they can't go down. C class students can't go down or up then..." (since they are the highest level).

"The parents wanting this test." I'm starting to realize that whenever I disagree with something, Cathy cleverly tells me it's what the parents want. What can I say to that? - I know, I'll say "Bull shit! Get them on the phone right now." Instead I said, "This is my classroom. I am King here. I make the rules. You make the copies. Nobody tells me to do a level test and lives to see the sun come up."

OK, I didn't really say that. I just smiled and shrugged it off and said I'd be there early.

I know that the agency wants to give the test to make it look like we're doing something. The parents will never see the results, especially if their kid does poorly, and the kids will either stay in the same class or move up a level. The problem is, with some exceptions, there are many kids that need to be moved down. Ideally I'd like to keep my second class as is, keeping a lot of the smart kids in it (75%) - moving a few down to class A and a few of the exceptionally smart ones to class C. There's nowhere to go for class C (meaning their level test is a complete sham). But apparently we can't do that without looking bad. So, I'll go in and waste my time giving a level test for show and then have mixed classes again. Oh well. Life could be worse, I suppose. I could be back teaching in a hagwon!


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