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  Weekly Feature: (June 16, 2002)


Certificate Tests: A Teacher's Commentary
Brad's Weekly Feature

Once again, students have written a large number of (more than one thousand) certificate tests. For the most part, students were successful in passing, but not without some bumps in the road.

Complicated Conjunctions

One area of concern I (and many of my colleagues) noted was in students' knowledge of FANBOYS. What's that, you wonder? This is a mnemonic to help you remember your English conjunctions: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So. 

On the English 7 and 8 Certificate Tests, for example, students were asked to use the conjunctions to create a compound sentence. One conjunction—for—gave students a lot of trouble. You know what? It means "because." Thus this sentence: "I went to the store, for I wanted to buy a large chocolate bar."

 Note, also, that when used as a conjunction in a compound sentence, the comma is necessary (I lost count of the half marks I took off for failing to include that comma!) If you want to review FANBOYS, see these worksheets: Coordination and Subordination; Coordination and Conjunctions

Read the Instructions? No, I'm in a Hurry!

Repeatedly, teachers noted a failure to read instructions carefully . For example, in the English 10 and English 9 Grammar, students were asked to circle the incorrect part of a sentence (or "no error"). However, many students provided corrections as well, thus wasting lots of time. Interestingly, many (if not most) of the corrections were, themselves, incorrect!

Grammar? That's Easy (Or is it?)

New this term was both a reduced focus on grammar in our tests AND a new way of testing. From English 7 through 10, students read ten sentences with four possible errors underlined (and a fifth possibility: no error). 

Students did not do well at this. Many English 7 and 8 students failed this section, as did those in English 9 and 10.

As you know, each student is required to purchase (and complete) an extensive overview of grammar in their Language Power Workbooks (C through H, depending on your level). However, many students shrugged their shoulders before the test when I asked if the book had been completed. Often, I was sure the text had not even been purchased!

What all students should know is that all the grammar tested on the tests is thoroughly reviewed in the language books. This term, I hope students will improve their scores by taking one simple step: completing their workbooks (and seeing the teacher for areas that are causing difficulty). List of Workbooks used for each level.


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Weekly Feature Index (Includes all 2002-2004 Weekly Features with descriptions)


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