Certificate Tests: A Teacher's Commentary
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.
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,
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
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
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:
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
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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