Teachers find online tests riddled with problems

MALAYSIA - The online English language proficiency test (Cambridge Placement Test) that all English language teachers and English language lecturers took nationwide last year and this year has brought about much trepidation and frustration to the teachers.

Many English language teachers were not too happy about how the test was conducted.

And many fear that they will be called to attend special courses if they do not do well in the tests.

Though the test was meant to be half an hour, some ended up doing the test for more than three to four hours.

This was because of the frequent breakdown of the connecting server and the Internet connection.

Whenever there was no Internet access or connection, the test stopped automatically and resumed when there was access to the Internet.

The test had grammar questions and a listening component where one had to listen (using a headphone) to a recording and tick the correct answer.

There were also comprehension test questions with multiple choice answers.

The text was rather lengthy and answer-ing comprehension questions from a passage on the computer screen was painstaking.

Scrolling up and down the screen searching for the clues to answer the comprehension questions was exhaustive.

Most of the senior English educators who were not computer savvy, had trouble handling the mouse and the computer.

Much time was wasted in trying to make sense of the online test than the test questions itself.

Many fear that they may be penalised based on the results of the online test.

The test results may not be reflective of the proficiency and competency of the teachers.

How a 30-minute online test would be able to measure the proficiency and competency of all English language teachers and tutors needs to be considered seriously and carefully.

There was no Speaking or Oral component or a Writing component in the test.