Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 German National Exam: Comments anyone?

I'd like to share a summation of comments on this new online version of the German National Exam with you, which came from Pres. of the MASSACHUSETTS (RI) FLA, J. Douglas Guy....  

(Bold emphasis, paragraph breaks and translations are my own...RSB)

RE:  National German Exam --  Timing

One really has to question why the National German Exam was revised the way it
was, and why the difficulty level increased so exponentially to be nearly
 It is one thing to try and adhere to ACTFL Proficiency Standards and
Europäische Referenzrahmen and construct exams with authentic materials---all
good things to try and do.  It is completely another to be out of touch with
what's the normal proficiency of a second, third or fourth year high school
, write exams that conform to the aforementioned constructs but are so
beyond kids' proficiency levels that they're only going to make them feel
incompetent and stupid, and also make them question what their teachers are
teaching them.

And we're supposed to pay for this?

Yes, I know, this is the first outing for revised NGEs, but when the testing commission gets back to
the drawing board--and they have a lot of redrawing to do-- they had better
include a whole bunch of regular high school teachers from regular high
schools to advise them on what are normal expectations for grades 9-12.  Even
Deutsche Welle offers "langsam gesprochene Nachrichten" 
(News read slowly)
and we have the technology to slow down delivery of authentic speech without distortion, so
why wouldn't we do that? 

Finding authentic video and audio that is within
the range of standard H.S. comprehension is going to be devilishly hard to do.
But this isn't the A.P. exam.  Let's get that straight.  And it isn't a test
to make test writers feel good about enforcing abstract proficiency
guidelines.  This needs to be the test for the high school everyman.  If it
isn't, and this year's wasn't, we have no reason to continue subscribing to
the exam.  
That does no one any good, neither AATG, nor the kids, nor the poor
lone wolf German teacher who is  often fighting against very great odds to
keep attracting kids and keep his/her German program above water.  

There is considerable work that needs to be done on NGE 2014/15. 
An die Arbeit, Leute.
  (Back to work, folks!)

OK Leute.  Sollen wir diesen Examen auch naechstes Jahr schreiben?

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