Case study: English language preparation for EU presidency (SK-PRES)


English assessment goal:
 Measure the English proficiency progress of employees.

Test takers: 600 employees of governmental ministries and institutions in two rounds
Duration: May 2014- October 2015

Tags: Placement test, Language audit, Progress tracking
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Holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is one of the mosEU presidencyt important and demanding tasks arising from EU membership. Each EU Member State holds the Presidency for six months on a rotating basis. During that time, national governmental representatives prepare and chair the meetings of permanent committees and those of around 200 working parties and committees that focus on specific areas. Naturally, a good command of English language is a prerequisite for successful handling of all these activities.

The Slovak Republic was selected to hold the Presidency from July 1st to December 31st, 2016. Two years before, a preparation started. Selected civil servants from various departments and ministries had started attending the English language courses in order to improve their English language proficiency level. For the measurement of their progress in English, organisers deployed the TrackTest English assessment in companies.
At the beginning of the course, students took the TrackTest English proficiency level test. Based on their results, they were assigned in the English classes. At the end, they took a test again in order to measure the English language progress they achieved.

Challenges:

Project Start: Placement of students in the classes based on the entry test results

Administrator invited students to the English test via e-mail. They completed a test during their spare time in the office or at home. In the first week, almost 700 tests were completed. Thanks to the TrackTest automated rating system, the course administrators from the English language institute got the English tests results immediately and were able to place students into the classes with no delay.
One class had the maximum of 12 students. Students with the proficiency A2, B1 and B2 had 90-minutes lessons twice a week. Proficient English users with C1-C2 levels attended 180-minutes lesson once a week. Students took English lessons mostly at their own premises.

Project End: Exit exams and progress measurement

After 12 months of English tuition, civil servants had been invited via e-mail to take the TrackTest English proficiency test again.

English-tests-project

600 students completed 2.000 tests  in 12 months. The final assessment was interrupted by the summer break.

Results

The total  improvement was impressive. After the completion of the English course, the students improved their English proficiency by 14 % in average, which is almost one CEFR level ! The progress was noticeable across all governmental institutions.

English progress per institution

All institutions improved their English.

 

English progress per ministry

Only institutions with more than 9 students are displayed here. Total is calculated for all students.

Their average English proficiency level was at the lower C1 at the beginning. After the course, it was at the pass threshold for the C2 level. A progress was measured with the TTS score, a universal TrackTest score calculated across all the levels, with max. 1200 points.

Topic weaknesses analysis
Students ended the course with the relatively balanced profile, with no extreme weaknesses in any particular topic or grammar category.

Weaknesses analysis

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