The Chilean National English Test: The Years 2001 – 2014
Publication Date: July 4, 2013
BIENVENIDO. Welcome to Chile, my dear friend. More specifically, welcome to international educational testing of English, in Chile. The object of this book is to present as clear an account as possible. It is the historical development of educational testing in Chile with regards to the Chilean National English test.
It is a mixed-genre, story within a story, autobiographical-historical text interwoven into one continuous, developmental narrative, of a teacher and of a nation, Chile.
The aim has been to adapt it to the needs of the great body of busy teachers and learners who have neither the time nor the means to make a comprehensive study, but are earnestly striving to be informed.
This book is informative regarding the facts that are indispensable for an understanding of the theory and practice of modern English Language teaching, learning and testing in a foreign language context.
This is not a new topic, so you might ask: Why this book?
This book is written by a teacher, for teachers, worldwide. It deals with questions of interpreting test results properly, how testing affects teaching (washback), and the inevitable: How to Prepare for the next international exams? (regardless of type, soon it will be time for the next test)
Yet beyond these considerations, there is the historical aspect. In today’s globalized world, it seems we forget things that happened only a decade ago. Thus, we repeat the mistakes of the past, unnecessarily. This book plays a role in remembering what we have done in the past, especially in English Language Teaching, Testing & Learning.
Yet, is this book able to make a contribution? Yes, it is.
Does it provide new knowledge, new insights? Yes, it does.
How? What? Does it matter?
Yes, it matters. Despite the hasty generalization that socioeconomic factors explain why poor students have worse results than rich students, I believe this book has something new to say, the ability to shed a fresh light, from a different, closer perspective than what we have been provided thus far. I am talking about the view from the classroom, the teacher’s “unheard voice” to what has been left unsaid…
Yes, the public, worldwide, is often led to believe that poor children can’t learn. They go to “bad schools”, are taught by “bad teachers”. So the students learn how to be hopeless, have low self-esteem. Hopeless and helpless does not lead to anything good, not with the “bad teachers”, themselves from “bad schools”. Of course, the “bad teachers” went to “bad universities”.
This book opposes the hasty generalization, in a factual, narrative style, based on the author’s personal experience as a teacher and learner in Chile.
Again, this is the hasty generalization, namely, that bad test results is a never ending, perpetual, vicious cycle all explained by one thing: poverty.
We are told that being poor is the cause of everything that is wrong in education…
We have been led to believe that low hopes and low self-esteem, being hopeless and helpless, is our best diagnosis of the ills of education. At least, it seems, this is what worldwide is often the case for the underprivileged masses. They are poor, so we expect very little from them, because it would be cruel to think it is possible to learn if you are poor…
To exemplify, Carolina Schmidt, the current Minister of Education, here in Chile, said, (I paraphrase in my own words): The situation here in Chile is that learning English is a socioeconomic privilege…
I strongly urge you to buy this book. Read this book.
Reading this book will lead you to draw a different, more hopeful, conclusion. Some child’s very future could depend on it…