The monsoon is in full force with heavy rains daily (the monsoon will run until at least September) not only does it make it very uncomfortable, but it makes it difficult for the students to safely travel to class, however they regularly show up with great enthusiasm and energy. This week we administered the CEFR test to our 2nd-year students to measure how they compare on a global scale.
Our objective is to get all of our students to at least level B1 by the end of their 3rd year and our more promising students to level B2. With that level of command of the English language, their futures are wide open to them as Myanmar develops. A brief explanation of the CEFR follows.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF or CEFR) was put together by the Council of Europe as a way of standardizing the levels of language exams in different regions. It is very widely used internationally and all-important exams are mapped to the CEFR.
There are six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. These are described below:
A1 (Breakthrough) - A basic ability to communicate and exchange information in a simple way.
A2 (Waystage) - An ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to express oneself in familiar contexts.
B1 (Threshold) - The ability to express oneself in a limited way in familiar situations and to deal in a general way with nonroutine information.
B2 (Vantage) - The capacity to achieve most goals and express oneself on a range of topics.
C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency) - The ability to communicate with the emphasis on how well it is done, in terms of appropriacy, sensitivity and the capacity to deal with unfamiliar topics.
C2 (Mastery) - The capacity to deal with material which is academic or cognitively demanding, and to use language to good effect at a level of performance which may in certain respects be more advanced than that of an average native speaker.
Upon completion of the exam this week, 60% of our 2nd-year students scored results that placed them at levels A2 (28%) or B1 (32%) on the CEFR matrix. The students could not be more excited, and we are very encouraged by their results. For those students that did not meet the level of expertise to score at least an A2 level, we are in the process of revisiting their studies with the intention of getting them to level A2 by the end of the year.
We realize that there is still much work ahead of us and for our students, but we are greatly encouraged and motivated to continue the work of providing the skills that these children will need to escape the binds of poverty that currently enslaves them.
Solomon Shwe Oke (Esther Project Myanmar)
The monsoon has returned to Yangon, which signifies the end of summer for us and our students, as such our students have returned to the Myanmar public school system for their regular instruction during the week, and we continue their English and computer skill training on the weekends. Upon completion of the grading of the student’s test, several of our 1st-year students have progressed far enough along (ahead of expectations) that we have promoted them to the class with 2nd-year students. For our first-year classes, test results are very positive with 82% of our students meeting expectations or above, and 24% of our students are exceeding or far exceeding expectations. Of those who are not yet meeting expectations, most are only slightly behind the rest of the class.
Our 2nd-year students are doing slightly better with 84% of our students meeting expectations or above; with 37% exceeding or far exceeding expectations. To further validate the 2nd year students test results, next week each student will be given an internationally standardized test to measure where they score on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The students are excited to have the opportunity to measure how their English skills compare on a global scale.
Our goal by the end of year three (3) classes, is for the each of our students to be at least the B1 level of the CEFR scale (The ability to express oneself in a limited way in familiar situations and to deal in a general way with nonroutine information.) and hopefully to get some of our more promising students to the B2 level (The capacity to achieve most goals and express oneself on a range of topics.). As a point of reference, an educated native speaker of English typically speaks at a level of C1 or C2. Test results will be available next week.
Solomon Shwe Oke (Esther Project Myanmar)
Our Esther Project, a non-profit program in Myanmar provides vocational training to orphans. We currently serve over 200 children in 29 orphanages in 6 locations.