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Shocking! Test standards in Polish schools.


Stu 12 | 522
26 Jan 2012  #1
My wife is doing a training at the moment, which alows her to mark official tests (examyn gymnazialny, or something like that)

This is one of the examples she's been given:

"Hi. In Saturday I was in new cinema! This cinema is great because it is near the aqua park. I was on movie - "The Pirates of Caraibes", you must go at this movie, because it has interesting music and costiums. When I came at home the car was crash the black cat. I'm not surtitious, but this was very odd history".

The idea was that she mark this essay according to official standards. Now, according to OFFICIAL standards (and I kid you not), this student should get 9 points out of 10.

And this:

"Hi Mark!

I was looked a very good film in My city in new cinema. WHen film was started I think that it will be very board, but next it was very interested. It was sayed about old cars. I was saw first car. Cinema was very well, beaclaus I can buy Popcorn and cola. While I was go home I lend new computer games from my friend. By".

Now this student should get 7 points out of 10 according to OFFICIAL standards.

Am I the only one who is absolutely appalled at the standards here in Poland? I mean, in my time in school I would have been lucky to end up with a 1 out of 10 for writing crap like that.

Seriously, people ... these are the OFFICIAL standards ... I am not joking. No wonder I am getting applicants who don't speak any English at all.

This is S A D !!!!
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
26 Jan 2012  #2
Y'know, despite the errors, I was able to fully understand what the writers were trying to get across.
pantsless 1 | 267
26 Jan 2012  #3
If it is in fact for gymnazjum students, who are 13-15 years old and studying basic English, that's not bad at all.

But I'm sure your language skills were simply off the charts when you were a teenager. What foreign languages did you study at that age? Pig latin?
Richfilth 6 | 415
26 Jan 2012  #4
When I think back to what I could do in French at the age of 15, after 4 years of studying, I'm pretty sure I'd have been able to say " I go yesterday cinema. Film was good. It funny. Then I go home". Anything more than that would have been too taxing.

Sure, these efforts aren't going to pass FCE, but if you've actually tried to teach a class of twenty-five 13-15 year olds, you'll appreciate how much of an achievement the teacher has made getting them to write that much.
OP Stu 12 | 522
26 Jan 2012  #5
Y'know, despite the errors, I was able to fully understand what the writers were trying to get across.

I'm sorry ... that's not what it is about.

If it is in fact for gymnazjum students, who are 13-15 years old and studying basic English, that's not bad at all.

But I'm sure your language skills were simply off the charts when you were a teenager. What foreign languages did you study at that age? Pig latin?

BS!! They have had English for 5 or even 6 years!

Basic English? That's no English at all!

Yes, mine were actually. When I was a teenager I spoke fluent Dutch, fluent German, fluent French, and rather good English and I didn't even had to study for these languages. And yes, I spoke Latin as well.

Stop being so ridiculously defensive. The level sucks! There are no two ways about it.
a.k.
26 Jan 2012  #6
Seriously, people ... these are the OFFICIAL standards ... I am not joking.

Stu, I'm sorry but do you really expect 15/16 years old to speak perfect English? I can ensure you that when I was 15 years old I was no better in English.
Harry
26 Jan 2012  #7
And still Poles try to claim that their matura is the same level as the British A level and thus their magister is the same as a British MA....
a.k.
26 Jan 2012  #8
BS!! They have had English for 5 or even 6 years!

When I was at school my class route to English looked more less like that:

class - book level

5 kl elementary school - Starter
6 kl elementary school - Elementary
1 kl gim - Elementary (continuation) / Pre - Intermeduate (starting)
2 kl gim - Pre - Intermeduate
3 kl gim - Intermediate (not full)

2 x 45 min lesson per week

To have any command of a communicative English one must be at least at First Certificate level (that is more less finish at least the next level which used to be called Upper-Intermediate)

I'm happy that in Netherlands you have better educational standards.

And still Poles try to claim that their matura

Certainly the former matura was.
But even the modern matura resembles A -levels. I've checked your A-level tests and they were the same level according to me.

I spoke fluent Dutch, fluent German, fluent French, and rather good English and I didn't even had to study for these languages.

Oh! I see! You spoke 4 languages since you've born and now you look down on others.
If you never was learning a languge then no wonder you don't know that no one will learn language fluently after even 6 years of study in less than 2-hours per week lessons.

And yes, I spoke Latin as well.

Do they teach you latin in middles school? May I ask what for?

Stop being so ridiculously defensive. The level sucks! There are no two ways about it.

People from at least 2 different countries told you that you're exaggerating so maybe you are the one who is wrong, no?
OP Stu 12 | 522
26 Jan 2012  #9
Stu, I'm sorry but do you really expect 15/16 years old to speak perfect English?

No, a.k. ... not perfect English. But really, in my time my English was seriously much better than the examples I gave you. Especially after 5 or 6 years.

You spoke 4 languages since you were born

No ... of course not. But I spoke Dutch and German by the time I was three (bilingual parents), English came when I was 9 (moved to England) and I learned French when I was 13 (moved to France, later to Belgium).

People from at least 2 different countries told you that you're exaggerating so maybe you are the one who is wrong, no?

And people from other countries are more or less on the same page as me. What does that tell you?
pam
26 Jan 2012  #10
the examples you presented are understandable. the level of english is poor, however i dont know what standard of english students are expected to reach when they finish school in poland. in the uk you study a foreign language from the age of 11 to 16. its only 5 years, and in my opinion its too late to start. i will show one of your examples to a colleague at work tomorrow, just out of interest. would like to know how the uk system would grade it for a comparison.although its slightly deviating from the topic, you would also have to consider how good the teacher is and the ability of the students. not everyone is as fortunate as you are to have an aptitude for languages.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
26 Jan 2012  #11
Do they teach you latin in middles school? May I ask what for?

yes - Latin and sometimes even Classic Greek (IIRC) are taught in high schools (gymnasiums) in the Netherlands - Latin is compulsory IIRC
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
26 Jan 2012  #12
I've checked your A-level tests and they were the same level according to me.

i don't know about things these days, but in my day English Language and English Lit were two different exams. so, it would be difficult to compare English O/A levels with the Matura.

Now, according to OFFICIAL standards (and I kid you not), this student should get 9 points out of 10.

what is the criteria for marking ? in the first text the first problem that i notice is prepositions. that's one problem, not five or six individual ones. prepositions of time and place can be sorted out in a couple of lessons.

each class test and the results say as much about the teacher as they do about the pupil/student.

encourage the student and correct problems later.

i'd probably give the first guy 7/10. spelling is a problem too.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
26 Jan 2012  #13
its only 5 years, and in my opinion its too late to start.

no Pam, it's not - I started learning English at the age of 13 and it was just private classes at first (English was not part of elementary school curriculum and elementary school was normally till you were 15)

maybe Stu is so apalled because he thinks gymnasium in Poland is the same as gymnasium in the Netherlands - you take the final exam in gymnasium when you're 16
a.k.
26 Jan 2012  #14
English came when I was 9 (moved to England)

But really, in my time my English was seriously much better than the examples I gave you.

Oh really? How do you know that? Not everyone was so lucky to be raised in so multicultural enviroment (Ductch and German parents + living in England then in France).

Living in a country and acquiring that way language skills is different and more efficient way of learning languages. You can't compare these two situation (a school course 2 hours per week with living in a foreign countrytherefore learning the language 24h for every single day!)

on the same page as me.

Obviously they did not teach me English enough to understand your metaphor. What do you mean? You mean 'by your side'? That is who exactly?

yes - Latin and sometimes even Classic Greek (IIRC) are taught in high schools (gymnasiums) in the Netherlands - Latin is compulsory IIRC

I had also Latin in liceum (Polsh high school) but it was an idea of my school not Ministry of Education.

maybe Stu is so apalled because he thinks gymnasium in Poland is the same as gymnasium in the Netherlands - you take the final exam in gymnasium when you're 16

That was already mentioned in post #3. I think the problem is that Stu was never learning a foreign language (being taught the language as a toddler doesn't count). He thinks that learning languages is as easy was it was for him
Wroclaw Boy
26 Jan 2012  #15
Learning English and German is easier for the Dutch.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
26 Jan 2012  #16
When I was a teenager I spoke fluent Dutch, fluent German, fluent French, and rather good English

You gotta hate the Dutch :)

But I agree, it is shockingly poor English for such a mark.
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
26 Jan 2012  #17
I'm sorry ... that's not what it is about.

:/ what's it about then?
pam
26 Jan 2012  #18
no Pam, it's not

personally i disagree, but only from the point of view that as it is compulsory in the uk to learn a different language, it should be taught in primary schools, so at least at school leaving age, you have a string to your bow. most uk school leavers probably speak french as well as a 7 year old. what is the point of learning a language at school if you cant even have a conversation at the end of it? gumishu,your english is pretty damn good,and ok you learned it later in life,but not everyone has your aptitude. will be very interested to speak to exams officer at school tomorrow as regards english schhool standards!!!
a.k.
26 Jan 2012  #19
Stu was never learning a foreign language (being taught the language as a toddler doesn't count). He thinks that learning languages is as easy was it was for him

I've wrote that before I had read Stu's reply. Sorry.
But still Stu has not been learning the languages at courses so what he can really know? He has only a vague idea how teaching at schools looks like.

In the past the books for English language were devided into below levels:

- Starter
- Elemnetary
- Pre-Intermediate
- Intermediate
- Upper-Intermediate
- FCE
- Advance
- CPE

8 stages from beginner to almost native fluency.
Almost each level should be made in 1 year (if there are 4 x 45 min lessons per week) - correct me if I'm not right here.

So count how many years of courses one must attend to get to FCE level which is the communicative level?

Almost each level should be made in 1 year (if there are 4 x 45 min lessons per week) - correct me if I'm not right here.
So count how many years of courses one must attend to get to FCE level which is the communicative level?

If someone didn't count it yet - that would take 12 years, if the rate was 2 x 45 min lessons per week. Polish schools despite unsufficient amount of hours seems to make it faster but still I was pretty bored at lessons. The problem is also that kids in gimnazja are on different levels of English (some have tutors, private courses, while others are slow learners and are behind). So what do you expect Stu? Actually have you been ever attending a state school, because it seems you have not.

in my time in school I would have been lucky to end up with a 1 out of 10 for writing crap like that.

In which school? That one in England? Well, that would be nothing weird there indeed, haha
EM_Wave 9 | 311
26 Jan 2012  #20
Do they teach you latin in middles school? May I ask what for?

Here in America, Latin is offered in high school and sometimes middle school. One of the reasons students take Latin classes is because Latin students on average perform considerably better on the SAT verbal section.
a.k.
26 Jan 2012  #21
A dictionary would be sufficient.
In Poland Latin is taught in some high schools, especially those schools which huge part of students consider an option of studing law, medicine and biology in future.
Harry
26 Jan 2012  #22
" But even the modern matura resembles A -levels. I've checked your A-level tests and they were the same level according to me."

I've taught matura. I've taught A level. I've taught at Polish universities. A level is a lot higher than matura.

BTW: there should be two years of 2x90 mins per week between FCE, CAE and CPE.
a.k.
26 Jan 2012  #23
I've taught matura.

of what subject, may I ask? English? What about other subjects?
gumishu 11 | 5,012
26 Jan 2012  #24
Learning English and German is easier for the Dutch.

much easier I would say - but I have met once a young Dutch person who had troubles understanding English (older Dutch people know much less English - I worked for a guy who knew German (just next to the German border) but he knew almost nil English) - if something can tell you how much easier is for the Dutch to learn German and English: I have been able to understand a lot of their conversations after reading a bit of a teach-yourself book and knowing English and German

btw there are a good couple German TV celebrities who are Dutch - they speak German with a slight Dutch accent
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
26 Jan 2012  #25
This is S A D !!!!

I agree. The fact that those students would get such high marks according to the official standards just says everything about the state of education in Poland. I teach gimnazjum students and they are way better then this, however they have been studying English at the state school, as well as in a private one. I find that some Polish students lack writing skills in English, while their reading, speaking and listening skills are on the much higher level.

The marking standards just proves that the Polish education system is not concentrated on the writing skills, which is a shame.

Stu's post is correct. I would be appalled too.
RoughFlavors 1 | 100
26 Jan 2012  #26
^Particularly that English is one of the most useful things they can learn at school, and something they will definitely need to use later in life. There is a different between American teenagers learning Latin (admirable but not critical), and Polish teenagers speaking English, which is a necessary skill these days.
pawian 159 | 9,552
26 Jan 2012  #27
I'm sorry ... that's not what it is about.

Yes, it is. Those kids, despite making appaling errors, are still able to communicate successfully. And that is what is expected of students at the age of 16 - communication, not perfection.
pantsless 1 | 267
26 Jan 2012  #28
Stop being so ridiculously defensive. The level sucks! There are no two ways about it.

What a gigantic ass. I am the one being "ridiculously defense"? I said their level is "not bad". Your response: "waaaahh, the level sucks! no two ways about it! its only my way! nein nein nein! das ist verbotten!". Edit I know this post is going to get canned but who cares.

No, your language skills were not any better. You grew up in a bilingual family or lived in the country where the language was spoken, and best of all, Dutch/German/English belong to one language family. You never had to bust your ass like most students do to learn a language with mediocre teachers, limited real life contact and lessons at most only a few hours a week. What a child.

No name calling.
Lyzko
26 Jan 2012  #29
Frequently though, I've found that Europeans, especially the Dutch as well as the Germans, are so convinced of their admittedly "high" level of English, that they often (arrogantly) assume their skills in English are not merely superior to foreigners' skills in Dutch or German, but even that their English skills don't need much cultural correction/polish etc... While an admirable goal, this simply isn't so, I've found. Furthermore, I'm not even referring to a foreign accent in English, but to idiomatic use and appropriate vocabulary register too:-) There are subtleties in every language, in this case, English, usually unspoken text, which most non-native English speakers, no matter how bloody A-Level their English may be, just don't pick up on. They speak like robotic automatons, parroting the latest YouTube flick, US-informercial, buzz words galore, one after another. Yet something's missing. It's the tip of the iceberg, and their English lacks that degree of historic underpinning required to span the generations. A native English speaker on the other hand, would have no problem with this. Once again, it all comes back to stylistic register. Dutch will directly correct an American who makes even the slightest mistake in Dutch by then switching to English (good English too, on the whole, not broken English, I must say). However, when the Dutch speaker makes an equivalent gaff in English, the latter don't typically either expect or welcome correction. With Germans it the same.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
26 Jan 2012  #30
This is S A D !!!!

Agreed, I would have been sick if any of my 12 year old ex-students wrote English to that standard.


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