Tests and credits in language learning

While it is widely recognized that a genuine interest in a language is the best condition for success, students seems more motivated by tests and getting credits, even if these things do not enable them to speak or understand a language. Is this because they are conditioned by the education system to think that way , or because it is human nature?  I mean, for things that we like to do, tests and credits are irrelevant. Why are they so dominant in language learning at schools and university? Can someone explain?

3 comments on “Tests and credits in language learning


Steve,When I originally began learning languages in school I too was more concerned with credits, and, more importantly grades. I studied the best I could to get that A because the A was so important for college. This especially true once in college because most US universities will award 5 or 6 credit hours per semester for language, making an A much more valuable than a normal class of 3 credits.It was only until after I finished university and traveled to learn the language and then began self study with LingQ that I truly began learning for full comprehension.So in short, I think students focus primarily on credits at school because grades are so important for post graduate school, college, and employment.

As far as learning another language, is concerned, can I put in a word for the international language, Esperanto?Although Esperanto is a living language, it helps language learning as well. Five British schools have introduced Esperanto in order to test its propaedeutic values. The pilot project is being monitored by the University of Manchester and the initial encouraging results can be seen at http://www.springboard2languages.org/Summary%20of%20evaluation,%20S2L%20Phase%201.pdf Your readers may be interested in http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU Professor Piron was a former translator with the United NationsA glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

Steve Kaufmann

I agree that students need the credits for the job market. I agree that people like a reward, any reward. I agree that the test is a measurement of something, although it is not clear what.Students in high school and college language courses pass tests and still fail to gain a useful skill level in the language.Of course, those majoring in a language may be different, but the majority who simply fulfill a language requirement do not achieve any kind of fluency, generally speaking.What if schools measured two things, like we do at LingQ? Passive vocabulary growth and activity level. These can be monitored by computer. The language requirement would be satisfied by achieving a minimum level in words known, and a constant level of activity.This could be supplemented with students submitting a "portfolio" of their best writing assignments and video vignettes of themselves speaking.Beyond that the students would be encouraged to engage with the language however they wanted to achieve these levels.

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