Don't get by; get on

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The Department for Education and Skills' materials for the ESOL Adult Core Curriculum are a depressing example of how not to do something. I have been given the materials for Levels 1 & 2. My Level 1 students last year were able to take the UCLES Cambridge First Certificate exam. This year where I am currently working, the exam is to be replaced by the Level 1 exam from Edexcel.

One listening activity (page 4) asks students to tick figures when they hear them. Seven are given, including percentages, fractions and ranges. However, there are seven short texts and they only have to tick them. They are not asked to do anything with the figures. There is no testing of comprehension or recall, just recognition. There aren't even any figures that are not heard. The student could actually answer the exercise without even listening to the recording.

At a lower level such an exercise would be fine, but I fail to see how this sort of work will stretch students and eventually get them up to the high standards required for employment and serious study. All in all, I find these materials flimsy and full of unchallenging work.

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