Introducing formative assessment in Kosovo

How ETS’ testing offer supports English learning from the very beginning.

The first language skills that children develop are mainly in speaking and listening. Based on this observation, S.T.A, ETS Global Preferred Associate for the Balkan region, worked on introducing the TOEFL Primary® Speaking test in Kosovo as a formative assessment tool.

Indeed, the use of formative assessment helps teachers identify strengths and areas of improvement in their students. By collecting detailed information on their students’ skills, educators can then align lessons to their pupils’ needs. For this reason, S.T.A. collaborated with the American Advising Centre to organise the first TOEFL Primary® Speaking test session on March 2nd, 2021, in Pristina, Kosovo.

The TOEFL Primary® Speaking test is a digitally delivered test of English-speaking proficiency for young students aged 8+. The test measures students' English communication skills and progress in English classes in order to provide meaningful feedback about their abilities both to their teachers and to their parents. Composed of 7 to 10 questions, this English-level assessment lasts 20 minutes. The length and content of the assessment are specifically designed to offer an enjoyable testing experience to young learners.

 The English Training Centre has been successfully conducting English classes for young English learners for about a year and, furthermore, they have expressed an interest in formative assessments that could be used to accompany their students in the first steps of their learning path. Therefore, with support and training from ETS Global, S.T.A organised the session at the English Training Centre, American Advising Centre inside of the Philological Faculty.

The test was taken by 6 students, ages 11 through 14, both from public and private schools. When it comes to testing children, multiple factors had to be considered. Firstly, young test-takers need to be introduced to the test in an attractive manner to feel positively engaged and feel at ease. Therefore, prior to starting the test, the pupils had the opportunity to share about their schools, English teachers, etc., so that they would feel more secure and confident within the group. This friendly environment created a positive experience for the children.

Furthermore, the short format of the test helped them to focus and reach the end of the test with confidence. The test results themselves were also positive because everyone received credits for taking part in the test. The TOEFL Primary Speaking session truly offers test-takers and their families a chance to celebrate their English accomplishments. Congratulations to all the children, their teachers, and parents!

We are proud to see how ETS assessments can benefit kids in the Balkan region. English competencies are and will remain key to their academic and professional success. And now with the TOEFL Primary® Tests range, it even becomes fun to assess English levels.

Ines Dika, S.T.A.