Good Hope School, Hong Kong
Interview with: Ms. Chermaine Luk, Department Head of English
- School Type: Private, all girls, English traditional school in Hong Kong
- Size: More than 1,300 students from grades 1-12; Secondary section S1-S6 age range 12-18 years old
- Teacher-Student ratio: S3 is 1:30
- The school has high English standards and is one of the top schools in Hong Kong
- ETS Preferred Network: Smart Education, Kevin Chan
What was the initial need to select a third-party test like the TOEFL Junior® test?
- The main driver to use the TOEFL Junior® test was to be able to use this internationally recognized assessment for students, who take assessments seriously.
- Hong Kong is transitioning to the United States learning system.
- The Good Hope School is an English medium school; all subjects are taught in English which helps develop well rounded students. It gives them a great life experience and opportunity.
- By using the TOEFL Junior programme, the school can better understand students' strengths and weaknesses in different skills. It also allows students to obtain an internationally recognized certificate to demonstrate their English proficiency.
Who was involved in the decision-making process to adopt the TOEFL Junior test?
- English teachers, students and parents played an important role in the decisionmaking process in cooperation with the school.
- Vice Principals approve the use of the assessments and then they inform parents.
How did the institution hear about the test?
- English teachers at the school were looking at different options available for English testing, then put together a proposal and submitted it to school decision makers. Following that, it was introduced to students and parents.
- Received brochures about the TOEFL Junior® Standard test through the ETS in-country representative during the summer months.
What were the other options were considered before selecting the TOEFL Junior® test?
- The school used internal assessments based on Hong Kong’s curriculum prior to the TOEFL Junior test.
- Many of the third party tests currently available in Hong Kong were compared to the TOEFL Junior Standard test, which was most suitable for the school’s use.
How were parents a part of the decision-making process?
- The school sent a letter to parents with test information to obtain approval from parents for the students to take the TOEFL Junior Standard test.
- Parents are mostly concerned about their child’s ranking, results, obtaining certificates of achievement, belonging to and attaining a certain range, extra credit toward university, mapping to the Lexile® measures.
- Parents paid the exam fee.
How did the school prepare for the test?
- The school focuses on language skills that are in line with the school curriculum year round, and the teachers have the TOEFL Junior® Standard handbook available for reference.
- When did the school first administer the test?
- The Good Hope School began to administer the TOEFL Junior Standard test in April 2013 with 240 test takers.
What types of changes took place in classroom instruction based on the feedback of the test?
- The school’s English curriculum is in-line with the assessment criteria; therefore, not many changes needed to be made to the school’s classroom instruction.
- Great use of the Lexile® measures and the recommended books.
- The school conducts a class analysis between the curriculum and the test, and the results are valid.
- The score roster is helpful and useful for benchmarking and comparing where students were from last year to this year.
- The students relate very well to the scoring feedback, and the certificates give the students a great sense of accomplishment.
How did the score reports help?
- TOEFL Junior® score reports help provide solution results for the school curriculum. The score reports help teachers and parents understand students' strengths and weaknesses in different areas, and results are used to cater to students' diversity, and group students based on their ability, as well as develop school-based curriculum based on students' needs.
- The score reports helped the school by providing a snapshot of where the students are.
- Score report information and feedback is a supportive document to students on what they need to improve upon.
Since using the TOEFL Junior® test, how has the feedback helped students?
- In addition to the feedback helping the school, it helps the students recognize what they need to improve upon based on international standards.
- Feedback from the test is useful in helping students improve basic Englishlanguage skills and learn more about grammar structure.
How has the TOEFL Junior® test helped teachers with instruction in the classroom?
- Since the curriculum is set for the classes, the instruction hasn’t changed; however, the test is an added benefit to the curriculum.
How does the TOEFL Junior test bring value to the school?
- In addition to the TOEFL Junior® Standard test being an internationally recognized assessment, it gives a well rounded experience to students. It’s a holistic approach to the TOEFL® family of products. Students continue on and take the TOEFL ITP® test in grade S-5.
What was the overall benefit for the school in using the TOEFL Junior test?
- The test gives students better information about their learning level.
- It prepares students for the future and going on to the next level of school, which includes a formal English exam.
- After administering the test for the first time, the results from the test were successful…
- The Good Hope School was well informed about the test structure
- The overall administration of the TOEFL Junior® Standard test is very efficient
- The test results were received promptly
- The test assesses skills and items that students learn in the curriculum
- It gives a clearer benchmark for building future curricula
- In April 2014, the Good Hope School will administer the test to grade 8 and 9 classes with a total of 461 students taking the TOEFL Junior Standard test
Any recommendations for improving the TOEFL Junior® Standard programme?
- The initial time needed for filling out the name and general information on the test is rather long, 14 minutes. By the time the actual test began, the energy level of the students had decreased significantly.