Conducting weekly oral exams with VCV
Jun 26, 2020

For the second year, the Czech language school, Vltava, has been preparing groups of students for admission to Czech universities. Young people study in intensive mode - 5 times a week for 4 hours each day in order to learn the language from beginner to level B2 in one academic year and to prepare for entrance exams. The task is not an easy one, especially when it comes to developing spontaneous oral speech skills.

To help students talk and overcome the language barrier, the format of work involves a weekly oral mini-exam: an exam day is set and in-house teachers listen to students in the classroom. With the onset of the pandemic and the forced transition to the online format, everything became more complicated.

What the process looked like before VCV

  1. The school offers students available time slots outside of the study time, because examining one student at a time in a general Zoom conference is irrational.
  2. Students book for a specific and convenient time.
  3. At the appointed time, students and examiners call on Zoom and hold an exam.

This format is not very convenient. Sometimes students have to be reminded several times to sign up; sometimes the choice of slots for examiners is limited; but most importantly, both students and examiners spend much time to prepare and conduct exams.

After the school learned about VCV’s features for schools and educational centers, it decided to introduce new functionality and reformat the weekly oral exams.

What the process looks like now

  1. Students receive a letter with a link to the next VCV module, as well as those topics that need to be prepared in advance.
  2. Throughout the week, at any convenient time, they can take an oral exam in the VCV module: they see those tasks prepared in advance, and those about which they need to speak spontaneously.
  3. At any convenient time at the start of the next week, examiners can review and evaluate student responses.

Advantages of the new format

  • The student does not depend on anyone, and can record an oral exam early in the morning or late at night - both “early birds” and “night owls” study at school.
  • The format is clearly respected, and the exam’s transparency does not suffer at all: examiners pre-set the time for preparation and response, as well as limit the number of attempts by the student so that he/she won’t be able to rewrite any of the tasks.
  • Examiners have the opportunity to accurately and objectively evaluate each student: answers can be reviewed, compared and analyzed. Later, the assessors can make a list of recommendations for each student.

“VCV has significantly improved the quality of our work with students, and we are ready to recommend it to all schools. It seems that such an approach to oral exams can make a local revolution within the framework of a seemingly canonical and unshakable full-time genre.”

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