Sunday, March 7, 2010

Apex English: Placement Testing

(PICTURE: Welcome to Apex English! Yes, mom, that's my bike and helmet.)

Before students can be assigned a class at Apex, they must take a placement test. I designed a test that evaluates students grammar, reading comprehension, writing, listening and speaking skills. Out of the seventy university students who expressed interest in our school, about thirty signed up for a placement test. This ratio was actually better than I had originally expected. On top of that, there were about another twenty students who contacted us to take the test.

I conducted the placement tests over a three day period. Out of the fifty students who were supposed to come in for the test, only thirty showed up. Yup, people were dropping like flies. This was okay though because my original goal was to get thirty students.

The skill level for the prospective students was across the board. There were some beginner students all the way up to some who were nearly fluent. This presented a problem in trying to organize a class that had enough students of the same level. On top of that, I had to try and coordinate people's available times to learn. This was not an easy task. With Huyen's help* we determined a class time that would suit the majority of the people of around the same level. After calling more people and telling them the time of their class, even more people dropped out. Right about this time Ben August became Negative Nancy. Luckily Huyen is one of the most positive people I've ever known and she told me that all would be okay. She reminded me that this was a new business and it would take time for word of mouth to spread. Well, we officially booked our first class with eight students (plus two free loaders: Huyen and Linh). After the first class a few more people came to take placement tests and three more have since joined the class. So officially, the first Apex class has 11 students! It's a start...

(PICTURE: These aren't students. They're just the guys who hung the Apex sign.)

* I can't overstate how helpful Huyen has been throughout the process of starting the school. I actually shouldn't even use the word help because she basically does everything except the testing and teaching.