My experience is that most exam boards offering SfL ESOL
qualifications, especially reading and writing papers, are not reliable for a
variety of reasons.
In contrast, Cambridge may be expensive and not that
flexible but at least you know that it is true assessment with papers written
and tested by professional experts in this field - you will not find errors in
their written papers.
Unfortunately, for accreditation/funding purposes it's
'easier' to use other boards, which, it could be said, sometimes bring the
whole subject of ESOL into disrepute. By that I mean that, as we know, teaching
ESOL well requires a high level of skill (as with all language teaching) as
opposed to teaching 'softer skills' or certain other subjects, which use such
exam boards. (This may be controversial but in one establishment where I
worked, most colleagues - non ESOL teachers - would offer to cover most
classes/subjects apart from ESOL because, as they admitted, they didn't have
the necessary skills/specialism.)
As regards Trinity, entering candidates
online is hard work and it's virtually impossible to get any support when you
need it. Their written papers tend to have errors, which sometimes they'll
warn you about eg early July's E3 Reading paper: tell candidates not to answer
Qxx. Did anyone have candidates taking early July's E2 writing paper? - the
first question, by all reports, seemed to be very confusing if not impossible.
When learners and tutors have worked so hard, for often as long as an academic
year, they should at the very least be confident enough to believe that the
exam which is taken, and qualification awarded, is from a professional and
I honestly don't know what the answer is, and will be
interested to see if someone comes up with a workable (or even ideal!)
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