Once and for All!…

I cannot believe my last post was in August!… It is probably a sign that I was way too busy to write… indeed I was! Fall brought several contracts with various Departments and, consequently, I am back on the road… I still have many online students but I have to share them with Angèle because I waste quite some time on the road every day!…

What is new in the SLE testing department?… Not much except that lots of people are being tested all the time. Since most entry level positions now require levels BBB, more candidates have to be tested at some point in the hiring processes. Of course, the new Reading Comprehension test led to a wave of panic… before, no one really cared about this test, which was relatively easy… today, it is a whole different tune… we also have to prepare our trainees to take that exam… as if working on the Written Expression and the Oral tests was not enough! Well… it keeps us busy I guess!

Before I start talking about something that has been bugging me for a while now, I would like to let everyone know that Seema finally got her C in oral after several attempts! I am very happy for her because she had lost her zest lately… she was craving to go back to work… after too much time spent into boot camps!

Congratulations Seema!!!

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No words can accurately describe such a stupid process!

Okay… I will try my best to soften my language here, though I am tempted to be blunt. Am I angry? Indeed… I am!… For the mere reason that I do care about my trainees’ fate. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the majority of language trainers/coaches out there! Hey! more often their students fail to get their required language levels, more work for them!… Yet, with all the cuts in the Departments’  language training budgets, I know that some schools are now starving… they always disdained part-time and short term contracts in favour of extensive contracts… well, now, they are less picky! Some of them even lowered their hourly rates by up to $10… but it does not bring them more contracts… I did not change anything to my own practice and contracts are pouring in… now, employers are making their choices based upon quality and prices are less of a concern. Lowering rates means lowering  teachers’ salary (which was never high to start with), therefore many language providers’ staff are probably less qualified than before.

But I am not here to discuss the fate of the numerous language schools in Ottawa. I am rather interested in the fate of all these people who need to meet the language requirements of their positions and who became the victims of a vicious system.

Of course, there was the introduction of the new reading comprehension test at the beginning of August… something that is now making people more miserable than ever… at least, before, they were able to concentrate their effort on preparing for the written expression and oral tests… now they also have to try and better their abilities to read (well… what am I saying here? it is anything but a reading test!) in French…  Seema who now needs CBC after having achieved her BBB took the test again a couple of weeks ago: she said it was a real nightmare and she did not have enough time to finish the 60 questions… of course she missed the C… And, now, even Francophones with an exemption in oral proficiency cannot get their levels in both reading comprehension and written expression in English… they are now looking for training and most of them write to me in English and their messages are flawless! So… what should I conclude???… and do I have to add that there are no samples of the new test to practice with on Campus Direct? Great!!!…

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It is coming on July 30! Fasten your seat belts!!!

Do I have to mention that I have been overloaded with work lately?… I think I did not write a line in the past two months and, believe me, it was not due to me being away on vacation!  I do no longer know what a vacation is indeed!…

I really do not know what is happening because, usually, there is less language testing in the PSC during the summer… yet, this year, there is not respite. If I had to guess, I would say it is probably due to baby boomers’ massive departure from the work force. Therefore there is an urgent need to replace them! Whatever the reasons are, it is real and I am busier than ever… Many of my trainees were tested these past two months and they all got the  levels they needed to comply with their job position requirements (or even higher). It would be too long to name them individually in this post, therefore I will congratulate them all in one sentence:

Congratulations to everyone!

It has been a rumor for many months but, now, it is official: there will be a new version of the reading comprehension test as soon as July 30… Instead of 65 questions, there will be 60 but the time (90 minutes) will be reduced to 80 minutes… consequently I do not describe this as a bonus! Apparently there will be five more questions at the end (which will not count) and candidates’ answers will be used for statistics purpose!?!

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