Cambridge English Exams and Certificates at Laude Fontenebro School in Moralzarzal
The following information has been compiled to inform both parents and students as to why we offer the Cambridge Exams to all our students at different stages of their education at LAUDE Fontenebro. The fact is that our relationship with Cambridge Exams goes back approximately twelve years and it is our wish to summarize and explain in simple terms why we have come this far. In any case, one can simply find everything there is to know about these exams online, for example on the Official Cambridge English Language Assessment website.
It is important to note that for us, as an educational institution our main interest lies in that as we prepare our students for these exams we are guaranteeing that they develop real-life English skills, which basically means they come in contact with real situations and language content in the language they are learning. And equally important is the fact that the Cambridge Language Assessment organization provides external assessment proven to be accurate, fair and recognized by universities and companies worldwide.
We are now beginning to understand in Spain that the Cambridge English language certificates open doors to higher education, improve employment opportunities, and increase choice for study or work. In fact it was recently announced that the higher level Cambridge English exams (including Cambridge First, Advanced and Proficiency) will continue to be accepted for visa and study purposes in the UK, Australia, USA and Canada. IELTS, which is another exam certificate aimed at university students and professionals (also produced by Cambridge English) can also be used for UK visas and immigration. It is therefore vital that we continue to encourage our students to prepare and sit these exams, even after they complete their secondary studies with us.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Understanding the Levels and Results.
All the Cambridge exams we offer in primary and secondary are targeted at specific levels of ability, and each level always represents a new challenge. These exams are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), and it is used around the world to describe learners’ language skills. The CEFR describes foreign language proficiency at six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 as the following diagram shows.
The first thing that should be pointed out is that the lower-main suite exams (KET and PET) and upper-main suite exams (FCE, CAE and CPE) now have new names. There are, however, two other interesting facts that need explaining. The first one is that when a candidate achieves a Pass with Distinction (in Cambridge KEY and Preliminary) or an A (in Cambridge First, Advanced and Proficiency) the respective certificates now clearly state that the candidate has shown ability beyond that level and/or CEFR level. In other words, a Cambridge First certificate may now show for example that a candidate has successfully passed the exam with an A and therefore qualifies at the B2 level, but has also shown ability at C1 level. Along with the new English Scale, candidates can clearly see how their English measures up, and how close or far they are from the next level.
This new scoring system named Cambridge English Scale is in fact the second piece of information found in the table above we would like to draw your attention to. It has been conceived to provide a more detailed report so as to better understand the official statement of results issued to candidates. And so, results for Cambridge KEY to Proficiency now include the text type and standardized numeric grades, and the new numeric score (Cambridge English Scale) which allows you to identify your level more accurately. Below are two real examples of the new statement of results reports two of our students received in July 2015. The first one is a Cambridge Advanced report and the second one is a Cambridge First report.
Exam results like this began to be issued for the upper-main suite exams in 2015, and similar result reports will be issued for Cambridge Key and Preliminary in 2016. The fact is that with the new English Scale, a candidate's performance and language proficiency can now be measured more accurately and therefore this score will become the new reference. What is more, According to Cambridge, candidates who achieve the same English Scale score in different exams, will show a comparable level of ability.
In primary we offer the Cambridge Young Learners Exams: Starters in Year 2, Movers in Year 4 and Flyers in Year 5. The Young Learners exams are aimed at young primary students, and as Cambridge puts it, Young Learners tests introduce children to everyday written and spoken English and are an excellent way for them to gain confidence and improve their English. The fact that candidates do not fail is a welcomed change for such young exam candidates, and as a result they can concentrate on doing the test the best they can without feeling unnecessary pressure. And so they focus on a reward system, whereby their goal is to be as good as possible in English in order to be awarded as many shields as possible. There are five shields they can score in each of the three papers of the test, which include Reading and Writing, Listening and Speaking. Out of a total of fifteen shields, eleven would be considered an excellent personal achievement.
Please, click on the following link to find out more about the Young Learners Exams.
You can also peruse a hard copy of this document in our school. Just ask in reception, and a printed copy will be kindly offered upon request.
Cambridge English Young Learners - Information for candidates and parents.
In Year 6, our primary students are introduced to a more challenging exam when they prepare for Cambridge English: Key (KET). However, as our school is constantly adapting to the ever increasing level of our students' language skills, we are now studying the possibility of bringing forward these exams by one year, and, as a result, introducing Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) in Year 6 some time in the near future. These two exams comprise the so called lower-main suite exams and they represent a significant academic challenge compared with the Young Learner exams.
In secondary we currently prepare our students for Cambridge Preliminary in Year 8 or 1 ESO. The preparation for Cambridge First begins in Year 9 or 2 ESO, and this preparation usually lasts more than one course due to the higher academic demands of the level. The preparation for Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency is usually left for the final two years of secondary, or are offered on an individual basis for other year levels.
The fact is that as our students advance through our new bilingual programme and demonstrate better language skills every year, we regularly make changes to our Cambridge preparation scheme. In secondary, we too, are studying and planning to introduce our students to the upper-main suite exams in lower year levels. There is no doubt that soon more and more of our students will be confident Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency candidates.
By no means this will be the last time we will publish information regarding the Cambridge exams in our school. It is our aim to keep you well informed. We have no doubt these exams promote language learning that benefits our educational institution in many ways. We appreciate your support and hope to see you in one of the official exam sessions in the summer.