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Band 4 and 6 tests should not be compulsory | Updated: 2013-08-19 23:28

College English tests Band 4 and Band 6 are not the best way to improve students' ability in English, says an article on Beijing Youth Daily. Here is an excerpt:

December 2013 will see changes made to Band 4 and Band 6 of the College English Test, both in terms of paper structure and question types.

Examiners will pay more attention to students' ability to apply English, canceling the "closed test" form of question. This can hardly affect the difficulty students have in learning spoken English, and will only increase the degree of difficulty of Band 4 and Band 6 tests.

The tests aim to examine the students' learning outcomes in English, which is the second language of most college students. But in reality, the "have-to-pass" tests only lead to test-oriented learning. Once the students pass these tests, many of them won't touch English books again.

In Band 4 and Band 6 tests, students try hard to guess the examiners' way of thinking and master more practical skills to answer the questions in order to get high scores, which can hardly help students improve their English ability. Moreover, solely increasing the degree of difficulty of the tests will undermine some students' interest in learning English.

Therefore, it's high time educational authorities changed the system for evaluating the English-language ability of college students. Simply requiring all students to pass Band 4 and Band 6 tests is not the best way to improve their ability.

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