Konkuk University in Korea is renowned for its academic excellence and innovative teaching practices. With a history that dates back to 1946, it has grown to become one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
We had the opportunity to speak with Frank Bennett, a professor in the English and Culture Department at Konkuk University. With over 20 years of experience teaching in Asia, he has a deep understanding of the challenges that students and educators face when it comes to assessing English language proficiency.
Frank explains what led Konkuk University to join British Council EnglishScore’s Approved Partner Programme, and how they’re now accurately testing students’ English and tracking their progress throughout their time at the university.
Currently in Korea, the main way to evaluate university students’ English ability is through traditional English tests which do not effectively measure and track all four skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing).
“The lack of a reliable English testing system also makes it challenging for students in Korea to see their own progress over time,” explains Frank.
The external test Konkuk University used prior to EnglishScore also made it difficult for professors to maintain control over the test and ensure the results are accurate and valid. Moreover, it didn’t provide a representation of ‘real world’ English ability. “Companies are often surprised by their employees’ inability to speak English, despite scoring highly on tests widely used across Korea,” says Frank.
Konkuk University joined British Council EnglishScore’s Approved Partner Programme to accurately test incoming students across all four skills and track their progress over time.
“The dashboard allows for real-time tracking of students’ progress, making it easy to see which areas need improvement and to provide extra support,” says Frank. “We now use EnglishScore’s mobile test to assess first-years at the beginning and end of each semester and to keep a progress profile for each student.”
This has enabled the English and Culture Department to have a baseline for comparison and monitor their students’ ability across key skills and subskills, with all results available in their dashboard. This means professors across different departments have access to the student’s scores.
By rolling out EnglishScore to students, the University aims to improve learning strategies for both students and teaching staff.
“With a good knowledge of where they’re improving, and most importantly, areas that require improvement, students are able to self-teach more effectively and teachers are able to better support their development on an individual level.”