A Guide for Students in the Multicultural University
11. Success with assessment and examinations Obviously students who are working in a language that is not their own will have added difficulties when they have to use this language within the limits of a test. Under such pressure they often find their languages getting mixed up: some students report that they start thinking in a jumble of their own language and English. Others say they misread the wording of the instructions or question in their panic, or they write down only those points they can express in English even when they know they are not really answering the question. (Ballard and Clanchy 1997, cited in Ryan 2000) WHAT IS ASSESSMENT? The activities at university that cause students the greatest stress are assessments, particularly examinations. These cause stress for a number of reasons: ● ● ● They are the way in which you are assessed on how well you have learnt what the curriculum states you should have learnt. Any assessment can cause insecurity as we wonder just how much we have understood and remembered. Failure at assessment items can have a significant impact on self-esteem and the financial resources necessary to complete the qualification you are studying for. They are often time-constrained, such as timed examinations. Even when this is not the case, they have to be delivered at a particular time. Time constraints cause anxiety and can be a practical difficulty if you are being examined in a language other than your mother tongue. Assessment is increasing complex. In most Western...
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