Our recent survey with international schools found that many teachers are concerned that EAL students are at a disadvantage when it comes to identifying needs and potential. However, by obtaining a deeper insight into students’ capabilities, as well as their current and comparative performance, teachers can start to personalise learning according to children’s specific needs.
Our Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CAT4) measures the four main types of reasoning ability that are known to make a difference to learning and achievement. As Emma Dibden, Head of Learning Support at JESS, explains, “CAT4 helps us explore academic potential, and we use the data alongside other tests to check for a disparity between ability and achievement.” As the assessment does not involve curriculum-based material and does not need to take first language into account, it is ideal for use with children with EAL.
Our Pupil Attitudes to Self and School™ (PASS) survey is often used with CAT4 to help teachers understand the often hidden reasons for not achieving their potential. Lucinda Willis, Director of Learning at Nagoya International School, believes that PASS helps them get a sense of where students see themselves: “We can make sure we are creating an environment where they feel confident to take risks in their learning. Ensuring EAL children feel confident is crucial to IB success as a lack of language can quite easily lead to a loss of self-belief.”