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State of Israel

Ministry of Education
Pedagogical Affairs
Language Dept.
English Inspectorate

December 2012

What Can We Learn from the Item Analysis of the Meitzav Exams?
Recommendations for Teachers

Problem Access to Information from Spoken Texts

Pupils have difficulty Teachers need to be familiar with the Table of Specifications
understanding the text (which can be accessed: www.edu.gov.il/english). Teachers need
and answering the to explain the format of the test to their pupils.
questions.
Teachers should devote more class time to speaking and listening
activities in the classroom.

Teachers should provide opportunities for pupils to practice


listening skills by using a variety of oral texts of different
lengths, levels of difficulty and a variety of text types.

Teachers should use the CD that accompanies the coursebook


instead of reading out the texts. This will allow the pupils to be
exposed to different accents and different paces of reading. It
will also familiarize the pupils to the specific nature of recorded
speech.

Teachers should have the pupils listen to the audio recordings


from Meitzav that can be accessed at:
http://cms.education.gov.il/EducationCMS/Units/Rama/Aaracha
BeitSifrit/mivchaneymadaflist.htm

Teachers should make sure their pupils are familiar with the
variety of question types e.g. multiple choice, true/false, fill-in,
matching, filling in table and provide opportunities for pupils to
practice them.

Teachers need to teach listening just like they teach reading i.e.
including pre- while- and post-listening activities.

Teachers need to teach connectors that signal organization e.g.


first, second, third, finally, therefore, as a result of.
Problem Access to Information from Spoken Texts (continued)

Pupils have difficulty Teachers should teach their pupils the strategies they can use for
understanding the text answering questions for accessing information from spoken
and answering the texts. Pupils need to:
questions (continued).
 read the instructions before the first listening.
 predict what the passage is about. Read the questions
before hearing the text. Mark the important words. Go
through the questions and predict what the passage is
about. What kind of information is being asked for?
This helps pupils to focus better while they are listening.
 start answering the questions during the second listening
of the text.
 check their answers after the second listening of the text.

Teachers should explain to their pupils that the tone of voice of


the speaker sometimes gives information about the speaker’s
feelings. Teachers need to provide activities for pupils to
practice this by asking pupils to identify the tone of voice of the
speaker(s).

When pupils are listening to a dialogue, teachers should provide


practice in identifying what information is given by each
speaker.

Teachers should explain to their pupils that they should pay


attention to any background noises in the recording. This helps
put what they are listening to in a context.

Teachers should provide a variety of task types e.g. classifying,


filling in a table.

Teachers should break up the listening text into smaller parts so


that pupils can get used to listening and then finding the answer.

For weaker pupils, teachers should start with very short texts and
ask one question. Then teachers can advance to longer texts.

Teachers can read part of a text while having the students listen
for the answer to one question. Stop when they raise their hands
to indicate that they have heard the answer. If they don’t hear it,
stop and start again, emphasizing the answer.

Teachers should have students identify the text type in a short


text before they try answering questions. Discuss the kinds of
things they may hear in each text type.

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Problem Access to Information from Spoken Texts (continued)

Pupils do not answer the Teachers should tell their pupils not leave blank answers.
open-ended questions.
Teachers need to encourage their pupils to answer open-ended
questions. They should explain to their pupils that since no
points are taken off for grammar or spelling they should try and
answer every question.

Teachers should practice open-ended questions with their pupils,


emphasizing key words.

Problem Access to Information from Written Texts

Pupils have difficulty Teachers need to put an emphasis on teaching/learning


with reading vocabulary including lexical chunks. Lexical items should be
comprehension. taught explicitly, recycled and used in different contexts.

Teachers should provide pupils with many opportunities for


reading a wide variety of texts independently. Use a wide variety
of texts of different lengths, difficulty and text types. Texts
should contain at least 95% familiar vocabulary.

Teachers should have their pupils practice the difference between


-wh and yes/no questions and how to identify them e.g. a Who
question requires a name, When can require a time or a date.

Teachers need to help pupils understand the use of reference


words to support understanding e.g. it, this, that these, those

Teachers need to encourage students to read both independently


and extensively; the more they read, the better readers they
become.

Teachers should explain the glossing of words i.e. what the


symbol * next to a word means.

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Teachers need to include extensive reading (Reading for
Pleasure) on a weekly basis in their classrooms:
 Pupils should have 20 minutes to read independently
once a week in class.
 There should be time allotted to have discussions about
what pupils have read.
 To create the necessary conditions for extensive reading,
it is important that schools have a library with English
books at various levels and on a variety of topics.

Pupils look for key Teachers need to teach pupils to use the key words from the text
words in the question, correctly. They should have the pupils highlight the key words in
find them in the text and the question and also in the text.
then copy what comes
immediately after for the Pupils need to read the entire paragraph where the key words
answer. appear in order to find the correct answer.

Pupils do not answer Pupils need more practice answering different kinds of open-
open-ended questions. ended questions. They should know that no points are deducted
for spelling or grammar. Therefore they should try and answer
all of the questions.

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Problem Access to Information from Written Texts (continued)

Pupils have difficulty For reference questions, teachers need to teach pupils to first
answering reference look for the word in the text. They should pay attention if it is
questions. singular or plural. Then they should either go back or forward in
the text. They should be taught to ask themselves: “What does
‘x’ refer to? Teachers should model the think aloud process for
finding answers.

Teachers should be familiar and identify different questions


types that appear according to the Table of Specifications i.e.
literal, integration, and inference and provide opportunities for
their pupils to answer these different types of questions.

Pupils have difficulty Pupils need to be taught the skill of inference. Ideas can be
answering inference accessed on the TLC site: http://tlc.cet.ac.il/ShowItem.aspx?
questions. ItemID=cc091d34-b0c9-4da2-805f-4025e3d203a0&lang=EN
http://tlc.cet.ac.il/ShowItem.aspx?ItemID=19a5b020-9b84-4d70-
a48a-f05c33951b0e&lang=EN

Pupils have difficulty Teachers should provide opportunities for pupils to apply the
answering inference skill when reading different text types.
questions (continued).
Teachers need to point out which questions require the pupils to
read between the lines. Teachers should model the think aloud
process for finding answers.

Pupils have difficulty For integration questions, teachers should explain to pupils that
answering integration after each paragraph pupils should stop and ask themselves:
questions. What did I read? What did I understand? What is the main
idea?

Teachers should have pupils practice how to find information in


different parts of a text in order to answer a question.

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Problem Access to Information from Written Texts (continued)

Pupils have difficulty Teachers need to expose their pupils to different text types and
identifying different text explicitly teach them the names of text types and about their
types and using this characteristics and formats e.g. general features of books: title,
knowledge as needed author, summary, recommendations and where the information
(fifth grade). can be found: on spine, back cover, title page; general features of
letters: date, salutations, greetings, closure, signature,
Pupils have difficulty
introduction, body, end.
understanding the
structure and
Teachers need to help their pupils recognize markers that supply
conventions of different
information about text types e.g. in a book, ‘by’ would signal the
text types and using this
author. In a letter, ‘Dear’ would signal the person being
knowledge as needed
addressed and ‘Yours’ or ‘Love’ would signal the sender. In an
(eighth grade).
email, ‘To’ would signal the person addressed and ‘From’ would
signal the writer or sender, ‘ subject’ would signal the main idea.

Teachers need to expose their pupils to different text types and


explicitly teach them the names of text types and about their
characteristics and formats.

Teachers need to provide activities that will require pupils to


access information that is specific to a certain text type.

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Problem Presentation

Pupils have difficulty in Teachers need to provide opportunities for pupils to write
expressing themselves in sentences/paragraphs in every lesson. This should include a
writing. variety of written tasks differing in context, purpose, audience
and text type that are meaningful for the pupils. It is
recommended to use the Bank of Performance-based tasks that
can be accessed at:
http://cms.education.gov.il/EducationCMS/Units/Rama/Aaracha
BeitSifrit/MaagariMesimot.htm

Teachers can ask their pupils to write only the opening sentence
on a topic using key words that appear in a question.

Both guided/structured and free writing should be encouraged.

Teachers should give pupils tips how to check their writing e.g.
capital letters at the beginning, period at the end of the sentence.

In the eighth grade, teachers need to tell their pupils need to


make sure that the information is relevant to the topic, the
message is clear and organized and the vocabulary is varied and
appropriate.

Pupils have difficulty in Teachers need to put emphasis on simple sentence structure (for
writing accurately. the fifth grade) and compound sentences (for the eighth grade),
including subject-verb agreement, tense, pronouns, articles,
prepositions, spelling, punctuation and capitalization.

Pupils do not know what Teachers should share the rubrics from the Meitzav exam with
the criteria are for their pupils enabling pupils to understand how their work is
evaluating their written evaluated.
work.
Teachers should use the rubrics from the Meitzav exam to
evaluate their pupils’ written work, adapting them when
necessary.

Pupils do not follow the Teachers need to tell pupils to read the instructions in Hebrew
instructions. carefully and pay attention to what tense is being used.