A New Publication and the Year of Standardized Tests

So, today’s update will be a personal one, instead of tearing into the literature and reflecting on it and on practice. I’m going to share some recent professional milestones and talk about my year of standardized tests.

First, the good news. My latest publication “Queering ESL Teaching: Pedagogical and Materials Creation Issues” is now available in early view with the folks over at TESOL Journal. It’ll be coming out in a full edition shortly.  This marks my fifth publication since starting my new job at NYU Shanghai, which has included an edited volume on L2 Writing (with Tony Silva, Junju Wang, and Cong Zhang as my co-editors) published by Beijing Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press; a short, peer-reviewed newsletter article on queering L2 writing in TESOL’s SLW News. A book review in the Journal of Second Language Writing, and a full article on online writing labs and L2 writing in the Asian EFL Journal. All-in-all, a successful two years when one considers that my appointment at NYU Shanghai doesn’t include a contractual obligation to do research or to publish.

Second, 2017, besides being the year that American politics hit a new low, is also now officially the year of the standardized test. For me, it is, at the very least. It started in February with the HSK 2; the HSK being the Chinese Language Proficiency Exam. I passed level 2 (advanced beginner) with far less trouble than I expected, earning 194/200. So, in April I decided to take HSK 3, intermediate level. Despite the addition of a writing section it was, again, far easier than I imagined. This time I earned 289/300 and learned that my grammar could use some work.

The fast forward to July and I sat for the Praxis I: Pre-professional skills test and the Praxis II: English to Speakers of Other Languages test. I had to take both of these because I’m trying to get an educators certificate in Maryland just in case I don’t get reappointed at NYU Shanghai. And, despite actively teaching ESL students and holding a master’s and a doctorate in the area, Maryland still wanted those test scores…Well, those were also easier than I thought, scoring above average in each test. For Praxis I, I got a 200.200 on reading, a 198/200, and a 176/200 for math. The Praxis II: ESOL test was a little trickier because there were a lot of questions about handling parents, which is something I currently don’t have to do much of in my current position (praise be). Those questions tripped me up, but I still got a 175/200. My personal worst in the tests, but still not too bad.

Since I’ve got one year left on my current contract, I figure we’ll make a push to pass HSK 4 in the spring. After that, there will be a scantron sized hole in my heart that will need to be filled…

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