National Tests Preparation by Using Computer – Assisted Language Learning (CALL) for Senior High School Students
Learning English in Indonesia is challenging because English is a foreign language in Indonesia. But, English is one of important lesson that must be mastered by Indonesian student. It is shown in putting English as one of national test that senior high school student must undergo. English at school now is emphasizing in mastering four skills of English such as reading, listening, speaking and writing but in the national test students are required to answer some questions which are related to listening skill, reading skill and a little of grammar. This national test is going to be very difficult for students who lack of reading habit, listening skill, practicing the tests and poor of grammar understanding. The problem is bigger if students aren’t interested in English because it is difficult and not fun. The idea in this paper is inspired by computer assisted TOEFL preparation and this paper will discus the effectiveness of Computer – Assisted Language Learning (CALL) for successful Senior High school National Tests in English Subject.
It is very important to make CALL program for National Tests preparation because by doing so it will help both teachers and students and increase the effectiveness of learning. It will help teachers because computer can act as a teacher or tutor by giving the students information, explanations, example, a lot of practices and a quick analysis and result of the students National Tests preparation. Students will have also some benefits by using the program. They will get flexibility in practicing the tests and convenience situation. Students can easily stop the program, continue, pass some materials or tests, review and even repeat it again if they don’t pass the tests. Not only flexibility but also a convenience situation where the students can do the tests privately at home without worrying the judgment of his friends and teachers.
Even though CALL is designed for individual learning but teachers role is important in guiding, motivating, explaining, controlling and evaluating students’ progress. Teachers guide the students at the first time of using the program by showing how to use it and explaining some buttons or functions of certain menu in the program. Teachers explain some additional materials or tests that students need if they don’t get enough from the program. Teachers also motivate students to undergo the program and motivation in this case is important because sometimes there are some students who don’t have enthusiasm in learning. Then, teachers should also control and evaluate the students’ development. Even though CALL has its own evaluation program but teachers must also give their attention in controlling and evaluating so that students will not feel to convenience in using the program because of its flexibility. Give the students time limit to use the program and then at the end of the due time teachers can evaluate the students’ improvement.
What should be made in designing CALL for national test preparation? There are some principles in designing CALL that must be considered.
1. Interactivity (feedback and instruction). Interactivity refers to how the program can stimulate interaction, especially interaction between the computer and the user. It includes the effectiveness of the instructions and feedback provided in the program.
2. Usability (flexibility). It refers to the flexibility, ease and inherent interest of the program used, and how easy it is to navigate within the program.
3. Content and appropriateness. It is concerned with the amount of material presented in the program, how easily the material is learned and understood, and how far the material meets the students’ need.
4. Effectiveness. It refers to how effectively the program assists language learners to improve their mastery of grammar.
5. Performance (Attractiveness). It refers to the presentation, lay out of the screen, the color, and the illustrations (picture, diagram, charts, etc) used in the program.
The main content of the program is variation of National tests that includes listening tests, reading tests and grammar tests. All of the tests are in the form of multiple choices and there is a time limit to do the tests. In the tests must include pictures, diagram, color, interesting back ground and chart that will make the tests more attractive. After students finish the tests, they will immediately get the result about correct and wrong answers. The programs then will advice the students whether they must continue to the next tests or to repeat again but the students can also choose to pass to the next tests. Some games could be added if students can answer most of the questions correctly. The program also provides some explanation of the material that is being tested if the students want to know the reason behind their answer. At the end of the program students will know their score and their graphic of progress in doing the tests.
To undergo this CALL school must provide enough computers for students in their computer laboratory and it is better if the students have their own computer at home. Teachers guide the students at school using the program and then after they have understood how to use it teachers will only observe students. For those who have computers at home may bring the program and install it to the computer and they will report their activity and progress to their teachers regularly and teachers will evaluate the progress. Hopefully by using CALL for national test preparation students will have sufficient practice and experience in doing the tests. Students who have good score will get a better self confident in doing the real tests and those who haven’t good score will repeat, analysis, and review by their own until they get a better score.