Emyr Davies- Tu Cefn i’r Arholiadau Cymraeg i Oedolion

Emyr Davies: Tu Cefn i’r Arholiadau Cymraeg i Oedolion / Behind the Welsh for Adults Exams

Yn Dysgwyr/Erthyglau

Mae Emyr Davies wedi bod yn gyfrifol am yr arholiadau Cymraeg i Oedolion yn CBAC ers 2001, ac mae’n hawdd ei adnabod i lawer o ddysgwyr fel y person sy’n cyflwyno’r seremoni gyflwyno flynyddol yn yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol ym Maes D. Yma, mae’n dod â ni tu ôl i’r llenni i esbonio sut mae’r cymwysterau’n cael eu paratoi, a sôn am eu llwyddiant yng nghyd-destun gwella a mesur sgiliau ieithyddol ledled Ewrop. Cefnogir gwaith CBAC yn y maes hwn drwy nawdd Llywodraeth Cymru, drwy Gymwysterau Cymru.

Emyr Davies has been responsible for the Welsh for Adults exams at WJEC since 2001, and he is recognisable to many learners as the person who leads the annual presentation ceremony at the National Eisteddfod‘s Learners Pavilion. Here, he takes us behind the scenes to explain how the qualifications are prepared, and talks about their success in the context of improving and measuring linguistic skills across Europe. WJEC’s work in this field is financially supported by Welsh Government, through Qualifications Wales.

Prin yw’r bobl sy’n cael eu geni’n llawn uchelgais i weithio ym maes asesu. Bydd rhai (fel fi) yn dod i’r maes ar ôl gweithio fel tiwtor iaith; bydd pobl eraill yn dod i’r maes o gefndir ystadegol, gan fod cymaint o bwyslais ar ddadansoddi data asesu. Does dim llawer o gyfle i gael swyddi yn y maes hwn, felly mae’n anodd i neb wneud gyrfa ohono, heblaw am asesu Saesneg fel ail iaith. Few people are born with a burning ambition to work in the field of assessment. Some (like me) come to the field after working as a language tutor; others come to the field from a statistical background, as there is currently so much emphasis on analysing assessment data. There aren’t many job opportunities in this field, so it’s difficult for anyone to make a career in it, except in the assessment of English as a second language.
Hap a damwain oedd fy mod i wedi cael swydd yn y maes, ar ôl gweithio fel tiwtor Cymraeg i Oedolion am un mlynedd ar ddeg yng Nghaerfyrddin. Dod o gefndir dysgu iaith ydw i – mynd i’r coleg yn Aberystwyth i astudio’r Gymraeg i ddechrau, astudio Ieithyddiaeth yn Nulyn am flwyddyn yn ddiweddarach, cyn dechrau fel Swyddog Arholiadau Cymraeg i Oedolion CBAC yn 2001. Mae’r profiad o ddysgu Cymraeg i bobl eraill a’r cefndir mewn ieithyddiaeth wedi bod yn ddefnyddiol iawn ar hyd yr amser.It was chance that led me to a job in the field, after working as a Welsh for Adults tutor for eleven years in Carmarthen. I come from a language teaching background – I went initially to college in Aberystwyth to study Welsh, later to study Linguistics in Dublin for a year, before starting as WJEC Welsh for Adults Examinations Officer in 2001. The experience of teaching Welsh to other people and the background in linguistics has always proved very useful.
Roedd dau arholiad ar gael cyn i mi ddechrau yn y swydd, sef Defnyddio’r Gymraeg (Canolradd erbyn hyn), a Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Uwch (yr arholiad Uwch heddiw). Y peth cynta roedd rhaid i mi ei wneud oedd datblygu dau arholiad newydd ar lefelau is a diwygio’r rhai cyfredol, fel bod cyfres o gymwysterau ar gael i’r sector Cymraeg i Oedolion. Nid ar chwarae bach y mae datblygu arholiadau iaith. Mae llawer o benderfyniadau a dewisiadau i’w gwneud, e.e. diffinio’r sgiliau a’r wybodaeth sy’n cael eu hasesu, dewis fformat sy’n mynd i greu digon o dystiolaeth o allu’r ymgeiswyr, pwysoli’r sgiliau, sut mae dadansoddi’r data, hyfforddi’r tiwtoriaid, y cyfwelwyr llafar, y marcwyr, penderfynu ar feini prawf asesu... mae’r rhestr yn ddiddiwedd. Erbyn hyn, mae cyfres o 4 cymhwyster wedi hen ymsefydlu yn y maes:Two exams existed before I started in the post – Defnyddio’r Gymraeg (now ‘Canolradd’ or Intermediate) and Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Uwch (today, the Advanced exam). My first task was to develop two new exams at lower levels and reform the current ones, so that we had a series of qualifications for the Welsh for Adults sector. Developing language exams is not a trivial enterprise. Many decisions and choices need to be made, e.g. defining the skills and knowledge which are being assessed, choosing a format which will elicit enough evidence of the candidate’s ability, weighting of skills, how to analyse the data, training tutors, interlocutors, the raters, deciding on assessment criteria... the list is endless. By today, a series of 4 qualifications are well established in the field:
Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Mynediad A1
Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Sylfaen A2
Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Canolradd B1
Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Uwch B2
Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Mynediad A1 (Entry)
Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Sylfaen A2 (Foundation)
Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Canolradd B1 (Intermediate)
Defnyddio’r Gymraeg: Uwch B2 (Advanced)
Mae tua 1,400-1,500 o ymgeiswyr yn dewis sefyll un o’r arholiadau yma bob blwyddyn. Fel y gellir disgwyl, mae mwy’n sefyll yr arholiadau ar lefelau is (Mynediad a Sylfaen) na’r lleill. Dewis sefyll, sylwer... does dim llawer yn sefyll arholiad am fod rhaid iddyn nhw wneud. Yn ôl yr adborth sy’n dod gan ymgeiswyr, y ddau brif reswm dros sefyll unrhyw un o’r arholiadau yw (a) gosod nod, a (b) mesur cynnydd. Mae hyn ychydig yn wahanol i lawer o arholiadau eraill, e.e. arholiadau ysgol neu arholiadau iaith mewn gwledydd eraill, lle bydd ymgeiswyr yn sefyll arholiad er mwyn cael mynediad i rywbeth arall, e.e. swydd, prifysgol, dinasyddiaeth ac yn y blaen. Approximately 1,400-1,500 candidates choose to take one of these exams every year. As might be expected, more take the exams at the lower levels (Mynediad and Sylfaen) than the others. Choose to take, notice... very few sit any of these exams because they have to do so. According to the feedback provided by candidates, the two main reasons for sitting any of the exams are (a) to give something to aim for, and (b) to measure progress. This is rather different to many other exams, e.g. school exams or language exams in other countries, where candidates take an exams in order to gain entry into something else, e.g. a job, university, citizenship and so on.
Mae dysgwyr Cymraeg fel arfer yn dewis sefyll arholiad pan fyddan nhw’n barod i wneud hynny, am resymau mwy personol. Mae’r arholiadau’n adlewyrchu anghenion dysgwyr yn y sector Cymraeg i Oedolion, e.e. mae pwyslais mawr ar ‘siarad rhyngweithiol’ fel sgìl, ac ar draws y lefelau rhoddir y rhan fwyaf o’r marciau (70% fel arfer) am Siarad a Gwrando. Creu siaradwyr newydd yw cenhadaeth maes Cymraeg i Oedolion, ac mae’r arholiadau’n cefnogi’r genhadaeth honno. Welsh learners usually choose to sit an exam when they’re ready to do do, for more personal reasons. The exams reflect the needs of learners in the Welsh for Adults sector, e.g. there’s great emphasis on ‘spoken interaction’ as a skill, and across the levels, most of the marks (usually 70%) are awarded for Speaking and Listening. The mission of the Welsh for Adults enterprise is to create new speakers, and the exams support that mission.
Wrth gwrs, mae rhai tiwtoriaid yn amheus o asesu, gan feddwl ei fod yn llyncu amser dysgu go iawn ac yn gwthio’r dulliau dysgu i gyfeiriadau anghywir. Rhan o’m gwaith i fu argyhoeddi tiwtoriaid fod arholiadau’n gallu cael effaith gadarnhaol ar y dysgu ac ar y dysgwyr. Mae digon o dystiolaeth ar gael bellach o effeithiau pellgyrhaeddol asesu o ansawdd uchel, a gobeithio bod cyfres Defnyddio’r Gymraeg yn creu adlif cadarnhaol ym maes Cymraeg i Oedolion. Of course, some tutors are suspicious of assessment, think that it devours real teaching time, and pushes teaching methods in wrong directions. A part of my work was to persuade tutors that exams can have a positive effect on learning and learners. There is now plenty of evidence of the far-reaching effects of high quality assessment, and I hope that the Defnyddio’r Gymraeg series produces positive backwash in the Welsh for Adults field.
Mae’r gair ‘ansawdd’ yn arwain at agwedd arall o’m gwaith, sef ALTE. Un o ofynion y swydd o’r dechrau oedd sicrhau bod CBAC yn dod yn aelod o’r Gymdeithas i Brofwyr Ieithoedd yn Ewrop neu ALTE. Mae 25 o ieithoedd Ewropeaidd yn cael eu cynrychioli yn ALTE, a 33 o sefydliadau, gan gynnwys yr ieithoedd ‘mawr’ fel Saesneg, Almaeneg a Ffrangeg ac ieithoedd ‘llai’ fel y Gymraeg, Basgeg a Gwyddeleg. The word ‘quality’ leads to another aspect of my work, which is ALTE. One of the job requirements from the outset was to ensure that CBAC-WJEC would become a member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe, or ALTE. There are 25 European languages represented in ALTE, and 33 organisations, including the ‘bigger’ languages such as English, German and French, and ‘smaller’ languages, like Welsh, Basque and Irish.
I fod yn aelod o ALTE, mae’n rhaid i unrhyw sefydliad ddangos ei fod yn cwrdd â safonau ansawdd uchel – safonau’n ymwneud â llunio’r profion, gweinyddu a logisteg, marcio a graddio, dadansoddi’r profion a chyfathrebu â rhanddeiliaid. Wedyn, mae ALTE’n trefnu archwiliad neu ‘awdit’ o’r safonau i gyd, a rhaid i’r sefydliad ddangos tystiolaeth ei fod yn cwrdd â nhw. Mae ALTE’n gwneud pethau eraill hefyd, gan gynnwys grwpiau sy’n canolbwyntio ar bwnc penodol, cynadleddau rhyngwladol ond yn bwysicach na hynny, mae’n gyfle i drafod â phobl eraill sydd ym maes asesu. Er bod cyd-destunau ieithoedd eraill a gwledydd eraill yn wahanol iawn i’w gilydd, mae llawer o’r un heriau yn ein hwynebu fel aseswyr ieithoedd. To become a member of ALTE, any organisation must show that it can meet high quality standards – standards involving test construction, administration and logistics, marking and grading, analysing tests and communicating with stakeholders. Then, ALTE organises an ‘audit’ of all the standards and the organisation must provide evidence that it can meet them. ALTE is involved in other activities as well, including Special Interest Groups, international conferences, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to discuss with others working in the assessment field. Although the contexts of other languages and other countries are very different, many of the same challenges face us as language testers.
Un her sydd ddim yn effeithio ar y Gymraeg ond sy’n achosi llawer o bryder i aelodau ALTE ar draws Ewrop yw profion iaith ar gyfer mewnfudwyr. Mae tuedd gynyddol i wladwriaethau ddefnyddio profion iaith at ddibenion gwleidyddol, a’u defnyddio fel esgus i wahardd mewnfudwyr. Mae llawer o’r sefydliadau’n cael eu rhoi mewn lle anodd yn aml, ond safbwynt ALTE yw pwysleisio pwysigrwydd ansawdd yr arholi – fod y prawf yn ddilys, yn ddibynadwy, yn deg ac yn ateb anghenion yr ymgeiswyr. Gall fod canlyniadau difrifol i unigolion nad ydynt yn llwyddo, felly maen nhw’n arholiadau sy’n newid bywydau pobl. One challenge which doesn’t affect Welsh, but is a cause of much concern for ALTE members across Europe is the provision of language tests for immigrants. There’s a marked increase in countries using language tests for political ends, and using them as an excuse to exclude immigrants. Many organisations are often put in difficult situations, but ALTE’s position is to emphasise the need for quality in testing – that the test is valid, reliable and fair, and that it meets the needs of candidates. There may be serious consequences for individuals who don’t pass, so they may be tests which change people’s lives.
Nid oes y fath bwysau ar arholiadau Cymraeg i oedolion, ond wrth gwrs, i’r sawl sy’n eu sefyll maent yn golygu llawer iawn, ac yn ffrwyth buddsoddiad enfawr o ran amser ac arian. Felly, yr un yw’r cyfrifoldeb arnon ni i ddarparu arholiadau o ansawdd uchel. The same high stakes don’t apply for the Welsh for Adults exams, but of course, for those taking them, they mean a great deal and are the result of a huge investment in time and money. Therefore, we have the same responsibility to provide high quality exams.
Un o’r pethau y mae ALTE’n gofyn amdano gan ei aelodau yw tystiolaeth o gysylltiad â’r fframwaith. Os ydych chi’n honni bod eich arholiad chi’n perthyn rywsut i fframwaith, rhaid dangos tystiolaeth o hynny. Y fframwaith y mae pobl ar draws Ewrop (a thros rannau eraill o’r byd) yn cyfeirio ato yw’r CEFR, sef y Common European Framework of Reference. Dyma o ble daw’r ‘labeli’ a ddefnyddiwyd i gyfeirio at y lefelau uchod - A1, A2, B1 a B2. Fframwaith i gyfeirio ato yw’r CEFR, nid rhywbeth y mae’n rhaid i ddatblygwyr arholiad gydymffurfio ag ef. One of the ALTE requires of its members is evidence of a link to a framework. If you claim that your exams are linked somehow to a framework, evidence must be provided. The framework which people across Europe (and other parts of the world) refer to is the CEFR, or the Common European Framework of Reference. This is where the ‘labels’ used above to refer to the levels come from – A1, A2, B1 and B2. The CEFR is a framework of reference, not something that test developers must conform to.
Hynny yw, anghenion y dysgwyr ddylai ddod yn gyntaf, nid dilyn gofynion fframwaith yn slafaidd. Nid yw’n fframwaith ar gyfer un iaith benodol. Mae’r pwyslais ar ddisgrifio’r hyn y mae dysgwr unrhyw iaith (yn bennaf oedolion) yn gallu ei wneud ar lefelau gwahanol. Ceir nifer fawr o ddisgrifiadau ar ffurf datganiadau cadarnhaol yn dweud beth mae’r dysgwr nodweddiadol yn gallu ei wneud o nifer o safbwyntiau gwahanol. Ymhlith pethau eraill, mae’r fframwaith yn erfyn defnyddiol i helpu pobl sy’n datblygu arholiadau, ac sy’n rhoi meincnod cyffredin i ddefnyddwyr ar draws Ewrop. Felly, mae’r labeli cyffredinol hyn yn golygu rhywbeth, lle cynt roedd termau fel ‘Canolig’, ‘Dechreuwyr’, ‘Lefel 1’ ddim yn golygu pethau gwahanol ar draws cyd-destunau gwahanol. Nid yw perthyn i fframwaith fel hwn yn nod ynddo’i hun: gwerth perthynu â’r fframwaith yw gwella ansawdd, cryfhau statws yr arholiadau ac, yn anuniongyrchol, statws y Gymraeg.In other words, the learners’ needs should come first, and not follow the framework requirements blindly. It isn’t a framework for one specific language. The focus is on describing what the learner of any language (primarily adults) can do at different levels. There are are a large number of descriptors in the form of positive statements which say what a typical learner can do at a certain level, from different viewpoints. Amongst other things, the framework is a useful tool to help exam developers, and which gives users across Europe a common benchmark. The level labels mean something, whereas terms like ‘Intermediate’, ‘Beginners’, or ‘Level 1’ mean different things in different contexts. Being linked to a framework such as this is not an end in itself: the value of linking is to improve quality, strengthen the status of the exams, and, indirectly, the status of Welsh.
Mewn rhai cyd-destunau, mae asesu ffurfiol da yn dyngedfennol. Er enghraifft, Saesneg yw iaith rheolwyr traffig awyr a pheilotiaid, a chorff y CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) sy’n gyfrifol am yr arholiadau Saesneg iddyn nhw. Ymddangosodd adroddiadau yn y wasg yn Ebrill 2017 yn sôn am ddiffygion iaith rhai peilotiaid a’r peryglon a oedd yn dod yn sgil hynny. Pennawd yr Independent ar y pryd oedd Poor Spoken English Skills among Pilots Could Lead to Air Disasters. Mewn achosion fel hyn, does ond gobeithio bod yr arholiadau iaith o’r safon uchaf, a’r trothwy llwyddo yn uchel iawn.In some contexts, good formal assessment is critical. For example, the language of international air traffic control and airline pilots is English, and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) is responsible for their English tests. Reports appeared in the press in April 2017 about the language deficiencies of some pilots, and the ensuing dangers. The headline in the Independent at the time was Poor Spoken English Skills among Pilots Could Lead to Air Disasters. In cases like these, we can only hope that the language tests are of the highest quality and the pass mark is very high.
Felly, mae asesu’n bwysig. Mae pob tiwtor da’n asesu’n anffurfiol drwy’r amser, gan adnabod beth sydd angen sylw, rhoi adborth a chynnig ffyrdd o wella. Fodd bynnag, mae angen asesu ffurfiol a chymwysterau ffurfiol hefyd. Asesu o’r math hwn sy’n gyrru newid, sy’n tanio cymhelliant ac sy’n rhoi gwerth a statws i’r maes cyfan. Fel dywedodd un ymgeisydd mewn holiadur adborth: ‘Roedd pobl yn fy nghymryd i o ddifri fel dysgwr pan o’n nhw’n gwybod mod i’n sefyll arholiad yn yr iaith.’ So assessment is important. Every good tutor assesses informally all the time, identifying what needs attention, giving feedback and offering means of improvement. However, formal assessment and formal qualifications are needed as well. This type of assessment drives change, fires motivation and gives value and status to the whole field. As one candidate said in a feedback questionnaire: ‘People took me seriously as a learner when they knew I was taking an exam in the language.’
Mae’r union ffaith fod arholiadau i gael, a bod rhywun yn barod i ymroi i sefyll arholiad ffurfiol ynddo’i hun yn cryfhau cymhelliant, ac yn rhoi statws a hygrededd i’r broses ddysgu ac i’r gwaith o ddysgu Cymraeg i Oedolion yn gyffredinol. Mae’n dangos ein bod ni o ddifri fel maes. Byddai’n dda pe bai mwy o gyflogwyr a sefydliadau eraill yn cymryd y gwaith o ddifri hefyd. Ychydig iawn o swyddi sy’n gofyn am gymhwyster yn y Gymraeg fel rhaganghenraid yn y sectorau cyhoeddus. Pe baen ni’n gwneud hynny, byddai ein dosbarthiadau Cymraeg i Oedolion ni’n orlawn, a bydden ni gam yn nes at gael miliwn o siaradwyr Cymraeg erbyn 2050. The very fact that exams exist, and that someone is willing to commit to taking a formal exam in itself reinforces motivation, and gives status and validity to the learning process and to teaching Welsh for Adults generally. It shows that we take our work seriously. It would be good if more employers and organisations took our work seriously as well. Few jobs ask for a qualification in Welsh as a prerequisite in the public sectors. If this were done, our Welsh for Adults classes would be overflowing and we would be a step closer towards achieving a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Mae’r union ffaith fod arholiadau i gael, a bod rhywun yn barod i ymroi i sefyll arholiad ffurfiol ynddo’i hun yn cryfhau cymhelliant, ac yn rhoi statws a hygrededd i’r broses ddysgu ac i’r gwaith o ddysgu Cymraeg i Oedolion yn gyffredinol.

wjec.co.uk/qualifications/welsh-for-adults

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