I would assume that in general, an English language training institute would not be focusing on education, but rather on monetary gain. In my experience, the aforementioned companies know as little about teaching methodologies as they know about the foreign language and culture they are attempting to provide services for. Linguistic examinations in the vast majority of cultures throughout the globe poorly reflect actual proficiency or knowledge of the target language. Multiple choice questions are nothing more than a rapid evaluation device created to satisfy administrators and lay parents. Holistic linguistic assessments provide the master teacher the necessary tools to better serve society and facilitate foreign language acquisition.
Translation, in my opinion, is a waste of time due to a complete disregard for cross-cultural communication. Translating randomly disconnected sentences ineptly suffices in reinforcing the fact that the foreign language is just that: a strange unfamiliar outside phenomenon, never to be utilized as a realistic medium of communication. Non-native speaking foreign language teachers solidify sociolinguistic fossilization whenever they express ideas through their students' mother tongue. Interpretation is the path both teachers and students should follow and assessments in the target language should resonate such concerns.
A contextually based communicative curriculum gives way to a more effective and efficient assessment tool. I humbly advise to utilize current motivating multimedia to inundate foreign language learners with audio and visual input. Allow the foreign language learners to listen and watch a television news report in their native language and then turn the tables on them by having them role-play the broadcast in the target language. Afterwards, ask open-ended questions to interview class participants and discuss possible local, regional, and global implications.
Better yet, have one group create a podcast, multiple groups watch and listen to the podcast and immediately afterwards, the podcasters interview in the target language. At least, I have positive feedback from my on-line school students after implementing my methods in a three dimensional virtual learning environment: utilize technology to enhance critical thinking skills.
Eric Paul Monroe