Assessing Speaking (Cambridge Language Assessment) by Sari Luoma

By Sari Luoma

Talking is a critical but advanced quarter of language acquisition. The evaluation of this important ability is both complicated. This booklet takes academics and language testers throughout the study at the evaluation of talking in addition to via present assessments of conversing. The booklet then publications language testers throughout the levels of attempt initiatives, ranking practices and layout.

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These features should therefore appear in examinee performances on information-related tasks, and they may help explain why some of them do better on the test than others. Once the developers analyse some learner performances to find out exactly how the performances at different ability levels differ, for example whether weaker performers fail to establish common ground or do not sequence the information logically, they can use these concepts in rating scales to indicate how raters can tell performances at different levels apart.

While there are some errors that only learners make, such as using no + verb to express negation in English (I no write) or violating simple word order rules, there are others that are typical for all speakers. Assessment designers may have to provide special training to raters to help them outgrow a possible tendency to count each ‘error’ that they hear. 20                 Processing and reciprocity Bygate (1987) summarises the above features of spoken language use by contrasting them with writing.

On a fundamental level, the question about the effect of the interlocutor on an examinee’s performance can be asked about examiner-led speaking tests as well. It may be unfair to rate the examinees only when the test discourse is jointly created (Brown, 2003; McNamara, 1997). The interviewer’s proficiency level is often not an issue, but personality and communication style certainly are. Brown (2003) showed several examples of this in a conversation analytic study where one examinee was tested by two different interviewers.

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