Interviewer support, test-taker performance and test-taker perception in an oral proficiency interview

Pratama, Hendi (2009). Interviewer support, test-taker performance and test-taker perception in an oral proficiency interview M.A. Thesis, School of Languages and Comp Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Pratama, Hendi
Thesis Title Interviewer support, test-taker performance and test-taker perception in an oral proficiency interview
School, Centre or Institute School of Languages and Comp Cultural Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009
Thesis type M.A. Thesis
Supervisor Harrington, Michael
Total pages 73
Subjects L
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
Abstract/Summary Language testing researchers have investigated the potential threat of rater variability to oral proficiency test reliability. Rater variability can cover many aspects including the amount of support or accommodation provided by the examiners. Several studies have been conducted to investigate the effect of different types and amount of support provided by the interviewers on the performance of participants. However, those studies have relied heavily on the scores or rating given by the raters and/or the raters perception to the process of the interview. This study compliments the earlier studies by examining the test-taker perceptions. This study examines the relationship of the test-taker perception of the support provided by the interviewers and their actual performance. In addition, it also attempts to shed light on the effects of particular types of supporting behaviour related to the test-takers performance. The independent variable is the degree of the supporting behaviour. There are two levels of support: High Supporting Behaviour (HSB) and Low Supporting Behaviour (LSB). In the HSB condition, in addition to the non-substantive features, the interviewers are obliged to perform three different types of substantive supporting features: fronting, suppliance and rephrase. In the LSB condition, interviewers are only allowed to give non-substantive supporting features namely slowdown and back-channeling. Ten participants sat in two interviews with two different interviewers applying LSB and HSB condition. The substantive supporting features are strictly regulated by prescribed scripts and the non-substantive features are provided depending on the participants‟ behaviour and/or the interviewers‟ own choice. The non-substantive features, which are not regulated by the scripts, lead to two different back-channeling styles: Low Back Channeling (LBC) and High Back Channeling (HBC). At the end of the second interview, all participants completed a perception questionnaire. Twenty interview scripts were analyzed to estimate the participants‟ actual performance in three categories: (1) fluency, (2) lexical resources and (3) grammar complexity. The results of the questionnaire showed relevantly higher values on the test-takers perception in the HSB and HBC conditions than in their counterparts (LSB and LBC). The same results can be seen on performance. Typically participants performed better in the HSB and HBC conditions than in their counterparts. This study has implications for raters‟ training. Future research may involve a larger sample.
Keyword oral proficiency
interviewers
test-taker performance
test-taker perception

 
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Created: Tue, 17 Aug 2010, 11:36:25 EST by Jo Grimmond on behalf of School of Languages and Comp Cultural Studies