Assessed levels of second language speaking proficiency: How distinct?

Iwashita, N., Brown, A., McNamara, T. and O'Hagan, S. (2008) Assessed levels of second language speaking proficiency: How distinct?. Applied Linguistics, 29 1: 24-49. doi:10.1093/applin/amm017

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Author Iwashita, N.
Brown, A.
McNamara, T.
O'Hagan, S.
Title Assessed levels of second language speaking proficiency: How distinct?
Journal name Applied Linguistics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0412-6001
Publication date 2008-03-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/applin/amm017
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 29
Issue 1
Start page 24
End page 49
Total pages 26
Editor G. Kasper
G. Cook
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Oxford University Press
Language eng
Subject C1
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
200303 English as a Second Language
Abstract The study reported in this paper is an investigation of the nature of speaking proficiency in English as a second language in the context of a larger project to develop a rating scale for a new international test of English for Academic Purposes, TOEFL iBT (Brown et al. 2005). We report on a large-scale study of the relationship between detailed features of the spoken language produced by test-takers and holistic scores awarded by raters to these performances. Spoken test performances representing five different tasks and five different proficiency levels (200 performances in all) were analyzed using a range of measures of grammatical accuracy and complexity, vocabulary, pronunciation, and fluency. The results showed that features from each category helped distinguish overall levels of performance, with particular features of vocabulary and fluency having the strongest impact. Overall, the study contributes important insights into the nature of spoken proficiency as it develops and can be measured in rating scales for speaking, and has implications for methodological issues of the appropriateness of the use in language testing research contexts of measures developed in research on second language acquisition.
Keyword English
Second language acquisition
Oral proficiency
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Fri, 03 Apr 2009, 01:20:42 EST by Jo Grimmond on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures