How are spoken skills assessed in proficiency tests of general English as a Foreign Language? A preliminary survey
AbstractThis paper examines some of the best known proficiency tests in English, with particular focus on the oral component. Attention is paid to the following issues, among others: the weighting of oral elements in testing, the criteria used for the assessment of oral skills and the relation of these to the general guidelines in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), and the kinds of tasks and marking systems used for assessment. Our aim is to evaluate these tests as a means of determining the extent to which they can be considered valid tools for the assessment of oral performance, considering their significance, relevance and implications in the broader context of the modern world. We contend that, as is the case with teaching processes in general, which need to be continuously evaluated and reformulated, this is true of English testing, especially oral skills, given the special nature of the spoken language.
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