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BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Bruce Howell, University of Reading How should, and how can, low level.

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Presentation on theme: "BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Bruce Howell, University of Reading How should, and how can, low level."— Presentation transcript:

1 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Bruce Howell, University of Reading How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed?

2 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Why assess? (e.g. Reading) Oct-Dec EACH COURSE: beginning: placement end: progress (proficiency) Jan-MarApr-JunJul-Sep

3 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Placement – getting on the right track 1. "is this candidate at least the minimum level to join the pre-sessional EAP programme?" 2. "which (e.g. writing) group within the EAP pre- sessional programme should this student be in?" 3. what specific area needs to be addressed within the EAP in-sessional programme? (Read 2008)

4 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Placement – getting on the right track 1. programme screening yes/no 2. class placement multi-level 3. diagnostic descriptions not numbers?

5 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 It must be practical (1) time restraints e.g. British Council (OSullivan 2010)

6 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 It must be practical (2) 10 minutes Dictation (gap-fill sentences) 10 minutes Kanji ( spelling) 30 minutes Writing 5 minutes Speaking (interview) 3 minutes self-assessment questionnaire (Toyoda & Hashimoto 2001) ** The more data the better ** BUT a minimum of data may be enough for your situation

7 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 But what about EAP? TEEP: listening and reading into writing; task-based speaking; academic perspective on topics process approach can be replicated in (placement) tests (Lee 2005; Plakans 2009) …but is this necessary for low levels ? experience of TEEP: below ~4.5 can blow it completely so perhaps the approach should be: – general language competence – university context

8 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 How should low level EAP be assessed? Reading Writing Listening Speaking – yes but … perhaps not possible what about just a simple grammar test? – NO! – use of a single test format is inadequate (Green and Weir 2004) why not just use international tests or school results? – not always available – expensive – bland, generalised – not always trustworthy, despite claims

9 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Popular suggestions grammar test vocabulary test independent writing test independent reading test interview

10 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 More suggestions… linked reading speaking task – two-in-one – going beyond formulaic language dictation – high correlation with grammatical knowledge AND oral/aural proficiency (Ford-Niwa 1998, cited in Toyoda & Hashimoto 2001) a staged/modular procedure: – not all sections are needed (Fulcher 1997) – a pre-test screening section? self-assessment

11 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 DELNA (Read 2008)

12 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Online OPT

13 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 British Council (OSullivan 2010)

14 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Self-assessment does it work? research gives differing results (Dandenault 1997) for:against: practicality – saves time/money involves the learner in the decision- making process increases self- awareness advantages have a place in classrooms, not tests unconvincing for teachers inviting exaggeration ('cheating'?) influence of personality factors tendency to err towards the 'average' – not to rank high or low

15 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 …need to ask meaningful questions

16 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 …dont be too simplistic! (Gere et al 2010)

17 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 How can lower level EAP be assessed (practical solution) depends on your context!

18 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Computer-based? … if you have the resources! for:against: simple, from the administration point of view data collection automatic scoring can be instant certificates can be automatic attractive for some restrictive of item type impersonal (unless complemented with interview etc.) off-putting for some

19 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 How to check your test is working trial/pre-test it first – if possible – imperative (Fulcher 1997) get teachers views on suitabilty ask students about their experience analyse score data – eliminate problem items review cut level(s) – are they living up to expectations? how does it compare to scores on IELTS etc? – (concurrent validity)

20 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 … but remember we cannot assume the test is not working just because students do not increase their level in a linear way depends on: – motivation/completion of work/attendance – aptitude for languages – external factors e.g. distractions outside class – etc.

21 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Most important assessments must have a system – essential to have stakeholders on board (Read 2008) – must be easily understood by all – follow-up plans (e.g. split profile) – who does the decision-making? advise potential students so that they can make the right decision programme screening test: – short test may be OK, but its high-stakes … – so it has to have proven reliability and good security

22 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 Bibliography Brantmeier, C. (2006). Advanced L2 learners and reading placement: Self-assessment, CBT, and subsequent performance. System 34 :15–35. Dandenault, E. J. (1997). Self-Assessment of Communicative Ability: Investigation of a Novel Tool for ESL Learners. MA Dissertation. Montreal: Concordia University. Available at Fulcher, G. (1997). An English language placement test: issues in reliability and validity. Language Testing Read, J. (2008). Identifying academic language needs through diagnostic assessment. JEAP 7: Gere, A. R., Aull L., Green. T., and Porter, A. (2010). Assessing the validity of directed self-placement at a large university. Assessing Writing 15:154–176. Green, A. B. and Weir. C. J. (2004). Can placement tests inform instructional decisions? Language Testing Lee, Y. J. (2005). A Summary of Construct Validation of an English for Academic Purposes Placement Test. Spaan Fellow Working Papers in Second of Foreign Language Assessment Vol. 3. OSullivan, B. (2010). Developing a Placement Test: A case-study of the British Council ILA project. IATEFL TEA SIG Newsletter Spring Plakans, L. (2009). Discourse synthesis in integrated second language writing assessment. Language Testing Toyoda, E. & Hashimoto, Y. (2001). Analysis of a new Japanese Language Placement Test Battery Using G- Theory and Rasch Model Programs. Melbourne Papers on Language Testing 10-1.

23 BH How should, and how can, low level EAP be assessed? BALEAP SIG Bristol Feb 2011 What do YOU think?


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