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ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September 2006 1 Language proficiency evaluation (testing)

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Presentation on theme: "ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September 2006 1 Language proficiency evaluation (testing)"— Presentation transcript:

1 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Language proficiency evaluation (testing) Selection and development of language tests in the aviation context Dr Jeremy Mell Head of Language Studies, ENAC, Toulouse, France Member PRICE SG, ICAO

2 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Options for assessing language proficiency for aviation informal observation s –« line checks », « inspections » –classroom assessments formal language tests –direct/semi-direct/indirect –simulated language use most direct integrative: performance samples are matched to rating scales –paper and pencil OR screen and mouse tasks most indirect discrete items/skills: favour numerical scores but « juggling with only one ball »….

3 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Language tests Definition structured events or procedures to elicit performances as samples of test-taker s language skills in a standardised way enabling reliable inferences to be made concerning his/her level of competence and possibility of reproducing those skills at that level of competence consistently over time –adapted from Carrol (1968) and Douglas (2000)

4 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Language testing A well-developed domain of intellectual activity: –academic body of research, cross-disciplinary links, international associations,... codes of ethics, codes of practice institutions of excellence, « chapels », « gurus », feuds –commercial international testing service providers general, academic, business,… Attempts to link different rating scales/test results

5 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Types of language tests entry placement diagnostic progress/achievement proficiency

6 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Entry/placement tests Purposes –ab initio training: recruitment form level groups –recurrent training: benchmarking a population form level groups Characteristics items chosen to cover a broad range of levels of general language formats reflect previous education scores tend to form a « bell curve » stakes –high (recruitment) –mid (benchmarking)

7 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Diagnostic tests Purposes –identify specific areas of skill/knowledge for improvement in subsequent training –individualisation of training programmes Characteristics each item chosen to represent a single significant area of knowledge/skill overall score less important than analysis of right/wrong responses - focus on errors stakes: low

8 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Progress/achievement tests Purposes –to measure effectiveness of a phase of learning –to allow access by learner to next phase of learning Characteristics –items chosen to closely reflect content and methodology of preceding training phase –scores will often be interpreted with regard to average or pre-established norm –may refer to intermediate levels (3,5; 4,5;…) –stakes: low to medium

9 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Proficiency tests Purposes –to establish the competence of candidate to exercise language skills in operational conditions Characteristics items chosen to resemble real-world tasks overall scores are holistic: YES/NO stakes: very high

10 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Testing needs of aviation Ab initio populations –entry selection local education vs aviation training policies –progress/achievement intermediate training objectives continuation/curtailment –initial proficiency licensing Qualified populations –placement/diagnostic benchmarking populations individual training needs acceptance by takers –(progress/achievement) degree and speed –proficiency renewal recurrent

11 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Language test quality qualities of tests in general –validity –face validity –reliability –washback effect –practicality conflicting qualities

12 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Test design specifications (ICAO) As of 5 March 2008, aeroplane and helicopter pilots, air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators shall demonstrate the ability to speak and understand the language used for radiotelephony communications to the level specified in the language proficiency requirements in the Appendix. (Annex 1, ) –formal evaluation An individual must demonstrate proficiency at level 4 in all categories in order to receive a level 4 score. (Doc 9835, Manual on the Implementation of ICAO LPRs, 2.8.4) –profile evaluation

13 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Test design teams Tasks –develop test specifications –construct test –evaluate test –ensure ongoing test maintenance Qualifications –operational expertise –language test development expertise –linguistic expertise –item writers

14 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Test administration teams Tasks –ensure advance access to test samples –schedule test –manage pre-test preparations –manage test Qualifications –knowledge of administration guidelines –interlocutor expertise operational linguistic –rater expertise (min 2 raters)

15 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Rater/interlocutor qualifications 3 basic qualifications –language level –aviation background + familiarity with ICAO LPRs –principles of language proficiency and language testing suitable candidates –aviation personnel –language trainers L1 background –native speakers(NS)/non-native speakers (NNS) –risk of familiarity with a given form of NNS spoken English

16 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Institutional context need for independent international oversight to ensure: –validity of testing procedures used –comparability of testing procedures and outcomes testing outcomes are linked with personnel licensing –testing may not be in the sole hands of the ELT community –partnerships with CAA, service provider, airline,... system cannot tolerate a high failure rate –waste of expensive training investment –staffing levels must ensure continuity of service prior knowledge of test procedures for positive washback on training –trainee motivation and attitude, reassurance of candidates –development of appropriate training systems –BUT unsuitability of cramming, test item banks

17 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September A common test for ATC and pilots? pilots and controllers are partners in R/T communication but they are set apart by: –different interactive roles –complementary passive/active competencies –opportunity to use other job-related language uses to extend speech sample: controller: telephone co-ordinations, report to supervisor,... pilot: pre-flight, intra-cockpit, cabin announcements, ground staff, …. a possible solution? –common core test –job-specific components

18 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Need for testing services time/space constraints –dispersed locations (recurrent) –irregular schedules and limited availability of test-takers (recurrent) –availability of technologies –test/re-test test components –single event, integrative? –different item designs to test separate skills? standardisation of results –extensive trialling –comparable conditions of test administration –examiner training/auditing interlocutors raters test security –secure storage and transfer of test materials –multiple parallel versions

19 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Appropriate technologies voice-only –telephone, 2-way radio, language laboratories, training simulators input delivery –analogue players, computer screen (multimedia) performance storage and access –analogue recorders, computer sound files (rapid access) speech recognition standardise perception of intelligibility, save rating costs BUT needs to filter all possible speech variations no real interaction « interactions » need to be human-human –initiate and maintain exchanges –deal with misunderstandings

20 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Standardisation operationalisation of the rating scale –speech samples –« can do » statements rater training –initial –refresher rating protocols –paired rating –multiple rating

21 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Assessment of level 6 NOT a safety issue, but raises concerns about: resources ( no re-test) NS/NNS distinctions Speakers may be: mother-tongue non-mother tongue –intranational use –non-intranational use Candidacy on basis of biographical criteria citizenship, educational background, residency,... Protocols for assessment –admissible evidence –assessor qualification –appropriate documentation Subsequent checking and oversight must address: –adherence to standard ICAO phraseologies –ICAO LPRs for intelligibility appropriateness

22 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Informal evaluations Within the initial or continuing training process, language trainers can identify 3 categories of trainee: -well-below level 4 -approximately at level 4 (confirm by formal evaluation) -comfortably above above level 4 …thus enabling informed decisions to be made on possible access to professional functions further training required benchmarking of populations

23 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Formal tests for ICAO level 4 Placement (entry) –must relate to ALL 6 skills in ICAO scale –must measure distances above and below level 4 –may have diagnostic capability –tasks/topics/input materials focus on general or job-related skills –development requires some statistical validation Proficiency (exit) –must relate to ALL 6 skills in ICAO scale –must characterise test-takers as BELOW or AT levels 4, 5 or 6 –tasks/topics/input material must reflect radiotelephony language competencies (including standardized phraseology) –development requires strong statistical validation (high stakes)

24 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Detailed specifications (proficiency) provide a representative range of intelligible international accents as input for comprehension; provide a professionally relevant format for candidates to display comprehension; elicit an adequate continuous speech sample to test fluency/pronunciation; provide a voice-only setting for diadic (2-person) interactions; provide examples of routine and unexpected events in a work-related context; allow the candidate to use basic grammatical structures creatively; allow the candidate to demonstrate ability to paraphrase; allow the candidate to change between rehearsed/formulaic speech and spontaneous interaction; simulate unexpected events to create opportunities for misunderstanding. –EUROCONTROL/ENAC preliminary feasibility study 2004

25 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September Some existing specific tests Controllers –ab initio entry: EPT/FEAST(Eurocontrol) progress: APRO (ENAC, F) proficiency: PELA (Eurocontrol) –recurrent placement: TNP (DGAC, F) proficiency: ELPAC (Eurocontrol) – under development for 2007 Pilots –ab initio proficiency: FCL (DGAC, F) Other tests –TEA (Mayflower, UK) –TELLCAP (Russia) –TOEFA (Peru), –TELPA (IAES, Korea) –TELAP (CA Flight University,China) –RELTA (RMIT, Australia) –….

26 ICAO Regional Workshop on Language Proficiency Requirements Implementation; Paris, France, 6-7 September TNP (DGAC, France) developed by national language and subject-matter experts (controllers and ATC management) as a placement/diagnostic tool 3 papers cover professional language content: a written multiple choice test of language knowledge a tape-mediated written test of listening comprehension (RT messages) an individual oral interview using paper-mediated graphic and text input expresses results in terms of the ICAO level chart used since 1999 with qualified air traffic controllers: benchmarking to establish national training needs formulating periodic individualised language development and maintenance programmes in order to meet national qualification renewal requirements NOT a proficiency test lacks robust validation


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