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  • English Profile Journal, Volume 3
  • June 2012, e2

What kind of interaction receives high and low ratings in Oral Proficiency Interviews?

  • Paul Seedhouse (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S2041536212000025
  • Published online: 15 June 2012
Abstract
Abstract

Based on a Conversation Analysis (CA) of a corpus of Oral Proficiency Interviews (OPI), the study asks what kind of interaction receives high and low ratings in OPIs. The discussion focuses on issues of interactional organisation, considering turn-taking, sequence, repair and topic development in relation to candidate scores. The study presents findings of two funded studies of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Speaking Test (IST), which is one part of IELTS, a major international English proficiency test.

The article explains how interaction in the IST is organised in interactional terms and how this organisation generates opportunities to differentiate high- and low-scoring interaction. The study then lists the interactional characteristics of high-scoring and low-scoring tests, based on an inductive search through the database and analysis of the micro-interaction. Extracts are presented to support characterisations. Differences in score correlate to the following interactional differences in Parts 1 and 3 of the IST: ability to answer the question, engage with and develop a topic coherently, amount of trouble and repair, lexical choice, and identity construction. In Part 2 of the IST, length of turn may also be related to score.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

L. Brooks 2009. Interacting in pairs in a test of oral proficiency: Co-constructing a better performance. Language Testing 26, 341366.

A. Brown 2003. Interviewer variation and the co-construction of speaking proficiency. Language Testing 20.1, 125.

L. Davies 2009. The influence of interlocutor proficiency in a paired oral assessment. Language Testing 26, 367396.

D. Douglas 1994. Quantity and quality in speaking test performance. Language Testing 11, 125144.

G. Fulcher 1996. Does thick description lead to smart tests? A data-based approach to rating scale construction. Language Testing 13, 208238.

G. Fulcher 2003. Testing second language speaking. Harlow: Pearson.

A. He 1998. Answering questions in language proficiency interviews: A case study. In R. Young & A. He (eds.), Talking and testing: Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 101115.

A. Lazaraton & L. Davies 2008. A microanalytic perspective on discourse, proficiency, and identity in paired oral assessment. Language Assessment Quarterly 5, 313335.

L. May 2009. Co-constructed interaction in a paired speaking test: The rater's perspective. Language Testing 26, 397421.

C. J. Weir 2005. Limitations of the Common European Framework for developing comparable examinations and tests. Language Testing 22, 281300.

R. F. Young & A. He (eds.) 1998. Talking and testing: Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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English Profile Journal
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2041-5362
  • URL: /core/journals/english-profile-journal
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