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PROFICIENCY ASSESSMENT STANDARDS IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION RESEARCH

“Clozing” the Gap

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 July 2011

Annie Tremblay*
Affiliation:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
*
*Address correspondence to: Annie Tremblay, Department of French, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2090 Foreign Language Building, 707 S. Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801; e-mail: atrembla@illinois.edu.

Abstract

The present study aims to sensitize SLA researchers to the importance of documenting and controlling for their participants’ proficiency in the target language, with the goal of establishing more robust proficiency assessment standards in experimental research. First, this article presents a survey of recent (2000–2008) foreign and second-language (L2) acquisition studies that show that such standards have yet to be met. Second, it demonstrates the validity, reliability, and practicality of a cloze (i.e., fill-in-the-blank) test designed to discriminate among L2 learners of French at different proficiency levels. Subject and item analyses are performed on the cloze test scores of 169 L2 learners of French from various language backgrounds. The relationship between these scores and the learners’ language background is examined. Cutoff points between proficiency levels are identified in the data. The test then is shared with scholars so that those working with a similar population of L2 learners of French can also use it.

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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