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Test-taker interaction: How do raters perceive the construct?

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Linda Borger
Publicerad i The 13th Annual Conference of EALTA, Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, Spain 5-8 May, 2016
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik
Språk en
Ämneskategorier Engelska språket, Pedagogik


The paired speaking test format is commonly used in both classroom-based and high-stakes assessment contexts, one of its advantages being the potential for eliciting a wider range of interactional functions than the oral proficiency interview. However, the construct of paired oral interaction is complex and thus poses challenges for rating. A major concern is how the co-constructed nature of the performance, and the ‘unpredictability’ that this brings about, affects the fairness of ratings. The objective of this presentation is to discuss data from a study exploring the construct of interaction in a paired speaking test from the rater’s perspective. Thirty-one raters assigned holistic scores to six paired conversations from an authentic high-stakes EFL national test and provided written verbal reports on features of the peer interaction that they reported contributed to their judgement. The written comments were segmented and coded. Findings indicate that the raters attended to individual features of each test taker’s communicative ability, as well as to interactional features that were co-constructed by the two test-takers. Frequent comparisons were also made between the two candidates, indicating that the construct of spoken interaction was perceived as a joint achievement. Furthermore, raters reflected on the matching of candidates and how they performed in relation to one another. Examples from the different types of rater comments will be given, focusing on the issue of separability of scores for co-constructed interaction. Finally, implications for the development of rating scales, including the construct of peer interaction, will be considered.

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