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Relating a Sustained Monologue Speaking Production Test to CEFR: Towards Alignment

Hazita Azman, Zarina Othman, Chairozila Mohd. Shamsuddin, Wahiza Wahi, Mohd Sallehuddin Abd Aziz, Wan Nur’ashiqin Wan Mohamad, Shazleena Othman and Mohd Hafiszudin Mohd Amin

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 29, Issue S3, December 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.s3.20

Keywords: Aligning to CEFR, assessing ESL speaking, speaking production, sustained monologue tasks

Published on: 30 November 2021

This article evaluates a sustained monologue speaking production test to validate its link to the CEFR model. The monologue test is a low-stakes production test that engages the test taker in sustained monologue tasks targeted at B2-C1 of the CEFR levels. The evaluation of the test included determining the extent to which the monologue speaking tasks and the single assessment criterion-related rating scale developed for the test are valid and reliably aligned to CEFR benchmarked descriptors. The socio-cognitive framework for test evaluation was adopted, and an explanatory sequential mixed-methods research design was implemented. The evaluation revealed some contentious points of contrast between the test items and the language demand that each item prompted in production. Consequently, selected items were improved or deleted to ensure the appropriate competency levelled at B2-C1 are correctly prompted. Additionally, the findings underlined the imperative need for test developers to adhere to five inter-related sets of procedures in the justification of a claim that the monologue speaking test is aligned to the CEFR. These include familiarisation, specification, standardisation and benchmarking, standard-setting, and validation. It emerged that thorough familiarity with the CEFR by test item writers and examiners is a fundamental requirement for a test closely related to CEFR construct and levels. Thus, familiarisation training of CEFR and its illustrative descriptors is a mandatory prerequisite for ensuring test items and assessment of the elicited production correspond to the levels and ratings described in the CEFR model.

ISSN 0128-7702

e-ISSN 2231-8534

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