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The Development of a Common Framework Scale of Language Proficiency

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Brian North

Scales describing language proficiency in a series of levels can provide orientation for educational programmes, criteria for assessment, and reporting to stakeholders. However, in most cases such instruments are produced just by expert opinion. A scale of language proficiency actually implies a descriptive scheme related to theory but usable by practitioners. It also implies a methodology for scaling content to different levels. This book describes the use of both qualitative and quantitative techniques to develop scales for the «Common Reference Levels» in the Common European Framework of Reference for modern languages. Short stand-alone descriptors were (i) developed and classified, (ii) refined and elaborated in workshops, and then (iii) scaled by analyzing the judgments of one hundred teachers on the English language proficiency of the learners in their classes.

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List of Figures xi

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Figures Figure 2.1: Boundaries of Categories of Spoken Interaction 111 Figure 2.2: Boundaries of Categories for Spoken Production 112 Figure 6.1: FACETS All Facet Vertical Summary 226 Figure 6.2: FACETS Learner Measurement Report 229 Figure 6.3: Typical Use of the Rating Scale 231 Figure 6.4: Unusual Use of the Rating Scale 232 Figure 6.5: Identifying Unstable Anchor Items 248 Figure 6.6: Final Anchoring between Two Questionnaires 249 Figure 7.1: A Holistic Scale for Interaction 281 Figure 7.2: Coverage of Topics / Settings 296 Figure 7.3: Coverage of Categories 297 Figure 8.1: Achievement in Educational Sectors per Year of 326 Study: 140 classes: Actual Learners Figure 8.2: Achievement in Educational Sectors per Year of 327 Study: 140 classes: Median & 1 Standard Deviation Figure 8.3: Achievement in Educational Sectors per Year of 328 Study: Likely Achievement Figure 9.1: Interaction Descriptors from the Eurocentres Scale 337 This page intentionally left blank

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