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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 Abbreviations xvii

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Abbreviations ACTFL ALTE ASLPR c&h carr CCSE DIF Dutch EC EFL ELTS elviri ESL ESU EurLon finn FSI fulch Got Hof IELTS ILR lib American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Association of Language Testers in Europe Australian Second Language Proficiency Ratings Carroll BJ. and Hall P.J Interview Scale 1985 Carroll BJ. Oral Interaction Assessment Scale 1980 University of Cambridge/RSA Certificates in Communicative Skills in English 1990 Differential Item Functioning Netherlands New Examinations Programme 1992 (Van Els 1992) Eurocentres Scale of Language Proficiency 1993 English as a Foreign Language English Language Testing Service Elviri et a!: Oral Expression 1986 (in Van Ek 1986) English as a Second Language (used interchangeably with EFL in a North American context) English-speaking Union Framework Project European Certificate of Attainment in Modern Languages 1993 Finnish Nine Level Scale of Language Proficiency 1993 Foreign Service Institute Absolute Proficiency Ratings Fulcher: The Fluency Rating Scale 1993 Goteborgs Univeritet: Oral Assessment Criteria Hofmann: Levels of Competence in Oral Communication 1974 International English Language Testing Service Interagency Language Roundtable Language Skill Level Descriptors British Languages Lead Body: National Language Standards 1993 XVlll Lon NatC North OTESL RSA The Development qf a Common framework Scale if Language Prqfidenry University of London School Examination Board: Certificate of Attainment 1987 English National Curriculum: Modern Languages 1991 Eurocentres: European Language Portfolio Mock-up: Interaction Scales 1991 Ontario ESL Oral Interaction Assessment Bands Royal Society of Arts Modern Languages Examinations: French 1989 sho Hebrew Oral Proficiency Rating Grid 1981 Trim Trim: Possible Scale...

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