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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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Appendices 351

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Appendices Appendix 1: Sample Data Collection Questionnaire Teacher's Name: ________________ _ Sector: = Lower Secondary = Upper Secondary = Commercial & Professional Schools =:; Adult Education :::! Other: please specify: ........... . Level of English Year of English study/Level: ....................... . The Learner Name: .................................... Sex: M: F: = Mother Tongue: ....................... . Age: ....................... . Please rate the learner for each of the 50 items on the questionnaire using the following scale. Please cross the appropriate number next to each item: @ This describes a level which is definitely bryondhis/her capabilities. Could not be expected to perform like this. .is, ask for basit· information, ask and give dim-tions, and bi!J tickets. -2.54 Can ask for attention. .19 1.66 3.43 -2.56 Can use some simple struc- .23 1.23 1.24 .14 1.07 .70 tures correctly, but still systematically makes basic mistakes. -2.58 Can get simple information .19 .62 -2.77 about travel. -2.58 Can sqy what he/ she likes and .19 1.39 2.15 dislikes. -2.63 Can indicate when he/ she is .19 .85 -.99 following. -2.63 Can make simple transadions in .22 1.27 1.43 shops, post offices or banks. -2.65 Can describe themselves and other .19 .79 -1.40 .14 .94 -.63 people. -2.66 Can expand learned phrases .19 .75 -1.73 through simple recombina- tions of their elements. -2.66 Can describe their family, .26 .57 -2.59 living conditions, educational background, present or most recent job. -2.67 Can exchange limited in- .26 .61 -2.34 formation on familiar and routine operational matters. -2.72 Can understand what is said .21 1.10 .56 clearly, slowly and directly to him/her in simple everyday conversation; can be...

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