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Task Equivalence in Speaking Tests

Investigating the Difficulty of Two Spoken Narrative Tasks

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Chihiro Inoue

This book addresses the issue of task equivalence, which is of fundamental importance in the areas of language testing and task-based research, where task equivalence is a prerequisite. The main study examines the two ‘seemingly-equivalent’ picture-based spoken narrative tasks, using a multi-method approach combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies with MFRM analysis of the ratings, the analysis of linguistic performances by Japanese candidates and native speakers of English (NS), expert judgements of the task characteristics, and perceptions of the candidates and NS. The results reveal a complex picture with a number of variables involved in ensuring task equivalence, raising relevant issues regarding the theories of task complexity and the commonly-used linguistic variables for examining learner spoken language. This book has important implications for the possible measures that can be taken to avoid selecting non-equivalent tasks for research and teaching.

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Appendices 247

Extract

Appendices Appendix 1: Sample Transcripts by the SST candidates [Level 4: train station task] on my way to the office I had the happening last week / at station it was eight o'clock / and it was a usual day / but I was in the form / and I waited for the train / when I waited for the train I falled the bag / and there is the man who was next to me / and his arm hit my arm / and I fall the bag / and the bag was the under the form / so I had a trouble / and the train came in the station / and I was surprised / and I thought my bag was broken by the train / but the train left the station / I found the bag was safe / and I called the station clerk / and I got it / [Level 7: train station task] last week I went to the station as usual on my way to my office / I usually take a train around eight o'clock because my work starts at nine / and it takes around an hour or so / and when I went to the plat- form to take a train the man who stand in front of me hit my elbow / and I dropped my briefcase / and suddenly my briefcase fell down my elbows and my arms / and it fell down to the lane /...

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