Carole Thomas: Working with the CEFR: The Bilkent Linking Project
79 Working with the CEFR: The Bilkent Linking Project Carole Thomas1 Bilkent University In 2006, Bilkent University School of English Language (BUSEL) embarked on a project to link its in-house proficiency exam, the Certificate of Proficiency in English Examination (COPE), to the Common European Framework. The project involved training people from the institution in the CEFR in order to act as “judges” in the linking project. The impact on the institution was much broader than originally anticipated in that not only was the exam linked to the CEFR at B2 level but there was also an increased awareness of the minimum standards required to pursue academic studies in an English medium context. The linking project followed the process recommended in the Manual for relating language examinations to the CEFR (Council of Europe, 2003; 2009). The project had four main stages: familiarisation, specification, standardisation and empirical validation. After the completion of the project, a further initiative took place to train teachers in the CEFR. This training enables more informed judgements to be made, through collaboration with the teachers, about the level of students exiting the program. It is helping to embed the CEFR into the institution thereby increasing transparency and reducing some of the inherent tensions that exist when high-stakes testing is involved. Key words: CEFR, COPE, Manual, training, transparency 1. Introduction Since its introduction in 2001, the Common European Framework of Reference for Language: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (Council of Europe, 2001) has had a great impact worldwide, mainly in the...
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