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Interaction in Paired Oral Proficiency Assessment in Spanish

Rater and Candidate Input into Evidence Based Scale Development and Construct Definition

Series:

Ana Maria Ducasse

Defining the construct of interaction for paired assessment purposes has been difficult, despite the evolution of our view of language to include the social perspective of co-construction, and the fact that such discourse is increasingly taught and assessed. In this volume three sequenced studies define interaction in paired oral assessment through the verbal protocols of learners of Spanish and their assessors. Assessors then scale performances from videoed test performance data resulting in the development of an evidence based rating process which includes non-verbal interpersonal communication, interactive listening and interactional management.

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Chapter 7: Discussion

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7.1 Chapter overview and introduction 7.1.1 Chapter overview In this chapter the two studies and the three main research questions are re- viewed and synthesized. In the first study it was demonstrated that candidate and rater views on peer interaction provide a mutually confirming representation of the interaction construct in the peer test format. The second study built on the theoretical basis of the first study to provide an empirically based scale. This chapter maps the data sets and discusses the implications of the findings from the studies. 7.1.2 Introduction The main aim of the research reported on, as was put forward in the introductory chapter, is twofold: to examine the manner in which the construct ‘peer interac- tion’ is operationalised from the perspective of both raters and candidates in a pair format task, and to use this as the basis for the development of a data-based rating scale for peer interaction. The study emerged from a practical need to improve fairness in rating pairs by focusing on what raters and candidates consider successful interaction in a paired task. The study also rose from a gap identified in the discourse studies that had previously examined speaking scale development and validation by us- ing data from proficiency interviews and from monologic and information gap tasks. Earlier discourse studies on pair tasks had demonstrated that paired peer test discourse displayed features that were different from the ones produced in other types of oral tasks. Prior to this research, there were no studies...

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