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Summative assessment of oral language proficiency: Four Swedish EFL teachers’ views on communicative competence, grading criteria and strategy use
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education and Teacher's Practice.
2020 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Assessment is one of the major struggles for EFL teachers, not least oral proficiency assessment. Considering the great influence of communicative competence on today’s EFL classroom, oral language proficiency is a common source of assessment. However, it is also difficult to assess, and grading criteria are not always easy to interpret. This study investigates EFL teachers’ views on oral proficiency assessment, focusing on communicative competence, fluency, grading criteria and strategy use. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four teachers in Swedish upper secondary school, and the data were analysed by means of grounded theory, an inductive approach aiming to develop theories on the basis of empirical findings and emphasising links between theoretical explanations and practical situations. The results suggest that oral language proficiency is valued highly by teachers although being difficult to assess, not least for practical reasons. Furthermore, oral language proficiency is defined as interaction rather than production, and basic theories of communicative competence (threshold levels) and fluency are emphasised by the teachers. The results also confirm the notion that grading criteria are interpreted differently by different teachers. Lastly, the findings indicate the importance of students’ strategy use in teachers’ assessment of oral language proficiency, as well as the difficulty of assessing this, not least when a student is highly proficient and does not demonstrate the need to use strategies to solve problems in interaction. Some implications of the study are the importance of providing teachers with clear guidelines on how to interpret grading criteria, as well as teachers engaging in collegial collaboration when assessing oral language proficiency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. , p. 37
Keywords [en]
oral fluency, oral interaction, knowledge requirements, grading, threshold levels, interviews, grounded theory, Swedish upper secondary school, syllabus for English
National Category
Didactics Specific Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-91353OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-91353DiVA, id: diva2:1388863
Subject / course
English
Educational program
Supplementary educational programme, 90 credits
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2020-02-03 Created: 2020-01-28 Last updated: 2020-02-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf