ЗНАЕТЕ ЛИ ВЫ?

Part I. UNIVERSAL CRITERIA OF COMPLEX ASSESSMENT OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY



Introduction

Taking into account the integration of Kazakhstani higher schools into the world educational space and the purpose of realization Academy’s graduates’ knowledge, skills and habits at production activity the academy pays a great attention to studying Kazakh, English and Russian languages. The knowledge of these languages irrespective of people’s nationalities of the Republic of Kazakhstan must overcome any barriers in production and home relations. That is why it is important to have a good methodology of language knowledge assessment, which hasn’t been taken into consideration in the works of our methodologists before. The methodology of complex assessment of language proficiency is given in this manual for the fisrt time.

Since 2000 Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering has been seeking and applying new ways of solving problems of learner’s knowledge level assessment, the most perfect definition of their professional level, extending methods of control and bringing innovations to methodology of teaching and including learner’s language background. Gradation of language discipline according to the level of training is introduced in Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering. For the assessment of language proficiency Academy takes the system, which takes into account theoretical and practical training of learners.

The tutors of the Department of General Humanitarian Training under the instruction of the President of Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering Professor

A. A. Kussainov had worked out “Universal Criteria of Complex Assessment of Language Proficiency” (Russian, English, and Kazakh languages) and test materials for these criteria. For the development of the previous “Universal Criteria of Complex Assessment of Language Proficiency” the manual aims to determine the levels of language proficiency. The authors of this book created five levels of language proficiency:

Beginners – I level

Pre-intermediate – II level

Intermediate – III level

Upper-intermediate – IV level

Advanced – V level

The level of knowledge assessment is based on the following parameters:

1) communicative tasks which learners can decide by the means of this or that language;

2) spheres, and situations of communication, where these communicative tasks are solved;

3) subject and content aspect of communication;

4) effective decision of communicative tasks;

5) quality of speech activity.

Combined examination is divided into two parts: (theoretical part) + oral (practical part).

Each level includes the tasks for determining the abilities and skills of oral and written speech and it represents itself as a hierarchical ascending sequence of stages of language skills perfection.

The given scale of complex assessment represents the universal level collection of criteria of knowledge, abilities and skills which learners must possess.

All test materials are divided into two groups:

tasks which help to determine the depth of the knowledge of theoretical material;

tasks which help to determine practical knowledge, skills and habits;

Final mark can be represented generally:

X·П

where X – the mark of theoretical knowledge on one of the five levels. This is an absolute mark and it is expressed according to the letter scale (A, B, C, D, F).

П – а relative characteristics of practical language knowledge which is expressed in percentages (from 0 to 100 %)

Accordingly, all tasks mentioned in the “Universal Criteria of Complex Assessment of Language Proficiency” are divided into two blocks.

The first block is the theoretical block, and it involves lexical and grammatical and lingua -geographical material which is given in the form of 20 closed tests for each level. 5 test tasks for each level is given in the following manual as an example. 120 test questions for each level were given in Database of Academy. Learners can begin his testing with any level. Threshold level is 10 right answers, below this is mark F. Further the marks are given according to the multiscore letter system:

D – 10-12 right answers;

C– 13-15 right answers;

B –16-18 right answers;

A –19-20 right answers.

At computer testing learner answer 20 questions within 20 minutes and he must take, as minimum 50%, so he must give right answers for 10 questions. If he passes it he can pass the second (practical) block of the combined examination. If he doesn’t pass it he must pass the theoretical part at the level below.

The second block is the practical block which reveals the level of practical language proficiency. Assessment is conducted as we see above in percentages from maximum possible (relatively ideal 100%) level.

The examination on the second block is conducted as an oral exam where the learner is given an exam card appropriate to his level. The tasks on 4 types of speech activity (TSA) are given in each exam card: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The oral part of the examination lasts 40 minutes: listening – 9 min, speaking – 6 min, reading – 15 min, writing – 10 min.

The answer is estimated in percentage from 0 to 100% which determines the practical level of language proficiency: 0-20% – Elementary level (I), 21-40% – Pre-Intermediate level (II), 41-60% – Intermediate level (III), 61-80% – Upper-Intermediate level (IV), 81-100% – Advanced level (V). The learner has an opportunity to pass the exam on next level. If the learner’s exam results correspondents to 10-18% (for I level), 30-38% (for II level), 50-58% (for III level), 70-78% (for IV level), 80-88% (for V level) he will stay at the same level. But he must pass on the upper level during the next semester.

It is necessary to give equal quantitative parameters to offering tasks for objective determination learner’s knowledge level of in all TSA. Each level has an identical quantity of the tasks in the practical block: three tasks in listening, three in speaking, three in reading and three in writing. For identifying the learner’s competence it is necessary to give the tasks of practical block in strict definite order. We mustn’t miss the tasks or change them.

It is necessary to define a differentiating point for presenting the priority of one (TSA) before another. It is called “sufficiency of significance” of TSA. According to the researches in the world it was proved that nowadays we listen – 45 %, speak – 30 %, read – 10 %, and write – 9 %. Listening is obviously seen to be the most important TSA and its “sufficiency of significance” is 0,4 in our criteria. The second speaking according to the significance is 0,3, the third reading is 0,2 and fourth writing is 0,1. Ready percentages were given in the criteria with counting “sufficiency of significance” of TSA. So it is easy to estimate the procedure.

For example, learner Nurpeisova Alya who passed the test chose II – level and had 75 marks in theoretical part. She was given B, which correspondents to mark of her theoretical knowledge. Then she passed the practical part on the II level.

For example, it took 9 minutes for listening:

1. During 4 minutes she listened to the text «Todd’s world tour» and filled in a test and she answered only 4 true and false sentences from 5 mentioned sentences and got 4 %.

2. During 2 minutes she answered only 4 text questions from 4 mentioned questions and got 5 %.

3. During 2 minutes she retold the text in details and got 6 %.

So, she got 19 % for the correct tasks in listening.

It took 6 minutes for speaking:

1. During 2 minutes she had a conversation on theme «Almaty» and gave only 2 sentences and got 2 %.

2. During 4 minutes she put monoloque on this theme and gave 3 sentences and got 3 %.

3. During 4 minutes she put questions on given theme «Kazakhstan» and put only 2 questions and got 2 %.

So, she got 7 % for the correct tasks in speaking.

It took 15 minutes for reading:

1. During 2 minutes she read the text «Pollution» and got 1% and filled in a test but she answered only 2 true and false sentences from 4 mentioned sentences and got 0.5 %.

2. During 3 minutes she answered only 2 text questions from the 4 mentioned questions and got 1%.

3. During 10 minutes she translated the text with the dictionary into native language and got 3%.

So, she got 4.5 % for the correct tasks in reading.

It took 10 minutes for writing:

1. During 2 minutes she filled in CV and got 1 %.

2. During 4 minutes she wrote digital dictation and got 1 %.

3. During 4 minutes she wrote the answer to 2 questions from 4 mentioned questions and got

0.5 %.

So, she got 2.5% for the correct tasks in writing.

Listening - 19 %.

Speaking – 7 %.

Reading - 4.5 %

Writing - 2.5 %

So, the learner Nurpeisova Alya takes 33% for doing her practical part and her total mark according to English Language Proficiency is B 33%.

In Academy at the first semester the learners enter the group of Kazakh and Russian on the II level / “Pre-intermediate”, group of English on the I level / “Beginners”.

Note:

a) if the learners hasn’t much knowledge for studying on II level he must study the discipline to reach Pre-intermediate level during seven weeks (dead-line is the first rating control); b) those who speak English on advanced level can have individual lessons in a consultative order during the whole academic year (he must take tasks from the tutor and pass them once two weeks).

Entering control is conducted on basis of materials and methodology of the given criteria.

In the formula of estimation great point average GPA counts only theoretical (letter) component of final mark on language discipline since 2005-2006. At the same time there is a limit of transforming from one course to another.

During one academic period (semester) the learner should raise a degree of practical languages proficiency, as minimum, on one level (from I to II level; from II to III level; from III to IV level; from IV to V level), otherwise the department of educational control and planning on presentation of the Office Registrar, organizes a repeated study of discipline on a paid basis, after which he carries out final certification. The necessary condition for transferring on the second course is the rise of language proficiency on one level.

So, the necessary condition for transferring on the second course is languages proficiency as minimum: for State language and Russian on Intermediate level, for English – Pre-intermediate; for transferring from the second course on the third course is for State language and Russian on Upper - Intermediate level, for English – Intermediate.

The determination of learners’ language level, speech and communicative competence with the help of the “Universal Criteria of Complex Assessment of Language Proficiency” opens large horizons for objectivity of language knowledge assessment and proficiency, for creative activity of tutors and students in the process of studying languages. The given methodology let the tutors not only analyze and also replace accents in the building of educational process, using all-out personally and orientated approach in training. The learner gets the possibility to have a full imagination about his strong and weak sides of language having liquidated the gaps in his knowledge at Student’s Individual work and Student’s Individual work with Teacher.

The structure of the manual is determined by level approach to the process of languages proficiency. The materials of manual have been tested in Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering for definition of languages proficiency level. Practical application of criteria data in determination of language knowledge level showed that they are able to give the exact determination of language, speech and communicative competence, its objectivity and transparency of the process of language assessment.





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