Interactional competence in a paired speaking test : features salient to raters

May, Lynette A. (2011) Interactional competence in a paired speaking test : features salient to raters. Language Assessment Quarterly, 8(2), pp. 127-145.

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Paired speaking tests are now commonly used in both high-stakes testing and classroom assessment contexts. The co-construction of discourse by candidates is regarded as a strength of paired speaking tests, as candidates have the opportunity to display a wider range of interactional competencies, including turn taking, initiating topics and engaging in extended discourse with a partner, rather than an examiner. However, the impact of the interlocutor in such jointly negotiated discourse and the implications for assessing interactional competence are areas of concern. This article reports on the features of interactional competence that were salient to four trained raters of 12 paired speaking tests through the analysis of rater notes, stimulated verbal recalls and rater discussions. Findings enabled the identification of features of the performance noted by raters when awarding scores for interactional competence, and the particular features associated with higher and lower scores. A number of these features were seen by the raters as mutual achievements, which raises the issue of the extent to which it is possible to assess individual contributions to the co-constructed performance. The findings have implications for defining the construct of interactional competence in paired speaking tests and operationalising this in rating scales.

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7 citations in Scopus
9 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 41838
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: interactional competence, paired speaking tests, co-construction, rater decision making
DOI: 10.1080/15434303.2011.565845
ISSN: 1543-4303
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LINGUISTICS (200400) > Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics (200401)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Copyright Statement: This is an electronic version of an article published in [Language Assessment Quarterly, 8(2), pp. 127-145]. [Language Assessment Quarterly] is available online at Informaworld
Deposited On: 30 May 2011 22:35
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2012 13:11

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