Polytechnic University of Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 3770-3774
ISBN: 978-84-09-37758-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2022.1047
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Ten years ago, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) established a B2 proficiency level, in accordance to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL), as a minimum level for students to enroll in the subject “English for Professional and Academic Communication”. In the next years after an initial short-term solution, two ways were regulated by the University to certify the necessary B2 level that were called “internal” and “external” accreditation. Internal accreditation was hired with TOEIC English tests twice a year whereas, to certify the level externally, any certificate accepted by the Spanish University Rectors Conference (CRUE) would be accepted. In this context, an experiment has recently been developed to identify the extent to which the English B2 accreditation presented by the students when enrolling the subject is a predictor of their performance and/or results in the subject of professional an academic English. From the results presented in AUTHORS 2021, it seems confirmed that students who enrolled the course with an APTIS certificate achieve significantly lower marks in the continuous assessment tests of the course than those students who took a TOEIC placement test or a Cambridge First Certificate in English. The test include both direct and indirect activities to assess listening and writing skills as well as academic content and language integrated learning.

In this work, we present the results of semi-structured interviews with a number of students representing the three groups of certification and with the teachers involved in the subject to add qualitative insights that could further explain the results obtained in a previous quantitative study, revisited herein, which point to the fact that there is a relation between the certificate presented by the students to certify a B2 proficiency level and their performance and/or results in some learning skills, and eventually, their overall final result. Moreover, the correlation among the response within different skills is analyzed and the result is contrasted with the tasks the students must fulfill in the different certifications. Some examples of the tasks completed by the students who enrolled the course with different certifications are presented to illustrate what is meant when we refer to a poorer or better performance on the part of students both in completing indirect questions as can be filling gaps or matching activities as well as their performance in open ended tasks. To conclude, some practical conclusions are drawn about how the students’ departing point affects their performance during the course and their learning progress.
English language, Telecommunication students, B2 proficiency level, language skills, task performance.