About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 7009-7018
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain

CHALLENGES IN COMPUTER-BASED TESTING OF YOUNG LEARNERS’ ORAL COMPETENCES IN FRENCH

K. Karges, P. Lenz

Research Centre on Multilingualism (SWITZERLAND)
Over the last decades, foreign language teaching in primary schools has become common in most European countries. Switzerland is currently introducing two foreign languages into the primary school curricula: one of the national languages as well as English.

The project I am reporting on (commissioned by the Swiss Research Centre on Multilingualism), aims at the development of a computer-based instrument for testing the basic oral language skills of young learners of French with a formative diagnostic use in mind. It focuses on students in German and Italian-speaking Switzerland, where French is taught before English (starting at age 8).

Given the age of our learners, our instrument has to take into account their very specific learning circumstances, e.g. their low proficiency level and overall cognitive development, the importance of the oral language in the language classroom and the limited amount of time dedicated to foreign language teaching.

Also, following the tendency in diagnostic assessment to focus on partial competences or deficits, we have decided to assess lexical units (single words, chunks, turns) which the pupils are expected to master orally, i. e. in listening and/or speaking.

These were established using two main sources:
1) a corpus analysis of the textbook material;
2) an analysis (including a survey) of the oral language used by teachers and pupils to manage their daily interactions and the learning process in the classroom.

In the test we are currently designing and have begun to pilot, students typically react to a prompt, usually a picture or a short picture sequence, by speaking into a microphone. Their answers are stored on a server and can later be rated using an online mask which provides rating criteria and benchmark examples. These ratings can be used to establish progress reports and summaries that form part of the feedback on the learners’ strengths and weaknesses.

In order to share our experiences, I will describe the various phases of test development, mention setbacks and obstacles and present our solutions. My focus will be on issues concerning the implementation of a speaking test in a computer environment and on questions of usability with respect to our target group.

I will also present a working example of our test along with preliminary findings from the test validation in progress.
@InProceedings{KARGES2014CHA,
author = {Karges, K. and Lenz, P.},
title = {CHALLENGES IN COMPUTER-BASED TESTING OF YOUNG LEARNERS’ ORAL COMPETENCES IN FRENCH},
series = {6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN14 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-0557-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {7-9 July, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {7009-7018}}
TY - CONF
AU - K. Karges AU - P. Lenz
TI - CHALLENGES IN COMPUTER-BASED TESTING OF YOUNG LEARNERS’ ORAL COMPETENCES IN FRENCH
SN - 978-84-617-0557-3/2340-1117
PY - 2014
Y1 - 7-9 July, 2014
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN14 Proceedings
SP - 7009
EP - 7018
ER -
K. Karges, P. Lenz (2014) CHALLENGES IN COMPUTER-BASED TESTING OF YOUNG LEARNERS’ ORAL COMPETENCES IN FRENCH, EDULEARN14 Proceedings, pp. 7009-7018.
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