Sunday, October 21, 2007

oral testing in pairs

Topic: Assignment 2 discussion and queries Date: 3 January 2007 12:16 PM
Subject: oral testing in pairs Author: Mondy, Steven

The point about the stronger student being able to perform in any situation is quite solid. I think that we as teachers can see their ability to handle a situation where the other speaker cannot answer fully (though are we now testing something different). This reflects an aspect of authenticity, in that it more closely resembles real life situations. However, as the proctor of the test, how do we alter our own perceptions to the changes and grading? This is obviously very subjective, as it is quite spontaneous, and we are unable to prepare fully for such a case. We can however, make provisions in our planning for this kind of test, by stating the course of action to take in such a case. This of course is an ideal situation, in which teachers have the time to do so. Still, there will be problems with reliability, especially proctor to proctor consistency, that will certainly need attention.
As for weaker students being paired, well from my experience, it has been rather detrimental as you have pointed out. Students tend to wind down into a state of nervousness about not being able to answer anything. Then there starts to be a problem with reliability (Bachman 1990), in that random factors, such as emotional state and changes to the test environment interfere with the successful completion of the test. Has anyone else had similiar problems?
Steven Mondy

No comments: