Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Development and implementation of an ESL classroom assessment of face-to-face conversational interaction
by Kauper, Nancy Louise, Ph.D., Purdue University, 2012, 245; 3545283
Abstract (Summary)

Knowledge of local norms and conventions of interaction and ability to use them appropriately as well as the ability to negotiate meaning with interlocutors are important for ESL graduate students and prospective teaching assistants in an English-speaking university context. The interactive communication (IC) assessment using a paired student conversation task was developed for Purdue's Oral English Proficiency Program to supplement a curriculum that focused mainly on academic language and classroom teaching presentations. The main goal of this formative classroom assessment is to help students improve face-to-face interaction skills in English, including negotiation of meaning, active listening, and conversation management; and to give OEPP instructors a broader view of students' ability to communicate in English in interactive contexts. Recordings of paired student IC assessment conversations were studied and transcribed to determine if assessment goals and criteria corresponded to actual student performances, and to provide evidence for further development and validation of the IC assessment. Results and evidence from this study were used to revise assessment goals and criteria, to provide examples and benchmarks for instruction and rating, and to revise the assessment rating scale and scoring guidelines. All existing criteria were found to be relevant but reference to body language was found to be lacking. The assessment rating scale was changed from a five-point to a three-point scale. Rater orientation was carried out to familiarize raters with the new scale. Raters' scores and written comments were studied to see if raters could agree to a reasonable extent on how to interpret and apply the scale, and if individual raters could use the entire scale and follow scoring guidelines consistently. Reasonable agreement was found, but raters did not often use the lowest point on the scale. The final study looked at results of a student course survey which used a Likert scale and contained items on student attitudes about the IC and use of IC skills outside of the classroom. Survey responses indicated that most students valued and liked the IC assessment, and especially liked having conversations with classmates. Most students indicated that they used the IC skills outside of the classroom, and that IC conversation practice had made them better listeners, had allowed them to develop better relationships with classmates, and had made them more comfortable conversing in English with acquaintances outside of the classroom. Implications are that interaction skills developed during practice conversations in the classroom are portable to other contexts of interaction; and that greater comfort conversing in English may lead to development of relationships with local English speakers, which can be an effective pathway for improving interactive competence and overall oral English proficiency.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ginther, April J.
Commitee: Atkinson, Dwight, Berns, Margie, Silva, Tony
School: Purdue University
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 74/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational tests & measurements, English as a Second Language, Curriculum development
Keywords: Assessment, Classroom assessment, Conversation, ESL, Interaction skills, Interactional competence, Negotiation for meaning
Publication Number: 3545283
ISBN: 978-1-267-77468-2
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