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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: Trends in assessment scales and criterion-referenced language assessment
Author: Thom Hudson
Institution: University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: Two current developments reflecting a common concern in second/foreign language assessment are the development of: (1) scales for describing language proficiency/ability/performance; and (2) criterion-referenced performance assessments. Both developments are motivated by a perceived need to achieve communicatively transparent test results anchored in observable behaviors. Each of these developments in one way or another is an attempt to recognize the complexity of language in use, the complexity of assessing language ability, and the difficulty in interpreting potential interactions of scale task, trait, text, and ability. They reflect a current appetite for language assessment anchored in the world of functions and events, but also must address how the worlds of functions and events contain non skill-specific and discretely hierarchical variability. As examples of current tests that attempt to use performance criteria, the chapter reviews the Canadian Language Benchmark, the Common European Framework, and the Assessment of Language Performance projects.


This article appears IN Annual Review of Applied Linguistics Vol. 25, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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