Topic 7: The “descriptional inadequacy” of external levels and descriptors: Addressing gaps in the CEFR for score reporting purposes

Proficiency levels and descriptors such as those in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR; Council of Europe, 2001) have been extensively operationalized through various score linking methods to facilitate score interpretation. This is in particular the case when such levels and descriptors, which are external to a test, are used to make important score-based decisions in the educational context where the test is used (Alderson, 2007; Kane, 2012). However, external levels and descriptors might suffer from “descriptional inadequacy” (Fulcher, et al., 2011), given that they are intentionally underspecified so that they can be applied to a variety of contexts (Weir, 2005). It is reasonable then to argue that external level and descriptors might not offer information directly relevant to test performance and that empirically-based levels and descriptors should also be developed to provide meaningful information to test users. This workshop will demonstrate how empirically-based, test-specific levels and descriptors were crafted in the context of two test programs assessing the language proficiency of two different age groups: adult learners and young learners. Particularly emphasis will be paid to the following important aspects of the research conducted:
•    the different types of data used to develop the levels and descriptors, including information from the CEFR
•    the combination of score mapping and scale anchoring methodologies
•    evidence of the classification accuracy and consistency of the levels and the meaningfulness of the descriptors

Zeit / Time

Freitag / Friday 24.2.2017; 16:30 - 18:00

Raum / Room

GW2 B2.900


Spiros Papageorgiou (Educational Testing Service)

Sprache / Language

Englisch / English