ERIC Number: ED242220
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar-3
Reference Count: 0
Current Status of O.P.I. in Intensive Language Programs.
Rodriguez, Manuel C.
Since the initial inquiry into oral proficiency and oral proficiency testing by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in 1981, the growing interest in this form of testing is evidenced by increased participation in workshops, conference sessions, and training sessions devoted to it. Intensive language programs and an emphasis on spoken language have also emerged. Acquisition of functional oral ability is the current focus of language instruction, and oral proficiency interviews (OPI) have become an integral part of the proficiency assessment process. There are several types of intensive language programs being conducted in colleges and universities, using several variations on the original OPI and the ACTFL and Educational Testing Service guidelines and criteria. The type used at Northern Arizona University for its Spanish immersion program is modeled after Peace Corps training programs, with evaluation based on the Foreign Service Institute's model, adapted for academic grading. It was discovered that this adaptation was less a test of oral proficiency than an oral version of a discrete-point grammar achievement exam. Examiner note-taking also proved to inhibit students. The test was changed in format, and a weighted scale based on the academic 100% model within the ACTFL guidelines and giving more emphasis to performance than structure was adopted. Nonetheless, the grading is approached holistically, focusing on the level at which a student can sustain speech. The fourth stage of the program, equivalent to the first semester of third year Spanish, involves use of the OPI. Increased training opportunities for OPI examiners, especially within initial teacher training, and further research into the test's implications for curriculum and language instruction methods, are needed. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Langs; Northern Arizona University; Oral Proficiency Testing
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwest Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (Colorado Springs, CO, March 1-3, 1984).