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ERIC Number: ED368155
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Aug
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Testing the English of Foreign Students in 1930.
Spolsky, Bernard
Tests of English for foreign students conducted by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (England) and the Educational Testing Service were recognized as equivalent, though different in form and approach, in the 1930s. The underlying goal of the Cambridge certificate of proficiency was control of the English curriculum of foreign schools. American tests were intended to plug a loophole in immigration law that allowed for visas outside the foreign student quota, and reliability was an important design criterion. The College Entrance Examination Board test prepared in 1927-30 reflects the contemporary state of the art in language testing. It consisted of: four one-paragraph passages, varied in difficulty and focus, with true-false questions; a longer passage focusing on ideas; a direct dictation and reproduction from memory of a dictated passage; an oral test; and a 250-300 word composition. In its first year, the test was administered to 30 candidates in 8 countries. Diminishing interest in studying in the United States during the Depression caused discontinuance. The Cambridge examinations, by contrast, were curriculum-oriented, modeled on a traditional native-speaker higher education syllabus, and did not incorporate psychometrics. They included sections on phonetics, English literature, and translation. Use expanded gradually but steadily, then declined during World War II. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: College Entrance Examination Board; Educational Testing Service; England; University of Cambridge Local Exam Synd (England)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Language Testing Research Colloquium (15th, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom, August 2-8, 1993).