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ERIC Number: EJ845537
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-0265-5322
Test Review: Review of the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) Speaking Test
Macqueen, Susy; Harding, Luke
Language Testing, v26 n3 p467-475 2009
In 2002 the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) implemented a revised version of the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). CPE, which is the highest level of the Main Suite of Cambridge ESOL exams, comprises five modules, "Reading," "Writing," "Use of English," "Listening" and "Speaking," the latter of which is the focus of this review. Among the innovations introduced in the revised CPE exam were the introduction of a paired speaking format with two candidates and two examiners, revised tasks including a collaborative task carried out by the candidates together, a script for the participating examiner to follow, and revised assessment scales. The CPE speaking test consists of three parts and takes 19 minutes for a pair of candidates. The test tasks increase in difficulty as the test proceeds and three types of stimulus are used: (1) verbal (all parts, but exclusively in Part 1); (2) visual (Part 2); and (3) written (Part 3). In the test as a whole, the construct consists of three main interactional modes: (1) "question and answer" (examiner to candidate/s); (2) "goal-oriented conversation" (candidate to candidate); and (3) "long turn" (candidate to examiner and other candidate). These are characterized by different turn-taking patterns and power relationships. The authors conclude that the test review process was careful, lengthy, and consultative. There are a number of commendable additions in the revised test--the use of two examiners, the enhanced reliability afforded by the examiner script, the appeal of the paired format among test-takers, and the variety of interaction patterns and language functions--but there are also areas where ongoing validation work should focus. These include: (1) continued research on the effect of different pairings on candidates' scores; (2) a clear articulation of how the paired-candidate format broadens the speaking construct; and (3) a re-evaluation of the separability of the assessment criteria. (Contains 6 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A