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Toward Communicative Competence Testing: Proceedings of the Second TOEFL Invitational Conference GREB TOEFL

Stansfield, Charles W.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Graduate Record Examinations Board, Communicative Competence (Languages), Conference Proceedings, Linguistic Competence, Second Language Learning, Test Construction, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)


This report presents the proceedings of the second TOEFL Invitational Conference, held October 19-20, 1984 at the Henry Chauncey Conference Center. It includes: 1) the agenda for the two days; 2) an introduction describing the background and impact of the conference; 3) a report on current TOEFL research; 4) an overview of research related to TOEFL; 5) five papers by the five main presenters at the conference; 6) discussion and comments on the five papers; and 7) closing remarks. The five main papers presented are: 1) "The Meaning of Communicative Competence in Relation to the TOEFL Program" by Sandra J. Avignon; 2) "Explaining Communicative Competence, Limits of Testability?" by Christopher N. Candlin; 3) "The Test of English as a Foreign Language As A Measure of Communicative Competence" by Lyle F. Bachman; 4) "Communication Theory and Testing: What and How" by John W. Oller, Jr.; and 5) "Communicative Competence and Tests of Oral Skills" by Dan Douglas. Two of the five papers presented focus on the implications of communicative competence for the TOEFL Program, one assesses the current TOEFL from the standpoint of its effectiveness in tapping communicative competence, and the final two focus on ways in which communicative competence could be measured in a modified TOEFL. In addition to selecting the five major presenters, the committees asked four other individuals to prepare formal responses to the selected papers. Reactions to the papers by Diane Larsen-Freemen, Charles W. Stansfield, and Frances B. Hinofotis are edited versions of the papers they prepared for the conference. In addition, three discussion sessions of approximately one hour each were scheduled during the two days in order to permit participants to question the speakers, and to reach consensus about issues and recommendations being considered; the most important points made are summarized here in a manner that is as faithful as possible to the original intent of the contributor.

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