Validating a Test Designed to Assess ESL Proficiency at Lower Developmental Levels

Wilson, Kenneth M.
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Correlation English as a second language knowledge level language proficiency listening comprehension oral English student evaluation


This exploratory study examined relationships between a test designed to assess English-language listening comprehension and reading skills in sampes of nonnative-English speakers at lower levels of developed proficiency in English as a second or foreign language (ESL or EFL). The test - - called ESL-EZY - - was developed by using items similar to but easier, on the average, than those being used in an existing ESL proficiency test designed for intermediate-or higher-level ESL users/learners. This paper reports evidence regarding the relationship between ESL-EZY scores and teachers' ratings of oral English proficiency in samples- -assessed in diverse settings in the United States and Japan- -selected to include sub-groups that tend to differ relatively widely in average level of developed English proficiency. Scores on ESL-EZY were found to correlate relatively strongly with teachers' ratings within the respective subgroups; correlations were especially strong in relatively less proficient subgroups, suggesting that for younger ESL-students and other ESL-learners with limited developed functional proficiency in English as a foreign or second language, a test embodying properties similar to those represented by ESL-EZY might provide useful supplementary assessment information.

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