of a language learner
by Scott Shelton
for devising Beatriz's test
have chosen sections of CAE practice tests (book 3). I believe
it adheres to the criteria mentioned above for a test to be
both valid and reliable. (See appendix E2 & 5 for bits
of the test)
The CAE handbook (2000) assures:
work of the UCLES-EFL team is involved in a programme of ongoing
validation, and specialist staff work and test analysis and
obvious reason is that because Beatriz is taking the official
exam in June, 2002, doing a mock exam now will serve as a
benchmark as well as a motivational factor as she continues
and administration of the test
exam consists of five sections: reading, writing, listening,
speaking and use of English. Each section carries equal weight
in grading the final outcome. The overall grade is based on
the total score gained in all five papers. A pass grade is
given for a minimum of sixty-percent over all five sections
CAE handbook (2000) breaks down the different sections and
gives guidelines of expectations based on successful completion
of the exam. For a full breakdown, see appendix E.
test was administered over two one and a half-hour classes.
Beatriz was allowed to do the writing over the weekend and
was encouraged to write within the time limit of one hour.
The speaking section was done the following week in her free
time, with a classmate.
of test data
In this section I will analyze the data from Beatriz's test
to find her strengths and weaknesses in terms of her knowledge
and use of the language systems and skills tested.
of letter writing task (Appendix E2)
skills will be analyzed using the following criteria:
Communicative competence -coherence and intelligibility of
Appropriacy - of style, organization and presentation
Range - of lexis, grammar, and general language used
Accuracy - of lexis, grammar, expressions, spelling, punctuation
and use of cohesive devices.
Task achievement, Communicative competence and Appropriacy
Beatriz has achieved the task by competently writing a letter
to the newspaper using the conflicting information in the
texts provided, pointing out the inaccurate information and
asking for a reprint. She includes a short note to Malcom
but forgot to include mention of enclosing a copy of the letter.
This omission would likely cost her a one-band reduction.
I do think that despite the errors and inaccuracies (including
the use of contractions), the letters would have a positive
effect of the reader, in that they would achieve what they
had set out to do.
The letters are intelligible and organized in clear paragraphs
making them easy to follow despite their flaws. The information
is presented in a logical pattern and she uses both grammatical
and lexical references, which hold the piece together.
The letters are presented in letter format and she has used
appropriate opening and closing expressions, and opened her
first paragraph stating her reason for writing in letter one.
Beatriz has inappropriately used contractions, which are not
used in formal letters. In the second letter, however, they
are used well. This would keep her in a band 3.
She has also gone over the word limit by some 60 words in
the first letter, although in my opinion this does not have
an overtly negative effect on the target reader.
In the final paragraph she uses rather strong language threatening
legal action. Other, more subtle wording might have been more
Beatriz uses some appropriate expressions - I'm writing with
regard to the incident (3), In orden to clearify the facts
I would like to explain
, (6), You are a wonderful man
(4-#2), Don't worry (2-#2), I'm sure (2-#2), Yours faithfully
(23), Best wishes (6-#2), in who we all trust(5-#2)
Although marred by poor spelling and other inaccuracies, Beatriz
uses a range of structures such as: Present continuous (3),
present simple (4), relative clauses (4,5), past simple for
main events (7,8,9,10), past continuous for background information
and incomplete actions (8), future perfect (11), present perfect
(15,18), Use of modals (6,9,11,18,21), use of conditional
'if/will' structure (21) (letter 1)
A range of cohesive devices are used such as, the fatal day-that
night, the Rex Cinema-after the show, such unforgivable mistakes-referring
to discrepancies between article and reality, Not only this..
I am the American tourist who
regard to the incident which
cut-cut, facts-facts, Malcom-Malcom, article-article,
Beatriz also makes an attempt at using appropriate vocabulary
items and some collocations which, although often inaccurately
spelled or in the wrong form, shows that she is attempting
more complex ways to express herself and indicates development
in her language system. Examples are: accompained, fatal day,
to clearify the facts, ran bravely, heroic action, badly cut,
tends to misunderstand readers (mislead), aggresor, unforgivable
mistakes, clearifying article, disafortunate incident, legal
actions, horrendous lack of information.
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