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VOA慢速英语2014 英语测试越来越完善,但是越来越难

时间:2014-12-28 13:21来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]
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New English Tests Are Better, but Harder 英语测试越来越完善,但是越来越难

Scores on English tests are very important to students around the world. In order to make sure that they do their best, both students and teachers should stay informed of how these tests are changing.

Clive Roberts is a director at ELS Educational Services, one of the companies that trains students in English. Mr. Roberts says the tests are changing greatly in response to the global growth in the use of English as a lingua franca – the common language used among people with different native languages.

Mr. Roberts says English “is one of the keys now to international student mobility1. So, for that reason, a lot of new tests are being developed; old tests are being revamped to meet the needs of universities and employers worldwide.”

In other words, students increasingly need English in order to study and work in other countries. So, schools and businesses are asking for more accurate tests. 

Changes in language testing

Mr. Roberts says several parts of standardized2 tests have changed recently. Now, many tests are given on computers. And, he says, tests measure all four skills of language learning: reading, listening, speaking and writing.

"A lot of are now delivered online, all four skills are being tested, in some cases, by computer, in particular speaking and writing skills, which are the most difficult to assess on a computer environment."  

Computer testing will reduce the length of time required for testing, because the tests adjust to the test-taker’s ability. These computer-adaptive tests also increase accuracy in scoring. Computer-adaptive tests change depending on the test-taker’s responses. They can become more or less difficult during the testing session. For this reason, the set of correct answers will be different for each test-taker. 

Cultural sensitivity

Another change to language testing relates to cultural sensitivity. The term refers to material on a test that is based on a certain culture or is hard for test-takers from different cultures to understand.

Mr. Roberts says test development companies are now hiring people with intercultural communication backgrounds to review test items. The companies want to make sure the test does not upset test-takers. Having negative feelings may affect a student's performance on the test.

Accuracy in language testing

Changes to English proficiency3 tests make them better at measuring the learners' ability. However, Mr. Roberts says the changes may mean the tests are more difficult for some students.

"The tests have become more proficiency-oriented. The items are being designed in such a way that they test real-world proficiency and not simply sort of an artificial environment or a specific set of skills that are taught in a classroom. So a lot of authentic4 texts, a lot of authentic listening passages are being used.”

The changes mean students have to be able to understand English the way it is used in everyday life, not just in textbooks.

What the tests measure

Another big change is the way in which a student's performance on the tests is measured. Mr. Roberts says that many tests are measured according to the Common European Frame of Reference (CERF) scale of language proficiency.

This measurement, Mr. Roberts says, “is similar to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) guidelines, which are used by American universities and government agencies, respectively.”

The rating scales and guidelines are designed to show what the learner is able to do in the areas of speaking, reading, listening and writing.

Mr. Roberts says, “It gives a description of what they can do with the language and then assigns a numerical value to that particular level.”

Mr. Roberts says he believes linking the scores and the scales means the tests provide more useful information about a learner’s ability than they did before.

In addition, changes to the tests will encourage schools to teach their students to use English for everyday life and study.

Words in This Story

lingua franca – n. a language that is used among people who speak various different languages 

four skills - n. the language abilities involved in reading, listening, speaking, and writing

assess – v. to make a judgment5 about (something); used to describe testing activity

computer-adaptive - adj. tests that are designed to adjust their level of difficulty—based on the responses provided—to match the knowledge and ability of a test taker.

proficiency:  n. advancement6 in knowledge or skill 

authentic - adj. real or genuine : not copied or false; in language education: material that is developed for native speakers, not specially created for learners


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 mobility H6rzu     
n.可动性,变动性,情感不定
参考例句:
  • The difference in regional house prices acts as an obstacle to mobility of labour.不同地区房价的差异阻碍了劳动力的流动。
  • Mobility is very important in guerrilla warfare.机动性在游击战中至关重要。
2 standardized 8hHzgs     
adj.标准化的
参考例句:
  • We use standardized tests to measure scholastic achievement. 我们用标准化考试来衡量学生的学业成绩。
  • The parts of an automobile are standardized. 汽车零件是标准化了的。
3 proficiency m1LzU     
n.精通,熟练,精练
参考例句:
  • He plied his trade and gained proficiency in it.他勤习手艺,技术渐渐达到了十分娴熟的地步。
  • How do you think of your proficiency in written and spoken English?你认为你的书面英语和口语熟练程度如何?
4 authentic ZuZzs     
a.真的,真正的;可靠的,可信的,有根据的
参考例句:
  • This is an authentic news report. We can depend on it. 这是篇可靠的新闻报道, 我们相信它。
  • Autumn is also the authentic season of renewal. 秋天才是真正的除旧布新的季节。
5 judgment e3xxC     
n.审判;判断力,识别力,看法,意见
参考例句:
  • The chairman flatters himself on his judgment of people.主席自认为他审视人比别人高明。
  • He's a man of excellent judgment.他眼力过人。
6 advancement tzgziL     
n.前进,促进,提升
参考例句:
  • His new contribution to the advancement of physiology was well appreciated.他对生理学发展的新贡献获得高度赞赏。
  • The aim of a university should be the advancement of learning.大学的目标应是促进学术。
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TAG标签:   VOA慢速英语
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