[NLA] Questions/Discussion: How is NRS follow-up going?]
Bermanpo at aol.com
Bermanpo at aol.com
Tue Nov 27 10:04:26 EST 2001
ACTFL (American Council for the Testing of Foreign Languages), located in
Yonkers, New York (phone number 914-963-8830; http://www.actfl.org) has
designed a test called the Oral Proficiency Instrument which is useful for
determining placement and growth of non-native speakers in any? language, not
just English. It is widely used by universities and businesses to assess
Essentially, a tester and test-taker sit around a tape recorder having a
skillfully directed (but spontaneous and unrehearsed) interactive
conversation in which the tester tries to determine the test-taker's
"ceiling" (capacity for the speaker to speak with accuracy at least some of
the time) and the test-taker's "floor" (capacity for the speaker to speak
with accuracy regularly).
The tester then makes a determination of the speaker's oral proficiency level
according to nine levels (in ABE, we rarely see people beyond the lowest six
levels) ranging from Novice Low, Novice Mid, Novice High, Intermediate Low,
Intermediate Mid, Intermediate High, two Advanced levels, and Superior.
ACTFL provides a one-day introduction to OPI for school systems to determine
whether or not they want the full training and a four-day training so that
teachers can learn to use OPI accurately and consistently.
At Riverside we invested in this training about five years ago and made a
switch from the state-mandated test (NYSPLACE) to OPI after a year of
experimentation and correlation between the two tests. At this point, we
intend to do another four-day training to hone our skills and give proper
training to those of our newer teachers who have learned from one of us over
the last few years rather than from an ACTFL trainer.
It is a highly sophicated and complex test and is consistent with a whole
language model of teaching. The training is expensive. It would make sense
for several programs or an entire system (city/county/state) to make the
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