Phd Dissertation Proposal

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Xin Yu and John Lowe

Computer Assisted Testing of Spoken English: A Study to Evaluate the SFLEP College English Oral Test in China
Xin Yu and John Lowe University of Bath

Introduction ‘If you want to encourage oral ability, then test oral ability’ (Hughes, 1989:44) Since its opening up to the outside world in the 1980s and the introduction of economic reforms that have involved engagement with the global economy and wider community, the Chinese government has become determined to promote the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language among its citizens. In particular, it has mandated the study of English for all college and university students and has made the passing of the College English Test (CET) at Band 4 level a requirement for obtaining a degree. With some ten million candidates annually (and rising) CET Band 4 has become the world’s largest language test administered nationwide (Jin and Yang, 2006). In a deliberate attempt to harness the backwash effect of examinations on teaching and learning, the Ministry of Education has insisted that all college and university students (generally when in their second year of study) must sit the CET Band 4 written papers that test reading, writing and listening skills in English. Aimed largely, but not exclusively, at those students majoring in English, there is also a higher level, Band 6, CET available. A problem arises, however, when it comes to the formal testing of spoken English. There is a CET…...

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