Center for Applied Linguistics
Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education
This article reports the results of a study of examinee attitudinal reactions to taking different formats of oral proficiency assessments across three languages: Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. All 55 students in the study were administered both the tape-mediated Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI) and a new Computerized Oral Proficiency Instrument (COPI). In addition, the 24 students participating in the Spanish study were administered the face-to-face A me ric an Counc il on the T ea
... ng of For e ign L angua ge s (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Participants were graduate and undergraduate students taking language courses at their universities. The order of test administration was based on self-and teacher-assessed proficiency levels and experience in learning the target language. After each test, the learners completed a Likert questionnaire on six aspects of their attitudes towards and perceptions of that test. After finishing all tests and questionnaires, they were requested to compare the two technologymediated tests directly on those six aspects. This article presents the examinees' responses on those questionnaires, focusing primarily on differences between the two technology-mediated tests. It was found that the adaptive nature of the COPI allowed the difficulty level of the assessment task to be matched more appropriately to the proficiency level of the examinee. This led examinees, particularly those at the lower proficiency levels, to feel the COPI was less difficult than the SOPI. In most other aspects, the two tests were rated similarly. For the Spanish students, the two technology-mediated tests were rated similarly to the OPI, though the OPI appeared to them to be a better measure of real-life speaking skills. How do examinees react to an adaptive, computer-administered oral proficiency assessment? This article reports on examinee perspectives towards a prototype of the Computerized Oral Proficiency Instrument (COPI). The COPI was developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL; http://www.cal.org) under a research grant from the International Research and Studies Program of the United States Department of Education. Developed for Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese, the COPI is an adaptation of the tape-mediated Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI), originally developed at CAL in 1985 (Clark, 1988 . The primary goal of the COPI research project was to examine the effects of using multime dia c omputer tec hnology to e nha nc e the SO PI by giving examine es more contr ol over va rious a spe cts of the testing situa tion a nd by inc r ea sing ra ter s' ef fic ie nc y in scoring the test. The projec t c ompa r ed e xamine e per for ma nc e a nd af fe c t, a nd ra ter e f ficie nc y a nd a f fe ct, betw ee n the CO PI a nd the A me r ic an Counc il on the T ea ching of For e ign L angua ge s ( ACTFL ; http://www.actfl.org) O ra l Prof ic ie ncy I nte rview ( O PI ) f or Spa nish, a nd the COPI a nd SO PI for Spa nish, Chinese , and A ra bic . T his a rtic le compa re s e xa minee r ea ctions to the COPI , the SOPI , and the OPI.