A semi-structured English oral proficiency test for certification of teachers in South Africa

Carol A. Puhl, Johann J Swatz
2013 Per Linguam : A Journal of Language Learning  
The construction, administration, and scoring of the Teachers Oral Proficiency Interview for South Africa (TOPISA) are described, and issues in its use are discussed. The test was developed to help standardize English proficiency levels of teachers in the post-apartheid, multicultural society. The rationale for a standardized test in this context is examined first. The three phases of the test (informal social discourse, expository discourse, argumentative discourse) are then described briefly,
more » ... described briefly, and the scoring standards and interpretation, which range from "below standard for teaching in South Africa" and "able to function in English at a near-native level of competence," are explained. A discussion of the theoretical foundations of the test, and its origins in testing practice, follows. Finally, some areas in which further research are needed are outlined, including clearer description of skills tested, validity (face,'response, concurrent, content, predictive, and construct), reliability, elements defining proficiency, potential for adaptation from a direct to a semi-direct measure (e.g., taped interviews for later scoring), and potential for use with the 10 other official languages of South Africa. A brief bibliography is included. (MSE) * Reproductions supplied by EDRS arc the best that can be made * * from the origina_ document.
doi:10.5785/11-1-232 fatcat:4lgc2zf5zfarjpelwhts3it74e