Development, implementation, and evaluation of an online English placement test at college level: a case study.

Papadima-Sophocleous, Salomi (2005) Development, implementation, and evaluation of an online English placement test at college level: a case study. DProf thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

The primary purpose of the present project was to research the case study of current English placement practices at Intercollege in view of incorporating change, improvement and efficiency, within the framework of current work based learning and applied linguistics (and more particularly English online language testing) research discipline. The review of work based learning and current theories and practices in applied linguistics research discipline helped establish the characteristics of an insider researcher and the research approach and research techniques that would best serve such a project. The review of current theories and practices in second language (L2) teaching and learning in general, and in L2 testing in particular revealed that there is an extensive range of practices: these range from testing discrete points to integrative tasks. Tests are also delivered both in pen-and-paper as well as in electronic form, the latter being either computer based testing (CBT) or computer adaptive testing (CAT). The review of current English placement practices at Intercollege indicated the need for a new English placement test, developed in a scientific way, informed by current theories and practices, based on current test design models and taking advantage of more efficient methods of delivery, and placement. This review also revealed the need for more efficiency in the mode of delivery, administration, marking, reporting and test duration. Finally, this study of the current English placement practices at Intercollege established the need for a placement test that would incorporate a mechanism of continuous testing of reliability and validity as well as improvement. The detailed study of the specific context, setting, particular language programme, resources, test-takers, instructors, etc. informed by current theories and practices in second language (L2) testing online, helped in the development of the New English Placement Test Online (NEPTON) test specifications, and as a consequence, the development of the proposed test itself. The study of test delivery modes and the consideration of the specific work based conditions and requirements. For example administration, delivery, time and money efficiency, urgent need of an improved and more efficient English placement test (EPT) resulted in the selection of computer based testing delivery, with many features of the computer adaptive testing delivery mode incorporated in it such as randomized selection of test items and fewer items. The test item writing and item modération process resulted in the formation of a substantial pool of varied items in different skills, text types, topics, settings, and covering a variety of lexical and grammatical points and communicative, authentic-like situations in ali six levels. The field test which was took place in May 2004 in pen-and-paper form by almost 1200 students in ali three Intercollege campuses helped check the content and the test trial which took place in the period of August-September in its electronic form helped come up with the test cutoff points, and the fine-tuning of the test. The item analysis ensured the appropriateness of ali items. Pre-test questionnaires established test-takers' biographical data and information about test-taker computer familiarity. The test face validity (stakeholders' attitudes and feelings about the NEPTON) was established through the use of pre and post-test questionnaires. Experts in the area Coming, from the three campuses, also studied the test specifications and the test itself (both in its electronic and pen-and-paper format) and completed a questionnaire, thus contributing to the establishment of the test content and construct validity. The test reliability was established through a split half reliability index process and a series of other aspects or processes such as the size of the item bank, the instructions, the moderation process, and the item analysis, which are explained in chapter 5 in more details. The research project consists of two components: (a) The report, which describes the way work based and applied linguistics research approaches were used to investigate the case study of English placement test at college level at Intercollege in Cyprus and to what extent this has broad change, improvement and effìciency to current practices; and (b) The evidence of such a research project, which is the New English Placement Test Online (NEPTON), in other words, the test itself, developed, implemented and evaluated in order to materialize this change, improvement and efficiency aimed at by this project.

Item Type:Thesis (DProf)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Professional Studies.

Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Institute for Work Based Learning
Masters and Doctorates > Theses
ID Code:8009
Deposited On:18 Jul 2011 06:04
Last Modified:18 Jul 2014 20:16

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