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Marks given on test takers’ performance Sure Not very sure Not sure
Number of respondents 2 10 0

Table 4.11: Teachers’ Confidence in Students’ Test Results

As shown in table 4.11, 10 out of 12 respondents do not believe that their marks given on the students’ oral test performance can reveal the students’ actual interactive ability.

Table 4.12 presents responses selected for Question 8, used to elicit the reason(s) why the respondents are not or not very sure of the marks they have given on the students’ oral test performance.

Options a b c d
Number of respondents 10 5 7 5

Table 4.12: Teachers’ Lack of Confidence in Students’ Test Results

A remarkable thing shown in Table 4.12 is that those who are not sure of the reliability of students’ test scores all believe that their uncertainty results from the students’ prior preparation for test tasks.

Personal details about the respondents from questions 9 and 10 provide important facts:

  • Half of the respondents have taught English for over 8 years, 5 – over 5 years, and only one – over 11 years.
  • Only one of the subjects has attended a course or a workshop on language testing in Vietnam.

4.2.2 analysis of the results

This sub-section analyses the data gathered from the questionnaire survey. The information revealed in Tables 4.5 to 4.12 above can be generalized as follows: (1) most of the teachers are unable to distinguish the two functions of spoken language, (2) the majority of the teachers do not have a sufficient understanding of communicative language testing, (3) quite a number of the teachers fail to recognize the difficulty level of test tasks graded according to communicative stress, (4) the teachers have an inadequate understanding of oral language testing, and (5) the speaking tests in use lack authenticity.

Firstly, most of the teachers fail to distinguish the two different functions of spoken language in their own assessment criteria as discussed in 2.1 (Chapter 2). In particular, for Questions 1&2 (Tables 4.5&4.6), 11 out of 12 subjects give the lowest priority to option (g), that is the ability to speak at length. When taking transactional long turns, students are required to show their ability to express and convey their ideas at length. Nevertheless, the teachers at TNU hardly expect to see this feature in their students’ oral test performance.

Secondly, the notion of communicative language testing is not fully grasped and soundly engraved on many of the teachers’ mind. In this preferably applied approach to language testing as mentioned in 2.2 (Chapter 2), accuracy of language forms has turned out to be given a lower priority than communicative effectiveness in assessment. As revealed in Tables 4.5 and 4.6, the majority of the teachers, in their assessment criteria, give a high priority to options (a), (b) and (c) of both Questions 1&2. In particular, for Question 1, option (a) is given such a high priority by 4 subjects, (b) by 5 and (c) by 7; and for Question 2, option (a) by 5, (b) by 8 and (c) by 8. This implies that on average half of TNU English teaching staff give linguistic accuracy a high priority when evaluating their students’ production of spoken language.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Collection. OpenStax CNX. Dec 22, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11259/1.7
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