“Beyond grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary—Cutting-edge perspectives, practices, paradigms, tools, scales, and theories in assessing Korean learners’ performance and interactional competence”
Dr. Sahie Kang (Professor of Korean, Director, Middlebury Korean School):
Gauging improvement in linguistic elements with Integrated Performance Assessment
Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) has been well received by researchers and practitioners as a language performance assessment tool. IPA provides a new paradigm of relating classroom instruction to learner assessment, where learners perform a series of communication tasks, interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational tasks, under one theme. By performing a series of tasks followed by feedback after each task, the IPA promotes learners’ progress to meet communication goal of the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (National Standards, 1999, 2006) and eventually links students’ performances with successful proficiency learning outcomes. Previous studies report that learners improve performances through the IPA, showing positive attitude toward the assessment. The IPA also creates ‘washback effect’ on classroom instruction, leading to teachers’ proactive employment of authentic materials and application of real-world situations in class in order to help students’ reaching proficiency objectives (Adair-Hauck et al., 2006; Adair-Hauck et al., 2013; Adair-Hauck & Troyan, 2013; Glisan et al., 2007; Huh, 2020; Kang, 2016; Kissau & Adams, 2016).
Yet, concerns remain, as with most Performance Assessments, as to whether IPA will capture learners acquire linguistic elements. In other words, there is a general concern that performance assessments would not measure learners’ acquisition of linguistic elements such as grammar or vocabulary while they measure global language performance skills. However, Jung & Kang (2024) analyzes the learners' language performance data in IPA Performances and confirmed that the acquisition and improvement of not only language performances but also linguistic elements such as lexical complexity, accuracy, and speech fluency are presented. It analyzes speech production data of the IPA conducted at a post-secondary Korean language immersive setting in two summers. The data collection includes learners’ performances of interpersonal and presentational tasks and specifically focuses on quantitative data analysis of the speech production from five rounds of the Intermediate-high level IPAs and four rounds of the Advanced level IPAs. Students’ speech samples were transcribed in the CLAN program to find lexical complexity, accuracy, and fluency. The results of the speech production analysis clearly show that while the learner's performances are improved, learners’ acquisitions of linguistic elements, at least complexity, accuracy, and fluency, are also increased. Of course, this does not mean that IPA can be used as a tool to evaluate linguistic elements, but it shows that performance-based learning or evaluation does not necessarily neglect linguistic elements such as complexity, accuracy, and fluency.
Dr. Sun-Young Shin (신선영), Associate Professor, Department of Second Language Studies, Indiana University:
Assessing L2 Interactional Competence
In recent years, there has been a burgeoning interest in the development and assessment of second/foreign language (L2) learners' spoken interactional competence. The ability to engage effectively with others is now considered as crucial as producing grammatically accurate L2 utterances with proficient pronunciation. Despite this acknowledgment, many L2 teachers still face challenges in eliciting interactive language samples and evaluating L2 learners' interactional competence using suitable classroom-based assessment instruments and rubrics. To navigate the challenges inherent in assessing L2 interactional competence, this talk extends guidance at both theoretical and operational levels. It delves into the intricacies of defining interactional competence and the practical aspects of assessing L2 interactional competence by offering insights into the development and utilization of specific speaking testing tools and scales. This talk also sheds light on cutting-edge research in the field, presenting recent studies that contribute to our understanding of assessing L2 interactional competence. By incorporating theoretical frameworks, practical tools, and the latest research, this talk aims to provide a thorough and up-to-date exploration of the multifaceted landscape of L2 interactional competence assessment.