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Academic Paper


Title: The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and the design of language tests: A matter of effect
Author: Fred Davidson
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Author: Glenn Fulcher
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: Language test development proceeds best when the test's effect is borne in mind, throughout the test development process. The authors discuss the flexible language of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and explore the pragmatic utility of such language to guide language test development. They select service encounters (e.g. airline ticket sales, open-air markets) as a sample language use domain to illustrate demonstrable weaknesses in the Framework. Using the CEFR Level A1 service encounter descriptor, suggested testing materials are shown in a versioned evolution of a proposed test specification. Provided that effect is kept in mind, the authors argue, the CEFR is actually a valuable – even an optimistic – starting point for language test development.

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This article appears IN Language Teaching Vol. 40, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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