What kind of interaction receives high and low ratings in Oral Proficiency Interviews?

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  2. Professor Paul Seedhouse
Author(s)Seedhouse P
Publication type Article
JournalEnglish Profile Journal
ISSN (electronic)2041-5362
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Based on a Conversation Analysis (CA) of 197 transcribed Oral Proficiency Interviews (OPI), the research question investigated is: what kind of interaction receives high and low ratings in OPIs? The discussion is mainly restricted to issues of interactional organisation, and considers turn-taking, sequence, repair and topic development in relation to candidate scores. The article presents findings of two funded studies of the IELTS Speaking Test (IST), which is one part of IELTS, a major international English proficiency test. The article explains how interaction in the IST is organised in interactional terms and how this organisation generates opportunities to differentiate high- and low-scoring interaction. The study then lists the interactional characteristics of high scoring and low scoring tests, based on an inductive search through the database. Extracts are presented to support characterisations. Differences in score appear to correlate to the following interactional differences in parts 1 and 3 of the IST: ability to answer the question, engage with and develop a topic coherently, amount of trouble and repair, lexical choice, and identity construction. In part 2 of the IST, length of turn may also be related to score.
PublisherCambridge University Press
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