French oral proficiency assessment

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Testing oral proficiency is an important but challenging part of foreign language assessment: currently accepted methods are time-consuming and expensive. Our recent efforts have led to the implementation of new assessment methods for English (Graham et al. 2008), Japanese, and Spanish. We demonstrate that this work is also relevant for French oral proficiency testing. We begin by describing and historically situating an oral proficiency testing methodology called elicited imitation (EI). Then, we document the development, implementation and evaluation of a French EI test. We also detail the incorporation of the use of automatic speech recognition to score French EI items. Last, we substantiate with correlation analyses that carefully engineered, automatically scored French EI items correlate to a high degree with human scoring.


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