13. The effectiveness of interactive group orals for placement testing

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In task-based language classes, teachers increasingly use interactive, peer-to-peer group orals to measure learners’ communicative competence. This chapter examines the reliability and validity of placing learners into task-based ESL listening and speaking classes based on their performances during task-based, peer-to-peer, group oral interactions. ESL learners (n = 128) took a 30-item, listening and speaking self-assessment exam. The self-assessment scores were used to create groups of three to five learners who carried out two group-oral tasks. The listening test and group-oral test scores were used in a k-cluster analysis to place learners into seven classes. I conclude by suggesting how practitioners can employ interactive, group orals as part of placement testing and how they positively contribute to interactive and task-based learning.


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