Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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Research on interaction in speaking assessment suggests that both verbal and nonverbal interaction are integral parts of the construct of interactional competence (Galaczi & Taylor, 2018; Plough et al., 2018; Young, 2011). However, little has been done to investigate which features significantly contribute to interactional competence scores. This study, therefore, examined which interaction features that raters noticed in individual scripted interview and paired discussion tasks to gain an insight into the interactional competence construct, providing validity evidence for an inclusion of interactional competence in speaking assessment. Sixty-eight student performances were rated based on interaction rating scales. Exploratory factor analysis revealed four factors: nonverbal communication, topic management, interactional management, and interactive listening. Logistic regressions showed that while raters attended to more topic management features in the individual scripted interview task, they noticed more interactional management features in the paired discussion task. Simple regressions showed that nonverbal communication and topic management features predicted interactional competence scores in the individual scripted interview task, whereas nonverbal communication, topic management, interactional management, and interactive listening features were predictors of scores in the paired discussion task. The findings suggest that both nonverbal and verbal interaction features are important in the interactional competence construct with the paired task providing test-takers with more opportunities to demonstrate their interactional ability.


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