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3.2.1 the checklist

The situation analysis with a checklist (as seen on page 31) that has been developed based on Bachman and Palmer’s framework for test development reviewed in 2.3 involved such four factors as (1) the test design stage, (2) the test operationalization stage, (3) the test administration stage, and (4) the use of test results.

1. Test Design Stage
Are the purposes of oral tests explicitly identified?
Which kind(s) do the oral tests include? Selection PlacementDiagnosisAchievement
Is a set of the TLU tasks presented?
Is there an official document including detailed instructions on students’ language proficiency levels?
Is there an official document including detailed instructions on construct or language ability to be measured?
Are there any criteria set for evaluating test quality?
2. Test Operationalization Stage
Are there any official guidelines on the number of test tasks to be included in a particular speaking test?
Are the specifications of each test task provided?
3. Test Administration
Are the assessors informed of how to mark the test tasks before the test is administered?
Is the testing environment well prepared?
Is a supportive test taking environment maintained?
Are the instructions for each test task made clear to the students?
4. Use of Test ResultsIs the information from test results used for
...grading the students?
...evaluation of the effectiveness of instructional programmes?
...the teachers’ modification of teaching methods and materials?

3.2.2 the observation

Observation of a particular achievement speaking test is expected to help collect evidence that supplements the analysis of the current oral test development process, namely the operationalization and administration stages. The observation enables the researcher to directly collect data firsthand, and the data gathered describes the observed phenomena as they take place in their natural settings (Nachmias, 1996, p.206); therefore, this kind of information is surely of great reliability.

The observation focused on the oral test type(s) with underlying elicitation techniques being used (See Appendix 2), time spent on the students’ test performance, and interaction between the assessors and test takers recorded in a tape and then transcribed (See Appendix 3).

3.1.3 the questionnaire

In order to elicit TNU staff’s perceptions of oral language testing, questionnaires were formulated, and then delivered to the staff members. Questionnaires, in this thesis, are chosen as an adequate way to well elicit respondents’ knowledge, for the respondents are not put under pressure of time, i.e. they answer questions in their own time and at their own pace, and in an anonymous style of responding they undoubtedly feel free and comfortable to answer questions (Gillham, 2000; Nachmias, 1996).

The respondents include 12 English language teachers of TNU, who are involved in the development process of oral tests. They are at the age of 27 to 50. They all had tertiary training in language teaching in different educational institutions throughout Vietnam.

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