The additive contribution of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to enhancing performance of everyday life situations
A feedback by IELTS candidates in the State of Kuwait
Academic Paper 2017 8 Pages
IELTS that stands for international English language test system usually comes with various scores and levels which actually reflects the ability of candidates in all over the world. This research paper was to illustrate that English language performance in any skill i.e., listening, speaking, reading and writing can be anticipated by a test that suits any of these skills or domains. However, bands can be highly support such an expectation and vice versa; meaning that the more bands candidates get, the more expectation of high English language performance they will characterized by.
The results indicate that bands that directly correspond to the aimed performance were significant contributions to expectation in the target domain according to the results of linear regression analysis. Consequently, assessing skills are possible not only in one specific skill but also in all domains. That can be achieved of English language proficiency is not precisely estimated.
Keywords: IELTS, self- assessment, language assessment, English Proficiency, tests of English.
All tests must be accompanied with specific standards that reflect or measure the level of professional practice (American Educational Research Association, 1999). The validity of scores is considered as one of the most outstanding standards as well as testing programs. Users or candidates of tests need guidance on the way they use such scores in such scores in an appropriate way and how to get rid of any possible misapplications. In such a case, scores can be good for making decision as well as self esteem.
In the case of IELTS in which testing programs offers a whole suite of assessment, the four traditional skills are all covered. However, according to the target, English language proficiency assessing in just one skill can be highly enough if it is characterized with validity and reliability too. This simply depends on the complexity of the target construct. The four skills that IELTS focuses on are quite necessary for universities and workplace. They all have done via a paper pencil-based rather than computer. The four skills that are prepared by experts in England are connected to everyday life situations. The roots of IELTS came back to 1970s in Japan, specifically, by Prof. Yasuo Kitaoka from the Japanese University who called for a test that can assess the ability if using English by those students who would like to apply in the Japanese University. Therefore, Prof. Yasuo Kitaoka cooperated with the ministry of international trads and industry in Japan in order to construct the target test, but that test was only limited to listening and reading rather than speaking and writing (Woodford, 1982).
Prof. Yasuo Kitaoka offers all skills nowadays with more current availability of comprehensiveness i.e. the ability to communicate with all members of the society (Choi, 2008).
Test users might dissatisfy when they do not get an adequate score to fulfill their university requirements in the sake for better financial and situational status. This is the reason of why IELTS was developed during the following decades; particularly, in the field of comprehensiveness. There are several reasons for developing comprehensiveness assessment beside decreasing the rate of dissatisfaction by test users (Powers, 2010). One of the most important key is communicative competence while a certain domain may often seem dominant; other domains are probably come into play more than may be obvious. For example, business companies in the United States prefer college graduates who are professional in oral and writing language skill (Stevens, 2005), otherwise, these companies may struggle in their daily operations (Andersen and Rasmussen, 2004). Secondly, the four skills i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking are quite different despite some correlations among them. It is not a matter whether one skill can evaluate the other one (Liu and Costanzo, 2013). For example, the correlations between listening and writing range widely from .54 to 73 and the same thing with reading and speaking. Although studies conducted in the same topic did not show consistent results on such a mentioned range, any language skills requires generally ability common to all types of skills or domains as well as specific abilities that are outstanding to each (In'nami and Koizumi, 2012). Thirdly, more information about selection and promotion are better. Extra information actually clarifies and facilitates more necessary information and decisions, whether they involve the four skills or any other ability (College Board, 2002). The candidate may compensate a weakness in one skill by enhancing abilities in another one so that he can get a high band as an example here. Fourthly, all skills in the test are put fairly; meaning that that there are questions available that suit all levels of candidates (easy, difficult, very difficult and so on). That is because such fairness in the level of questions gives a chance to all candidates to show their real comprehensiveness in dealing with since there are individual differences among them by the way. Consequently, those ones who are excellent differ from those who get medium or low band (Willingham and Cole, 1997).
After that, effects of failing in such a test is very necessary; particularly, long-term consequences of failure. That's because the failure itself does disappoint the test taker to learn or even to take the test again (Choi, 2008). However, the only solution for such a negative phenomenon is practice; meaning that the more practice that test takes perform, the higher bands he or she will get. Thus, no more negative feedback will be there (Stoynoff, 2009).
The aim of this paper was to examine whether the performance in a specific skill in real life can be expected by IELTS examinees or not. So as a possible validate criterion, I depended on a self- assessment to assess real life performance just like teachers assessments of pupils.
A random sample of 50 examinees were identified in Kuwait who had taken IELTS exam. This sample is enough to reflect the possible percentage of the IELTS test taking population.
The self- assessment (see appendix) is composed of six statements for each of the four language domains selection from previous studies such as (Powers, Kim and Weng, 2008)
All tasks were related to the university requirements because most of the test takers are students and they need IELTS to fulfill the entry requirements to colleges of graduates around the world. They were encouraged determine how they would do in each task. They were also free to judge their likely performance even of they are not able to estimate their own one. The resulting inventory was translated into Arabic. The scale was as follows: 1 (Never), 2 (With great difficult), 3 (With some difficult), 4 (With little difficult), 5 (Quite easy).
The score and correlations were computed for each of the four six-item self- assessment by summing all responses in order to avoid any biased results, a preliminary analysis was conducted. A hierarchical regression was also performed for each skill to compute the incremental contribution of IELTS test measures. The IELTS measures that correspond to the self-assessment scale being used as a dependent variable regardless of which skill comes first and which one come second since the incremental value in this research paper is to consider additional IELTS measures.
The correlation among the independent variables in the regression analysis i.e. scores from the four IELTS skills, were high and reliable. The preliminary analysis did not reveal any between sample differences and were enough to contra-indicate pooling that data. The four six-items self-assessment are illustrated in table 1 in which the correlations among IELTS test scores and test takers self assessment in listening, reading, writing and speaking indicated significant prediction of self-assessments.
Table 2. Correlations between can-do self-assessment and IELTS scores
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The off diagonal correlations indicated little discrimination among both IELTS measures and the self assessments. Consequently, these correlations suggest weak discriminate validity for any measures of IELTS. The standard deviations that are more restricted (SD = 60 and 70). Table 2 illustrates the hierarchical regression results. In brief, self-assessed performance for each domain was explained by LELTS test measures that entered first in the regression analysis. However, about 22.2% of the variation in self assessed performance on the six tasks was illustrated by scores on the IELTS listening and reading tests. The IELTS speaking scores experienced nearly 23% of the variance. IELTS reading bands alone represented about 23% of the variance in reading self assessment. IELTS speaking scores experienced 21% of the variance when added as a predicator. Finally, a large increase can be observed on predicting self – assessment of writing ability than alone explained about 19.3 of the variance.
Table 2. Results of the hierarchical regression analysis
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Note: All Fs are significant at p < .001.
To sum up, the results give a good proof and highly support the hypothesis of this research paper; by assessing skills in all skills leads to more estimation of English proficiency. That can be obviously seen in the increased precision mainly to the first IELTS measure. The language proficiency is linked to understanding several processes including keywords, phonetics, grammar, combination of words and semantics. However, the meaning of words help readers and listeners to explain everything in a right way and it give a chance to speakers as well as writers to build them effectively (Baker and Baker, 2009).
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Comprehending a slow and deliberate speaker
Comprehending times and directions
Understanding routines of life
Answering a telephone message
Understanding discussion and simple problems
Understanding arguments and causes for decisions
Reading simple keywords
Understanding the main ideas
Reading and understanding formal letters
Reading and understanding the whole text
Reading and translating sentences into Arabic
Reading and providing synonyms of each keyword
Thinking in Arabic first and then giving answers in English
Using simple sentences
Using compound and complex sentences in the rest parts of the speaking test
Providing critical and philosophic answers
Discussing freely without any stress
Taking a long breathe before giving any answer
Writing a brief note or a plan about what will be written
Understanding the statement of the topic itself
Translating ideas from Arabic into English
Writing simple sentences
Writing compound and complex sentences as possible as I can
Revising the whole written task at the end to avoid any mistake.