Development of a Proficiency Test for English Teachers

8:30 - 8:55am EST
Presented at: MexTESOL 2015

The language proficiency of teachers of a second language is of critical importance. When administrators know teachers’ language proficiency they can ensure that instructors have the necessary skills to facilitate the linguistic growth of their students (ACTFL/CAEP, 2013). When teachers know their own level of language proficiency they can seek out a variety of professional development opportunities most appropriate to their needs in order to grow as practitioners. Language proficiency assessments can, when used for appropriate purposes and audiences, provide this kind of useful information.

This in-progress research report presents the ongoing process of developing and refreshing a proficiency test for teachers of English in Mexico, focusing on lessons learned during a pilot test of the assessment conducted with over 400 teachers from across four states in Mexico in 2014. The assessment measured listening, speaking, reading, and writing proficiency in English. Outcomes of the pilot will be discussed as well as directions for future research as the test is refreshed.

Referencing Bachman and Palmer’s (2010) Assessment Use Argument and evidence-centered design (Mislevy, Almond, and Lukas, 2004), the presenters will explain the steps in the test development process, highlighting lessons learned that can be applied to other assessment development projects. Particular focus will be paid to the ways in which the assessment was designed specifically for the needs of teachers of English in Mexico, taking into account cultural factors and professional demands when developing the test framework and language assessment tasks. These factors influenced all aspects of the test development process and will continue to shape future test development.

Presenters will also discuss the ways in which outcomes of the pilot shed light on the test development process and how they can inform future developments to the assessment. These findings will be of interest to those who are involved in the development or use of English language proficiency assessments for teachers.