Competence

<b> Forum for the discussion of assessment and testing of ESL/EFL students </b>

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Ed
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2004 4:22 pm

Competence

Post by Ed » Tue Jan 27, 2004 4:47 pm

I'm new here and I would like some help:

At the school where I have started working, I have been given instructions on how to grade students' performance on oral and written tests. The table is as follows:
a) Communicative competence: lower levels 50%; higher levels 40%
b) Linguistic competence: lower levels 40%; higher levels 50%
c) Creativity: all levels 10%

There are criteria for each aspect, but my question has to do with the separation of (a) and (b). Isn't (b) part of (a)?
Also, I believe judging (c) is very subjective.

Any comments?

Thanks,
Ed :cry:

Roger
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2003 1:58 am

Post by Roger » Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:28 am

You seem to be working in a very sophisticated environment, congrats!
I never get to have to follow such strict criteria., and I wish there were some in this country (China)!

As to your question:
Linguistic competence clearly is different from communicative skills; it includes versatility in the use and analysis of grammar, whereas communicative skills should include the ability to read between lines (interpretation skill), ability to infer from the context, oratory and rhetorical skills. In other words: Communicative skills require a solid foundation in grammar and other formal subjects, and it furthermore relies on intelligent use of all abilities and knowledge.

Ed
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2004 4:22 pm

Post by Ed » Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:35 pm

Thanks for replying, Roger.

Honestly, I think the people at my school had something else in mind. I believe they meant "communicative functions" or maybe "strategies" instead of "competence" (since communicative competence goes beyond linguistic competence). That is why they are giving more credit for that in the lower levels (elementary and intermediate), don't you think?

I guess they want to give credit to students for making themselves understood in spite of grammatical errors. I agree, but I think it is very difficult to assign percentages to each aspect.

The important point is not taking only "forms" into account, but also what is appropriate to each situation. Then we need to work on that in class and test accordingly.

By the way, I work in South America.

Ed

metal56
Posts: 3032
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2003 4:30 am

Post by metal56 » Sun Feb 01, 2004 11:33 pm

It's like the difference between having lots and words and knowing what to do with them.

Maybe this will help:

http://iteslj.org/Articles/Kitao-Testing.html

Roger
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2003 1:58 am

Post by Roger » Mon Feb 02, 2004 5:12 am

Ed wrote:Thanks for replying, Roger.


The important point is not taking only "forms" into account, but also what is appropriate to each situation. Then we need to work on that in class and test accordingly.

By the way, I work in South America.

Thanks for the update. Your situation in SOuth America may be different from mine in East Asia, but I think we are both faced with similar problems on occasion.
Communicative competence to me means more than just being able to utter what the foreign speaker of an [email protected] intends saying; that speaker must also learn to relate to native speakers or to speakers with near-native competence.
Unfortunately, over the last years accuracy has been sacrificed for the illusionary benefit of having "fluent" speakers of English.
I think our charges need to realise when they get their message across as well as when they fail to understand us.
Typically, my Chinese students cannot ask pertinent questions to elucidate a point made by me, or even to ask how they could better explain something to me.
If I say, "I don't understand you..." they often simply ignore me.
They do not have the ability to paraphrase their own statements.

Ed
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2004 4:22 pm

Post by Ed » Tue Feb 03, 2004 4:27 pm

Thanks, Roger and Metal56.

M56: I liked the article on testing communicative competence. The examples are very clear. But that is not what we are doing at my school.
As I said, there is confusion here regarding the different concepts.

Roger: I've heard lots of complaints about the situation in China. It is difficult for me to give an opinion, though.
About your students not being able to really interact with you, I can say I sometimes have the same problem, but then my students will resort to Spanish (they know I know their native language). That helps negotiate and we can continue communicating in English.

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