Test Analysis of College Students’ Communicative Competence in English

| June 29, 2005
Title
Test Analysis of College Students’ Communicative Competence in English

Keywords: College English Test, communicative competence, test analysis

Authors
Gu Weiping & Liu Juan
Capital University of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China

Bio Data
Gu Weiping: associate professor, graduated from Henan University in 1982, has been teaching English in Henan Medical University and Capital University of Medical Sciences in succession for over 20 years. Her major field of research is English for specific purpose. She studied “Technical Communication” in the English Department of University of North Carolina in USA in 1998. She has published two dictionaries, four textbooks and over 10 research papers in many well-known journals as Foreign Language World and College English, etc.Institutional Affiliation: Department of Applied Linguistics Capital University of Medical Sciences, Beijing, 100054, P. R. China Professional Organization: Member of Beijing College English Research Association

Liu Juan: lecturer, graduated from Tianjin Normal University in 2000 with MA, has been teaching English in Capital University of Medical Sciences for over 5 years. Her major field of research is translation. She has published two textbooks and 5 research papers. Institutional Affiliation: Department of Applied Linguistics Capital University of Medical Sciences, Beijing, 100054, P. R. China Professional Organization: Member of Beijing College English Research Association

Abstract
While College English Tests (CET) in China have promoted college English teaching, they have also led to test-oriented teaching in colleges and hindered the development of students’ communicative competence. To examine the validity of CET-4, experimental tests were carried out to the sampled students one year after they took CET-4 in December, 2002. The control class was examined with the original paper of CET-4 2002, while the treatment class was tested with a specially designed performance-test paper in which the multiple-choice questions were all changed into the subjective ones. The test scores were processed with the statistical analysis system SPSS. The results showed that although there was no significant difference between the two classes in their CET-4 scores, there was significant difference between them in their experimental test scores. The scores of the treatment class were significantly lower than those of the control class, which indicates that CET cannot objectively reflect students’ communicative competence, and thus its validity is low. To eliminate the negative washback effect of CET, suggestions are put forward that CET be devised as a criterion-referenced test, frequency of the test be reduced, subjective questions be increased, and commercialization of the test be avoided.
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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 7 Issue 2