Assessing Oral Proficiency Levels of Second-Year Students of English at Radboud University

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Oral proficiency can be tested in various ways. Students of English at Radboud University are assessed in pairs during a discussion and are assessed with the CEFR. Although the CEFR is useful and effective as an assessment tool, it is still not clear where the differences in oral proficiency levels of students lie. This research deals with the following research question: How different are the oral proficiency levels of second-year students of English at Radboud University? The hypothesis is that students who are more fluent are expected to make fewer mistakes, demonstrate a wider vocabulary range, and are also expected to be less hesitant. In order to answer this research question, four CEFR scales are used as a starting point for in-depth analysis of the students’ oral proficiency levels. Each scale is linked to certain features like number of hesitations, and lexical errors, in order to complement the descriptors and assessment. By using both the CEFR and the features, the differences between the oral proficiency levels have become clear. The results have proven that the hypothesis is incorrect. Keywords: Oral proficiency, CEFR, Assessment, second-year students of English, Radboud University, fluency, EFL.
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