Language Skills Assessment: Electronic Test Application with Second Language Learners

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The purpose of this study was to develop a reliable electronic instrument to assess verbal behaviours, regarding the phonological awareness and specific language skills of second language (SL) learners. The results gathered from the participant’s achievement reveal that the older learners present higher competence than younger ones, exhibiting more structure and less interference at the phonological level.
The tests battery is presented as an important diagnostic tool applied to educative context in a multicultural society. Our goal is to identify performance clues and the subjects’ intuition with a test that may represents an opportunity of leveling the subjects’ performance and inform them on their ability. Naturally, second language learners are students at risk in what concerns developing literacy abilities (Snow, Burns & Griffin 1999), which may determine their academic performance in general. Considering this, the test battery developed in this investigation is a contribute for Education, in that it holds as an important instrument of diagnostic evaluation, and simultaneously as an intervention program in teaching and learning, especially directed at students who are initiating the learning/acquisition process of Portuguese as a SL, for it may provide indicators to facilitate the process of attribution of proficiency levels by the teacher/ educator (European Commission, 2001), according to students’ performance. The test configuration is based on the principle of organization by task level guarantees precision on sound stimuli hearing, conditioned writing tasks, time counting in each task (reaction time recorded), a consistent data basis and immediate presentation of score, at the end of the screening test. This instrument could be accessed on-line by educative professionals and students.
This test allows to set a written and oral verbal behavior profile, contributing to the programming of learning activities that promote a successful school progress, where new technologies, achievement and diversity are inter-related.

Keywords: Program of Intervention, Lecond Language Learning, Phonetic Decoding
Stream: Literacy, Language, Multiliteracies; Languages Education and Second Language Learning
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Language Skills Assessment

Sandra Andrade Figueiredo

Phd Student, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Aveiro
Aveiro, Portugal, Portugal

Degree in Teaching of Portuguese, Latin and Greek, University of Aveiro, Portugal. PHD at the University of Aveiro (ongoing) under the theme of Psychological Factors involved and Cognitive Achievement in Second-Language Acquisition Context, with a research grant (SFRH/BD/24819/2005) given by the Foundation for Science and Technology. Research interests: First and Second Language Acquisition; Motivation, Anxiety and Learning Styles in Multicultural Classrooms; Didactics and New Technology for language learning; Language and Dementia.

Carlos Fernandes Silva

Full Professor, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Aveiro
Aveiro, Portugal, Portugal

Ref: L09P1430