Past issues

2010-1Evaluer les compétences langagières
(Evaluating language competencies)
Click the book to abstract!This issue has been put on line in its integrality on the Cairn portal:
  • Présentation. Evaluer les compétences langagières
  • Tim MCNAMARA (Melbourne, Australie)
    The use of language tests in the service of policy: issues of validity
    pp. 7-23

    This paper considers the role of language tests as instruments of policy and contemporary society and the issues for validity that this raises. It contrasts approaches which focus solely on the fairness of tests with a broader view of validity which addresses issues of justice in the uses of tests. It illustrates its argument with reference to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and tests used in workplace accreditation such as language tests for pilots and air traffic controllers and for health professionals.

  • Jean-Marie DE KETELE (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique)
    Ne pas se tromper d'évaluation
    (Choosing the right evaluation method)
    pp. 25-37

    This article starts from the curious observation that, in a world where complex trades become increasingly professionalized, assessments in schools come generally down to awarding marks. If done professionally, the evaluator should before all other things answer questions about the types of functions that the evaluation has to fulfill and the procedures to follow. More specifically, the article addresses two important aspects of professionalization : evaluation of language competencies and the reinforcement of the functions of orientation and regulation.

  • Antony John KUNNAN (Los Angeles, Etats-Unis)
    Statistical analyses for test fairness
    pp. 39-48

    Test fairness in language assessment has now been discussed by researchers for over a decade but statistical methods that can be used to analyze test fairness qualities have not been clearly articulated. In this article, I describe briefly my test fairness framework, the principles behind it and the test qualities that encompass test fairness. I then describe statistical analyses that can be used to analyze tests and testing practice such as factor analysis, structural equation modeling and differential item functioning.

  • José NOIJONS & Erna GILLE (Cito, Pays-Bas)
    Issues in constructing an international item bank: Differences in item behaviour across countries
    pp. 49-59

    An international test item bank can help to meaningfully link language performance to European standards and compare foreign language levels of students from different countries. For this we must make sure that students from these countries who are equally good at a language skill have the same chance of giving a correct answer to each item in the item bank. In this article it is shown that items in such an item bank may show item bias. What factors cause these items to operate differently across the different countries is a very interesting and important issue in the area of cross-cultural foreign language testing.

  • Mathilde ANQUETIL & Marie-Christine JAMET (Macerata, Italie / Venise, Italie)
    Intégrer les certifications dans un cursus universitaire : enjeux, défis, interrogations
    (Integrating certifications in a university curriculum: issues, challenges and problems)
    pp. 61-74

    The introduction of foreign language examinations in universities can not be implemented easily. This engenders a series of questions that this paper seeks to clarify through a reflection on the Italian experience with the French language certificates. The paper will focus on a process that allows to identify the principal factors to take into account in order to assess the relevance, validity and opportunity of introducing such examinations in the university context. Even though these certifications are usually provided by other institutions outside of the university on the basis of the claims of the Common European Framework of Reference for language, this paper suggests a tighter collaboration between the universities and these language assessment providers.

  • Galina BOUBNOVA (Moscou, Russie)
    L'Olympiade fédérale de français en Russie : un terrain d'expérimentation et de réflexion pédagogique
    (The Federal Olympiad for French in Russia: a field for pedagogical reflection and experiment)
    pp. 75-88

    An overview of FLE (French as a foreign language) student assessment in Russia reveals the following state of affairs. On the one hand, diplomas DELF-DALF (Diploma in French Language Studies - Diploma in Advanced French Language Studies) and TCF (Test of Knowledge of French) are not officially recognized in Russia. On the other hand, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation proposes two types of certification: the Unified State Examination and the All-Russian Olympiad. The tasks of the latter were conceived in a way to become the interlink between the French language curricula and performance assessment criteria used in Russia and those devised for French and European tests and examinations. In other words, the goal is to create mark schemes and assessment criteria which would correspond to those of DALF-DELF and would conform to the recommendations of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). The present article deals with the All-Russian Olympiad in French (the annual contest organized by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation) from the methodological point of view as inviting pedagogical reflection and experiment, the purpose being to introduce assessment procedures which would fit into the common assessment system already adopted in Europe.

  • Sylviane VALDOIS (Grenoble 2)
    Evaluation des difficultés d'apprentissage de la lecture
    (Assessing difficulties in the acquisition of reading)
    pp. 89-103

    Improvement of knowledge about the cognitive mechanisms involved in skilled reading and reading acquisition contributed to the development of new tools for the assessment of reading disability. A first step of the assessment focuses on the efficacy of the global and analytic reading procedures. Evidence for disharmonious development of these procedures then requires investigating the cognitive mechanisms involved in their establishment. Phonological processing skills are then typically assessed because of their well-known impact on reading acquisition. Recent findings have shown that the integrity of another cognitive mechanism, the visual attention span, was also required for the normal development of the reading system.

  • Jean ECALLE (Lyon 2)
    L'évaluation de la lecture et des compétences associées
    (Assessment of reading and related skills)
    pp. 105-120

    Reading assessment should be completed with cognitive skills (memory and rapid automatized naming) and linguistic skills (particularly phonological domain) related to reading and learning to read. This review aims to present the importance of assessing in general and the two aspects of reading assessment in terms of screening and diagnosis. For screening and more precisely to detect children at-risk of failure in learning to read, tests of language development and phonological skills are presented. For a diagnosis in reading, we distinguish pencil-paper tests and computer-based tests. For a complete diagnosis, tests in written word recognition and in reading comprehension are presented with their limits. We conclude that assessment should be closely related to interventions as prevention or remediation.

  • Jean-Philippe RIVIÈRE, Fanny DE LA HAYE, Jean-Emile GOMBERT & Thierry ROCHER (IUFM de Bretagne)
    Les jeunes Français face à la lecture : nouvelles pistes méthodologiques pour l'évaluation massive des performances cognitives
    (Reading skills of French youngsters: new ways of large-scale assessing of cognitive performance)
    pp. 121-144

    Every year, reading performance of about 700.000 young people is assessed in the framework of a day (JAPD, Journée d'Appel de Préparation à la Défense) organised by the French Ministry of Defense. These tests changed recently due to some constraints of test administration and the taking into account of the results of the previous version of the test. Based on the results collected over the years 2004-2008, this paper presents the methodological design of this large span evaluation of reading. This study is an occasion to moderate the binary oppositions between literate and illiterate, and to show that various more or less efficient ways of reading, characterize this activity. For some young people, the switch from schooling to active professional life implies a new relation with written language. The school, which is the main location of reading and writing solicitation, will be replaced by economical activities. For some young people, the relation with writing will be definitively distended.

Book reviews
  • Textes anciens en créole français de la Caraïbe, Histoire et analyse, de M. Hazaël-Massieux
    par G. Véronique
    pp. 145-149
  • La nouvelle orthographe en pratique, de D. Dupriez
    par C. Martinez
    pp. 149-150
  • Le poids de la tradition. La gestion professorale de l'altérité linguistique et culturelle en classe de FLE, de A. Sundberg
    par J. Delahaie
    pp. 150-151