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dc.contributor.authorTanveer, Muhammad
dc.date.accessioned2024-06-10T08:11:21Z
dc.date.available2024-06-10T08:11:21Z
dc.date.issued2023-03-01
dc.identifier.citationTanveer, M (2023) 'Developing speaking test tasks that elicit the construct of English language proficiency for employability' PhD thesis, University of Bedfordshireen_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10547/626291
dc.description.abstractEnglish being the global language of business, the corporate sector worldwide is keen to find more effective ways to assess the English language proficiency (ELP) of potential recruits. Testing ELP for employment purposes is therefore becoming increasingly important both for businesses and for test developers. Available language tests have been criticised as too expensive, too generic, or otherwise unfit-for-purpose (Lockwood, 2012a; Lockwood and Raquel, 2019). This study is specifically concerned with the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry in Oman and investigates: (a) The speech functions (SFs) used by customer service representatives (CSRs) in the TLU domain of a call centre, (b) Whether the language used in the speaking test designed for this study or the job interview in current use better connects with that used in the TLU domain. Following a sequential mixed method research approach, a research design with three distinct stages is followed. Stage 1 analyses the TLU domain, identifying SFs used by CSRs. Sources of data include a collection of 73 authentic calls (i.e., 2663 interactional turns) between CSRs and clients, interviews with stakeholders, document analysis, and observation. Following Bachman and Palmer’s (2010) test development framework, Stage 2 involves the development of a speaking test based on the findings from Stage 1. Stage 3 involves audio recordings of performances by 29 CSR candidates in two speech events (speaking tests and job interviews). The SFs elicited through each speech event are compared using an observation checklist (OC) adapted from O’Sullivan, Weir, and Saville (2002) consisting of 28 SFs. This is followed up by the administration of two questionnaires eliciting CSR candidates’ and examiners’ views of the test. Qualitative data are analysed using thematic analysis and the quantitative data are analysed using descriptive statistics and functional analysis at two levels followed by a statistical test at each level. Wilcoxon’s Signed Rank Test is used to test the statistical significance of the difference in the overall number of SFs elicited by the two speech events. This indicates that the number of SFs employed by CSR candidates in the speaking test is greater (Md = 20) than the number of SFs employed by the same CSR candidates in the interview (Md = 12), Z = -4.603, and that this difference is statistically significant (p < .0001). McNemar’s Chi Square Test is used to test the statistical significance of the difference in the frequency of elicitation of individual SFs. McNemar’s test results show that the test elicits more instances of SF use than the job interview for 12 SFs while the job interview elicits more instances of SF use than the test for 4 SFs (p<.05). For the remaining 12 SFs, the difference is not statistically significant. Qualitative findings from interviews and questionnaires confirmed that the test provided sufficient opportunities for candidates to use SFs like those used in the TLU domain. Overall, the test elicits the SFs that it is designed to elicit. In short, the speaking test elicits a wider range of SFs than does the job interview, and better reflects the SFs used in the TLU domain. The study concludes by setting out limitations, implications, and recommendations for call centre, test developers/administrators, and future researchers.en_US
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Bedfordshireen_US
dc.subjectemployabilityen_US
dc.subjectEnglish language proficiencyen_US
dc.subjectspeaking testsen_US
dc.subjectSubject Categories::X162 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)en_US
dc.titleDeveloping speaking test tasks that elicit the construct of English language proficiency for employabilityen_US
dc.typeThesis or dissertationen_US
dc.type.qualificationnamePhDen_GB
dc.type.qualificationlevelPhDen_US
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Bedfordshireen_US
refterms.dateFOA2024-06-10T08:11:22Z


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