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Volume 20, No. 2 March 1997

Oral Proficiency Testing Kits Now Available from CAL

Since 1991, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) has trained several hundred educators in oral proficiency assessment. This training has been offered through workshops based on CAL's Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI). In the SOPI rater training workshops, participants become familiar with the SOPI and the Speaking Proficiency Guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The ACTFL Guidelines underlie the SOPI format, and SOPI raters use the Guidelines to score the test. CAL has conducted workshops for Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Portuguese.

CAL has recognized the need to make this kind of training more widely available. Now, funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, CAL has developed a self-instructional SOPI Rater Training Kit, which is designed for use by individuals or small groups. Each kit consists of four parts: a Rater Training Manual, three Rater Training Kit tapes, the Rater Training Kit Workbook, and the Rater Training Kit Reference Guide for Scoring. The kit also includes a complete copy of one SOPI. Upon completion of the kit training, teachers may administer and score the SOPI at their own institution.

By working through the kit, teachers gain a hands-on understanding of proficiency concepts and become familiar with the goals of proficiency-oriented testing and teaching. They can also become competent to administer and score the test for their own students. To have their rater training ability recognized, trainees can take an optional test. Upon successful test performance, trainees receive a Certificate of Achievement from CAL.

SOPI rater training kits are available in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese. For more information, contact:

Laurel Winston, Coordinator
Simulated Oral Proficiency Interviews
CAL, 4646 40th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20016-1859

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