Since its publication in 2001, the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR; Council of Europe 2001) has become a widely recognized standard of competence level descriptions for languages. Educational standards, textbooks, language courses, and lan- guage examinations in European countries and beyond have been developed with reference to the CEFR scales. This paper describes which expectations of the CEFR as a reference system can be considered as realistic and which quality standards must be fulfilled by lan- guage examinations in order to be able to establish a reliable link to the CEFR. With regard to centralized language tests which currently need to be developed for school leaving examinations in many federal Länder in Germany, different approaches for validating an alignment to the CEFR and their possible implementations are discussed.
In diesem Beitrag geht es um die Ziele, Ergebnisse und Werte des Sprachunterrichts. Er befasst sich mit den Ergebnissen zweier empirischer Untersuchungen, dem European Survey on Language Competences (ESLC), die der Autor in der zweiten Phase selbst leitete, und der kürzlich erschienenen Study on Comparability of Language Testing in Europe (SCLTE), für die der Autor ebenfalls verantwortlich war. In dem Beitrag soll versucht werden, die Schritte zur Konzeptualisierung eines kompetenzorientierten Messverfahrens und dessen Umsetzung zu umreißen. Ausgangspunkt ist die Definition von Konstrukten; in den fol- genden Schritten wird dann die Entwicklung eines Testdesigns dargestellt und erläutert, wie ein Test konstruiert werden sollte. Der Aufsatz wird abgerundet durch Erläuterungen zum standard setting und zur Konstruktion einer Messskala.
Since its publication in 2001, the Common European Framework of Reference for Lan- guages (CEFR) has had a tremendous impact on the teaching and learning of foreign lan- guages. Particularly in the field of language testing, the major European language tests rely on the CEFR system of competence scales. Although the CEFR has been criticized on theoretical grounds from the beginning, relatively little research has addressed the question to which extent CEFR scales are suitable to evaluate authentic learner productions. This paper presents an overview of the research literature relating to the validity of the CEFR scales. The article focuses on a huge sample of written German and Italian speech productions that was analyzed statistically with respect to scale functionality. The underlying texts had been rated based on seven CEFR scales. Results indicate that the CEFR scales under inspection are not fully functional. Therefore, more research is suggested that relates the theoretical framework of the CEFR to authentic learner language. By that means, a revision of the CEFR might mitigate some of the flaws identified in this study.
Intercultural competence has been part and parcel of constructs of foreign language com- petence in curricular documents such as the German National Educational Standards or the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. When it comes to assessment of this competence, though, it is neglected in favour of more easily assessable elements such as the four skills. The purpose of this article is to delineate and discuss models of inter- cultural competence before focussing on ways of assessing intercultural competence in the foreign language classroom, considering both summative and formative assessment.
At the beginning of the new millennium, the introduction of national educational standards, systematic assessments of learning outcomes and increasingly centralised exit exam regimes in the German federal states was prompted by the perceived need to improve the effective- ness of classroom teaching and educational outcomes in the wake of international large- scale assessment studies. The article discusses the criticism this reform has invited from scientific disciplines traditionally concerned with the contexts, conditions and processes of teaching and learning. It reviews empirical studies on the impact of central exit exams in the German context as well as international washback studies in the language testing research literature. In conclusion, a case is made for more explorative research in the field to support a better understanding of the ways educational standards, standardised assess- ment and central examinations are changing the practice of foreign language teaching and learning.