Group Discussion Tests: investigating the construct of interaction

Group Discussion Tests: investigating the construct of interaction

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  • Create Date August 2, 2018
  • Last Updated August 2, 2018

Group Discussion Tests: investigating the construct of interaction

A Group Discussion Test (GDT) is an assessment of conversational ability in which three or four test-takers discuss a prompt for a specified period of time. Unlike other speaking assessment methods, apart from starting and stopping the conversation, the rater does not take part, meaning that theinteraction is between relatively equal status participants and should result in a more conversation-like sample of language. This presentation examines this assumption by investigating the construct of interaction in 82 videoed GDTs that were part of a proficiency test that took place at a university in Japan. Using a speech functional analyses framework, the tests’, discourse structure was analyzed and the extent to which the turn-taking, topic nomination and involvement resembled conversation was investigated. The investigation revealed that for the most part, features of conversation were represented in the GDTs. However, there were also cases where the resulting interaction was not very conversation-like at all. These cases are discussed and recommendations made that should decrease the likelihood of ,dysfunctional GDTs.

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