Webinar March 2023

EBB Scales for Speaking Assessment

Wednesday 1st March, 2023 – 13:00 CLT

Presented by  Dr. Stefan O’Grady

The assessment of speaking skills is an important component of second language educational programmes with potential to inform decisions that impact on individuals’ future learning opportunities. In the process of testing speaking, assessment criteria play a crucial role by describing the skills and competencies that examiners should attend to when evaluating an individual’s ability. However, many institutions conduct speaking assessment without sufficient consideration of the focus of assessment criteria and its application. This is unsound because the research literature consistently demonstrates that scores on speaking tasks are sensitive to rater effects that produce misleading impressions of spoken ability. This webinar examines the use of Empirically derived Binary choice scales that describe the Boundaries between proficiency levels (EBB scales) to address these limitations. Developmental procedures are first described, and a sample scale is evaluated. Following this, a comparison with a conventional analytical rating scale applying many facet Rasch measurement of real assessment data is reported. The webinar will be of interest to individuals and institutions conducting speaking assessment.

Developing subject specific written assessments in multi-disciplinary EAP classrooms: 2 case studies

Wednesday 22th March, 2023  – 12:00 CLT

Presented by James Ackroyd

There is a strong case for the teaching and assessment of EAP through a subject specific approach as there are problems “inherent in any assumption of the existence of a general academic register.” (Wingate & Tribble, 2013: 310). However, there are a number of barriers to this due to “tensions between pedagogic effectiveness and pedagogic convenience” (Bhatia, 2002:27) which leads to resistance to the creation of subject specific EAP courses (Cheng, 2008) and closer working relationships between EAP and subject specific lecturers (Dudley-Evans, 2001 and Raisanen and Fortanet-Gomez, 2008).

To try to overcome some of these issues, I have developed and used 2 different approaches to EAP assessments in multi-disciplinary classrooms:

  • All students writing a report or essay (depending on subject conventions) on a shared topic that has relevance to all the subjects being studied – in this case the Impact of Brexit.
  • Students in the class doing one of two different “essay” style assessments, depending on which pathway they are on (business or humanities).

The webinar will evaluate these two approaches to conclude that although both do have certain issues, which hopefully the webinar participants will help me to overcome, they are valid attempts to increase subject specificity in EAP assessments for generic EAP courses.

Creativity as a solution to countless teaching problems

Saturday, March 25th, 2023  – 12:00 CLT

Presented by Feruz Akbarov

Creativity has long been seen as a talent by some, while others regard it as a skill. Irrespective of how it is perceived, this presentation sheds light upon some teaching practices that have been either overlooked or not known at all by English teachers at large. Together we will explore some effective teaching insights and practical tips on how to teach creatively so as to enhance teachers’ existing skills and inspire them to employ some innovative tips, tools and strategies. The presentation includes interactive workshops and on-site questionnaires to reflect upon effective mechanisms that may be largely absent in the modern ELT/FLT classes.