Finding a good English teacher in not as simple as it seems especially when it come to do it in a country like turkey where English is not the first language of the country. since on the one hand just being a native English speaker is not enough for being an English teacher. on the other hand, native English teachers are not found in an Asian country easily. So, the only and the best option would be a good online English course held by a good English teacher. Dr. Arian Karimi is a well-qualified English teacher who holds TESOL CERTIFICATE from London and IETLS TEACHING CERTIFICATE, too. Furthermore, having more than 11 years of experience in teaching English is a good asset for be a good English teacher.

 

Take part in Dr. Arian Karimi English Class

 

 Crack IELTS in 10 Days

 

Dr. Arian Karimi Super Effective Strategies is the key

 

10 Tips to Prepare for IELTS in 10 days

 

IELTS PRIVATE CLASS IN TURKEY

 

whatsapp IELTS Counsellor

 
 
 

  telegram   تماس با اسکایپ دکتر آرین کریمی  اینستاگرام دکتر آرین کریمی  با فیس تایم دکتر آرین کریمی استاد آیلتس تماس بگیرید

 

 
 
 
 
منتشرشده در دوره آنلاین آیلتس
جمعه, 15 مرداد 775.

How get 9 on IELTS Speaking Test

How to Get 9 in IELTS Speaking Test?!!!

 

90 Niner Ielts

 

If you've ever doubted whether you're a good language learner, then bear in mind that you've already learned one language very well indeed – your first. But this raises an interesting question: can adults learn a second language in the same way they learned their first as children? And if so, what are the implications for the classroom?

 

Stephen Krashen and the acquisition of languages

 

Perhaps no-one has looked at the question more closely than the linguist Stephen Krashen, who has introduced some of the most influential concepts to the study of second-language acquisition.

 

In his input hypothesis, first proposed in an article published in 1977, and expanded upon in later years, he makes the distinction between learning: the conscious, traditional grammar-based process in the classroom; and acquisition: essentially how we, as children, pick up our first language. He says that our mistake is trying to teach languages in the same way we teach science, history and mathematics. Instead, he believes that learners should acquire second languages in the same way children learn their first.

 

Krashen sums up the idea in a famous documentary on the subject called A child's guide to learning languages, produced by BBC Horizon in 1983. In the documentary, he says that acquisition is 'where the action is'. In other words, in every successful example of language-learning – an infant mastering a first language, an adult learner of English scoring a band 9 on the IELTS test – the reason for their success is that they have 'acquired' rather than 'learned' the language.

So, how do children and proficient adult learners perform the seemingly magical trick of mastering a language, and what can teachers learn from this? Krashen offers the following ideas:

 

1. We acquire languages when we can understand messages

 

Learners need to be exposed to what Krashen calls 'comprehensible input' – that is, exposure to interesting and understandable listening and reading material. In Krashen's view, we acquire languages when we understand messages. He stipulates that the emphasis should be on meaningful interactions and not on form. When parents speak to their children, for example, the emphasis is on meaning rather than the correct use of grammar. If the child says, 'Daddy fish water!', the parent is likely to respond, 'Yes, you're right, there's a fish in the river', rather than by correcting the child's grammar. The theory here is that exposure to sufficient quantities of comprehensible input always results in acquisition.

 

2. Getting the right level is crucial

 

Krashen makes the important point that comprehensible input needs to be at the right level for the learner, namely just higher than the

learner's own. He calls this theoretical level 'i + 1'. A good practical example of this in action are graded readers. These are books that are specially created for learners of foreign languages at various levels, such as A2, B1, C2, etc, on the common European framework (CEFR).

 

3. The silent period

 

Children don't start speaking their mother tongue straight away. Until they utter their first words, they are acquiring language, even if they are not using it. The miraculous first words and sentences that quickly follow are the result of this acquisition. Adult learners, both inside and outside the classroom, need this silent period, too. Teachers shouldn't be afraid when their students don't participate in debates in class – perhaps they are simply acquiring the language. Moreover, putting pressure on the learner to speak before they are ready will result in anxiety.

 

4. Anxiety is the student’s arch enemy

 

This brings me to one of Krashen’s most famous insights, namely the affective filter. This means that the rate of acquisition decreases if we are under stress, or if we experience anxiety. Luckily, most children have a virtually stress-free language-learning environment at home with their mothers and fathers. But for learners of a second language, the classroom can be a cause of anxiety, greatly affecting the way they receive and process comprehensible input.

By contrast, a house party with lots of international guests is a great place to practise languages, as everybody is relaxed and having a good time. Such an environment offers the language learner plenty of comprehensible input, but (hopefully) none of the anxiety. The lesson here for teachers is that they can create a similar environment by turning the classroom into a sort of house party where people feel comfortable and relaxed.

 

5. The monitor hypothesis

 

According to Krashen, conscious language-learning cannot be the source of spontaneous speech, it can only monitor output, i.e., production in speech or writing. In other words, when learners freely formulate an utterance in the target language, they can only draw upon their repertoire of acquired language to check whether it is grammatically correct. This reduces errors as the learner can apply consciously learned rules to an utterance before producing it, or after production through self-correction. As many people place a high value on accuracy, especially in formal situations, the existence of the 'monitor' could be seen as a reason for retaining a grammar focus in a given lesson.

 

One way to apply this in the classroom would be to have learners notice grammatical features in listening and reading texts using a guided discovery approach. For example, if the learners were given a listening task to do on the biography of a famous person who is still alive, the teacher could hand out the transcript and get the students to underline all of the examples of the present perfect tense. This might be followed by a short discussion, led by the teacher, as to why the tense is being used in this particular situation, followed by some concept-checking questions to ensure students understand how to use the target language. However, Krashen is clear that the main focus of classroom activity should be on giving learners as much comprehensible input as possible. Teachers should base their lessons on meaningful interactions with plenty of graded listening and reading input.

 

6. The natural order hypothesis

 

The grammar and vocabulary of a language are acquired in the same general order, irrespective of who the learner is, which language they are acquiring and the order of the grammar syllabus. You can teach students reported speech, such as in the sentence, 'she mentioned that she had been at the shop that morning', but learners won’t acquire it unless they are ready to. Certain elements of grammar are 'late-acquired', such as the third person '-s', and others are 'early-acquired'. This explains why my little niece continues to say things like 'Daddy go to work every day', even when she has already mastered more complex grammatical structures such as a conditional sentence like, 'I would do it if I had time'. Evidence for this 'natural sequence' of language acquisition can be found in the morpheme studies by Dulay and Burt. This casts doubt on the teaching of many points of grammar too early, that is, before students are ready to acquire them, such as the future perfect tense at intermediate level.

 

The advantages children have over adult learners

 

Before looking at the classroom implications of Krashen’s insights, we should remind ourselves of some of the advantages that children learning their first language have over adults learning a second language. One of the principle advantages is that children are exposed to copious amounts of comprehensible input at just the right level, and there is no pressure on them to speak until they are ready to do so. Children can also take their time and wait until they feel confident before attempting to speak. Moreover, they often have lower expectations of themselves and this helps to ensure that their anxiety levels are low, which, in turn, increases their rate of acquisition.

 

One of the most surprising things is that when children acquire a language, the language acquisition itself is not their objective. Rather, it is a by-product of the achievement of some other purpose, such as making friends in a school playground. Moreover, they pick up the elements of their first language in its natural order. They are not 'force-fed' grammar too early before their language acquisition devices are ready for it. Instead, they acquire the language first and then consider its structure after acquisition has already taken place. Finally, they learn the elements of a language in the natural order.

 

The practical implications of Krashen's ideas for the classroom

 

From Krashen's theories, and having looked at the advantages that children have over adults when it comes to learning languages, we can draw certain conclusions about what conditions make for a successful learning environment. First, class time should be taken up with as much comprehensible input as possible. Second, classes should be stress-free environments where students are encouraged to relax and acquire the language by having fun with it.

 

One particularly important implication of Krashen’s findings is that students, particularly at lower levels, should have lower demands made on them to speak, and materials and teacher talking time should be modified for each student's level. Furthermore, grammar instruction should be done on a need-to-know basis, and only with older learners. Last, but perhaps most important, lessons should not be based on grammar points, but rather on the exchange of meaning.

جمعه, 09 آذر 1380.

IELTS Reading Tips for band 9

IELTS Reading Tips for band 9

 

Getting band 9 in IELTS Reading is possible!

 

Many test-takers have been writing to us with the notion that it’s an impossible task for non-native English speakers. They say, “Scoring 9.0 on IELTS Reading is very hard for those, whose first language is not English. They simply cannot know all that tricky vocabulary”. Of course, you will encounter some unknown words on the IELTS Reading Test. But you shouldn’t worry – it’s completely normal!

 

The main goal of IELTS Reading is to test your ability to understand what you have read. So even if you don’t know some words, it’s OK, as you can guess their meaning and still get band 9!

 

Ridiculously, most of the test-takers lose marks not because of lack of knowledge, but because of making very simple mistakes! That’s why in this guide we’ve gathered 10 IELTS Reading tips that will really help you to get a high score in IELTS Reading:

 

Skim over and watch for the answers

 

Skimming refers to looking only for the main ideas. You don't need to read attentively every word. Remember, you just need to answer the questions, nothing more. So skim over the text and then start looking for the answers.

 

IELTS Reading tips: watch time

 

Don’t forget you have only 60 minutes to read three texts and answer 40 questions. You won’t get additional time for filling your answer sheet, so make sure manage your time properly.

 

Is your spelling correct?

 

Check your spelling before writing your answer on the answer blank. You will get zero points for the answer if it's spelled incorrectly.

 

Keep the order

 

Remember that the questions follow the order of the text in most cases. So the answer to question 5 will come after the answer to question 4 and so on.

 

IELTS Reading tips: underline

 

When you skim over the text, underline the most important phrases. It will help you to save some time when you will search for answers.

 

Unfamiliar vocabulary? That's OK!

 

Do not worry if the text seems unfamiliar to you or you don’t know some words. Every answer can be found in the text, you don’t need any additional knowledge to succeed.

 

IELTS Reading tips: pay attention to the details

 

Look thoroughly through the text. Any special features such as capital letters, underlining, italics, figures, graphs and tables are likely to matter.

 

No blank boxes

 

Answer all the questions, even if you’re not sure in your answer. You don't get penalty for wrong answers, so try your luck and write the most probable answer.

 

IELTS Reading tips: cross out wrong answers in multiple choice

If you saw answer that you're sure is wrong, cross it out. This way you won't get confused and save your time.

 

Choose your own technique

 

It may sound strange at first, but... There is no ultimate advice which technique fits you the best. You should choose yourself how to search for right answers and what to do first: read questions or text. A lot successful candidates prefer to read the text first, and only then answer the questions. But some say it's better to do the other way. Practise doing IELTS Reading samples to determine which technique fits you more.

Follow these IELTS Reading tips and you will definitely increase your score. But also don't forget that reading practice is crucial for success on IELTS Reading.

If you've ever doubted whether you're a good language learner, then bear in mind that you've already learned one language very well indeed – your first. But this raises an interesting question: can adults learn a second language in the same way they learned their first as children? And if so, what are the implications for the classroom?

 

Stephen Krashen and the acquisition of languages

 

Perhaps no-one has looked at the question more closely than the linguist Stephen Krashen, who has introduced some of the most influential concepts to the study of second-language acquisition.

 

In his input hypothesis, first proposed in an article published in 1977, and expanded upon in later years, he makes the distinction between learning: the conscious, traditional grammar-based process in the classroom; and acquisition: essentially how we, as children, pick up our first language. He says that our mistake is trying to teach languages in the same way we teach science, history and mathematics. Instead, he believes that learners should acquire second languages in the same way children learn their first.

 

Krashen sums up the idea in a famous documentary on the subject called A child's guide to learning languages, produced by BBC Horizon in 1983. In the documentary, he says that acquisition is 'where the action is'. In other words, in every successful example of language-learning – an infant mastering a first language, an adult learner of English scoring a band 9 on the IELTS test – the reason for their success is that they have 'acquired' rather than 'learned' the language.

 

So, how do children and proficient adult learners perform the seemingly magical trick of mastering a language, and what can teachers learn from this? Krashen offers the following ideas:

 

1. We acquire languages when we can understand messages

 

Learners need to be exposed to what Krashen calls 'comprehensible input' – that is, exposure to interesting and understandable listening and reading material. In Krashen's view, we acquire languages when we understand messages. He stipulates that the emphasis should be on meaningful interactions and not on form. When parents speak to their children, for example, the emphasis is on meaning rather than the correct use of grammar. If the child says, 'Daddy fish water!', the parent is likely to respond, 'Yes, you're right, there's a fish in the river', rather than by correcting the child's grammar. The theory here is that exposure to sufficient quantities of comprehensible input always results in acquisition.

 

2. Getting the right level is crucial

 

Krashen makes the important point that comprehensible input needs to be at the right level for the learner, namely just higher than the learner's own. He calls this theoretical level 'i + 1'. A good practical example of this in action are graded readers. These are books that are specially created for learners of foreign languages at various levels, such as A2, B1, C2, etc, on the common European framework (CEFR).

 

3. The silent period

 

Children don't start speaking their mother tongue straight away. Until they utter their first words, they are acquiring language, even if they are not using it. The miraculous first words and sentences that quickly follow are the result of this acquisition. Adult learners, both inside and outside the classroom, need this silent period, too. Teachers shouldn't be afraid when their students don't participate in debates in class – perhaps they are simply acquiring the language. Moreover, putting pressure on the learner to speak before they are ready will result in anxiety.

 

4. Anxiety is the student’s arch enemy

 

This brings me to one of Krashen’s most famous insights, namely the affective filter. This means that the rate of acquisition decreases if we are under stress, or if we experience anxiety. Luckily, most children have a virtually stress-free language-learning environment at home with their mothers and fathers. But for learners of a second language, the classroom can be a cause of anxiety, greatly affecting the way they receive and process comprehensible input.

 

By contrast, a house party with lots of international guests is a great place to practise languages, as everybody is relaxed and having a good time. Such an environment offers the language learner plenty of comprehensible input, but (hopefully) none of the anxiety. The lesson here for teachers is that they can create a similar environment by turning the classroom into a sort of house party where people feel comfortable and relaxed.

 

5. The monitor hypothesis

 

According to Krashen, conscious language-learning cannot be the source of spontaneous speech, it can only monitor output, i.e., production in speech or writing. In other words, when learners freely formulate an utterance in the target language, they can only draw upon their repertoire of acquired language to check whether it is grammatically correct. This reduces errors as the learner can apply consciously learned rules to an utterance before producing it, or after production through self-correction. As many people place a high value on accuracy, especially in formal situations, the existence of the 'monitor' could be seen as a reason for retaining a grammar focus in a given lesson.

 

One way to apply this in the classroom would be to have learners notice grammatical features in listening and reading texts using a guided discovery approach. For example, if the learners were given a listening task to do on the biography of a famous person who is still alive, the teacher could hand out the transcript and get the students to underline all of the examples of the present perfect tense. This might be followed by a short discussion, led by the teacher, as to why the tense is being used in this particular situation, followed by some concept-checking questions to ensure students understand how to use the target language. However, Krashen is clear that the main focus of classroom activity should be on giving learners as much comprehensible input as possible. Teachers should base their lessons on meaningful interactions with plenty of graded listening and reading input.

 

6. The natural order hypothesis

 

The grammar and vocabulary of a language are acquired in the same general order, irrespective of who the learner is, which language they are acquiring and the order of the grammar syllabus. You can teach students reported speech, such as in the sentence, 'she mentioned that she had been at the shop that morning', but learners won’t acquire it unless they are ready to. Certain elements of grammar are 'late-acquired', such as the third person '-s', and others are 'early-acquired'. This explains why my little niece continues to say things like 'Daddy go to work every day', even when she has already mastered more complex grammatical structures such as a conditional sentence like, 'I would do it if I had time'. Evidence for this 'natural sequence' of language acquisition can be found in the morpheme studies by Dulay and Burt. This casts doubt on the teaching of many points of grammar too early, that is, before students are ready to acquire them, such as the future perfect tense at intermediate level.

 

The advantages children have over adult learners

 

Before looking at the classroom implications of Krashen’s insights, we should remind ourselves of some of the advantages that children learning their first language have over adults learning a second language. One of the principle advantages is that children are exposed to copious amounts of comprehensible input at just the right level, and there is no pressure on them to speak until they are ready to do so. Children can also take their time and wait until they feel confident before attempting to speak. Moreover, they often have lower expectations of themselves and this helps to ensure that their anxiety levels are low, which, in turn, increases their rate of acquisition.

 

One of the most surprising things is that when children acquire a language, the language acquisition itself is not their objective. Rather, it is a by-product of the achievement of some other purpose, such as making friends in a school playground. Moreover, they pick up the elements of their first language in its natural order. They are not 'force-fed' grammar too early before their language acquisition devices are ready for it. Instead, they acquire the language first and then consider its structure after acquisition has already taken place. Finally, they learn the elements of a language in the natural order.

 

The practical implications of Krashen's ideas for the classroom

 

From Krashen's theories, and having looked at the advantages that children have over adults when it comes to learning languages, we can draw certain conclusions about what conditions make for a successful learning environment. First, class time should be taken up with as much comprehensible input as possible. Second, classes should be stress-free environments where students are encouraged to relax and acquire the language by having fun with it.

 

One particularly important implication of Krashen’s findings is that students, particularly at lower levels, should have lower demands made on them to speak, and materials and teacher talking time should be modified for each student's level. Furthermore, grammar instruction should be done on a need-to-know basis, and only with older learners. Last, but perhaps most important, lessons should not be based on grammar points, but rather on the exchange of meaning.

How can Online IELTS courses benefit me? IELTS courses can bring you huge benefits over your lifetime.

 

 onlineieltsclass

 

دوره آیلتس میتواند مزایای بسیاری در مقاطع مختلف زندگی شما داشته باشد. دورهای آنلاین آیلتس تا چه حد میتوانند برای من مفید باشند ؟

 

Why we should learn English as our second language?

 

A recent survey found that those who speak more than one language and who have good language skills are naturally more intelligent than those who do not. This might not be the main reason why you might consider learning a language but it is certainly something to consider. Speaking English specifically is one of the best language to learn. It is the most widely spoken second language in the world, the second most widely spoken first language in the world and the language which is spoken in the greatest number of countries. Being able to speak English brings with it a huge number of benefits which will be explored throughout this article.

 

چرا ما باید زبان انگلیسی را به عنوان زبان دوم خود انتخاب و یاد بگیریم؟

 

بر اساس یک تحقیقی که اخیر انجام شده است کسانی که بیش از یک زبان صحبت میکنند و مهارت زبانی خوبی دارند طبیعتا باهوش تر ازکسانی هستند که قادر به صحبت به زبانهای مختلف نیستند. قطعا این هدف اصلی از یادگیری زبان برای شما نخواهد بود ولی این موضوع قابل تامل است. زبان انگلیسی یکی از بهترین زبانهای دنیا برای یادگیری است چرا که این زبان زبانیست که بیش از همه زبانهای دنیا در سراسر دنیا صحبت میشود، دومین زبانی است که به عنوان زبان اول مردم در جهان بکار میرود و زبانی است که در بیشتر کشورهای دنیا صحبت میشود.صحبت به زبان انگلیسی مزایای زیادی دارد که در این مقاله به آنها خواهیم پرداخت.

 

Taking IELTS courses, or International English Language Testing System courses, is a particularly wise choice when choosing English language courses. This is because it is one of the most widely accredited language courses available to take, and it is used by a number of institutions to prove English competence. If you have any desire to go to university in England, for example, you will need to take IELTS courses and then achieve a high score in the final examination in order to be accepted. English universities expect you to be able to speak a high standard of English and need you to be able to demonstrate this. This is because you will find it hard to learn if your language skills are not respectable.

 

هنگامی که قصد شرکت در یک دوره زبان انگلیسی را دارید ، شرکت در دوره آیلتس، دوره آمادگی آزمون بین المللی زبان انگلیسی انتخاب آگاهانه ای است چرا که این دوره، در واقع یکی از معتبرترین دوره های زبان انگلیسی است که توسط بیشتر موسسات برای اثبات مهارتهای زبانی شما پذیرفته میشود. مثلا اگر شما قصد شرکت در یک دانشگاه در انگلستان را داشته باشید، باید در یک دوره آیلتس ( خواه دوره آنلاین آیلتس خواه دوره حضوری آیلتس ) شرکت نمایید و در نهایت نمره بالایی در آزمون رسمی آیتس کسب نمایید تا در آن دانشگاه پذیرفته شوید. دانشگاه های انگلیسی زبان از شما انتظار دارند که انگلیسی را با زبان آکادمیک به راحتی صحبت کنید و شما باید این امر را نشان دهید چرا که در غیر اینصورت پیشرفت تحصیلی شما میسر نخواهد بود.

 

IELTS courses give you the ability to prove how good your English skills are, and this can help to make you highly employable. English is the official language of the EU and is widely used in the world of business as a form of communication between companies from different countries. Being able to speak English is therefore hugely beneficial and opens up a number of doors for you, both within the business world itself and in related industries such as translation. If you can speak English to a high level then you are going to be able to go a long way within a company.

 

دوره آیلتس به شما این امکان را میدهد تا توانایی زبان خود را اثبات نمایید و این امر به شما کمک میکند که به راحتی کار پیدا کنید. انگلیسی زبان رسمی کشورهای اروپایی است و به وفوربه عنوان زبان تجارت و بازرگانی برای ایجاد ارتباط بین شرکت های خارجی بکار میرود. بنابراین یادگیری زبان انگلیسی میتواند خیلی برای شما مفید واقع گردد و دربهای بسته را به روی شما باز خواهد کرد. هم در دنیای تجارت و بازرگانی و هم در صنایع وابسته مانند ترجمه . اگر شما زبان انگلیسی را در سطح خوب صحبت کنید میتوانید سالیان سال با یک کمپانی خارجی همکاری داشته باشید.

 

On top of this, around 70% of all on the internet is written in english. IELTS courses will give you the skills required to understand much of this content which can subsequently improve your own learning capabilities as well as providing you with resources to further enhance your education or your business for example. Access to a greater percentage of internet content is something which is often not considered to be a huge benefit, but when we consider that we each spend around three hours online each day, it is clear that being able to understand websites in English will vastly improve your internet experience.

 

مهم تر از همه، بیش از 70 درصد مطالب در اینترنت به زبان انگلیسی نوشته شده اند. دوره ریدینگ آیلتس به شما این امکان را میدهد که مهارتهای لازم برای فهم مطالب موجود در اینترنت را بدست آورید و در پی آن میزان یادگیری خود را افزایش دهید و همچنین به شما یاد میدهد که چطور در تحصیل و شغل خود موفق باشید. شاید دسترسی به حجم زیادی از اطلاعات از طریق اینترنت امروزه مزیت بزرگی به حساب نیاید ولی وقتی در نظر بگیرید که هر کدام از ما روزانه بیش از سه ساعت پای اینترنت وقت میگذارنیم بدیهی است که فهمیدن مطالبی که عموما به زبان انگلیسی در وبسایت ها نوشته شده اند خیلی مهم خواهد بود.

 

Dr.Arian Karimi IELTS courses might seem like an expensive investment but the return on this investment is likely to be huge. Being able to speak English is a very valuable skill and in the era of growing multinationalism, it is becoming more and more important each year.

 

ممکن است که دورهای آیلتس دکتر آرین کریمی به نظر سرمایه گذاری پر هزینه و گرانی به نظر آید ولی بازده ای آن نیز زیاد خواهد بود. توانایی صحبت کردن به زبان انگلیسی بصورت سلیس و فلوئنت در این عصر رشد مداوم چند ملیتی مهارت با ارزشی است.

 

کالج زبان و آیلتس آرین برگزار کننده دوره آنلاین آیلتس مجازی

The influence of rater characteristics and other rater background factors

 

( Based on a research conducted by Teachers College, Columbia University )

 

In complement to the studies which looked at how raters differ, studies on the effects of rater background factors attempt to explain why raters differ, with an increasing attention to the effects  of rater language background, rater expertise and rater training on raters’ cognitive processes and rating behaviors. Findings from both types of studies can be combined to provide a useful frame of reference for conceptualizing rater cognition in future research.

 

Rater language background (i.e., native/non-native speaking rater comparisons, matches between rater and examinee language background) has received major attention among researchers in L2 speaking assessment. A representative study that examined the cognitive differences between native and non-native speaking groups of raters was conducted by Zhang &Elder (2011, 2014), who investigated ESL/EFL teachers’ evaluation and interpretation of oral English proficiency in the national College English Test-Spoken English Test (CET-SET) of China. They found that NS raters attended to a wider range of abilities when judging candidates’ oral test performance than NNS raters. NS raters also tended to emphasize features of interaction while NNS raters were more likely to focus on linguistic resources such as accuracy. Similarly, Gui (2012) investigated whether American and Chinese EFL teachers differed in their evaluations of student oral performance in an undergraduate speech competition in China. He found that the American raters provided more specific and elaborated qualitative comments than the Chinese raters. The raters also differed in their judgment of students’ pronunciation, language usage, and speech delivery. One unique difference was related to raters’ comments on students’ nonverbal communication skills. The Chinese raters provided mostly positive comments about the gestures and other non-verbal demeanors of the students as a group, while the American raters were mostly critical. Both Zhang & Elder’s (2011, 2014) and Gui’s (2012) studies have offered some interesting revelations as to the differences in the perception of oral English proficiency and the pedagogical priorities between these two groups of raters. However, they seem to mainly focus on the aspects and features of language performance raters heed, leaving other important aspects of rater cognition, such as raters’ decision-making behaviors and rating approaches, not thoroughly attended to. Another set of limitations also exist with regard to the validity and the generalizability of these results. The first limitation lies in the homogeneity of the student samples selected in both studies. Chinese students who share the same L1 and similar educational background might undermine the generalizability of the results to other test-taker populations. There is also limitation with regard to the validity of using written comments as the major data for analysis, which might not offer a full account of raters’ in-depth rating behaviors.

 

The last impediment to the validity of the results from both studies, as had been discussed in precedent studies on the influence of rater language background (Brown, 1995; Kim, 2009), pertains to the possibility that variables other than rater language background, such as raters’ scoring experiences or their places of residence, could have caused the variance in ratings instead. Rater language background thus ended up in the original results as a proxy variable. This limitation has raised the question of whether language background is “a particularly meaningful category as far as predicting raters’ behavior is concerned” (Zhang & Elder, 2014, p. 320).


Another type of research on rater language background attempted to find out whether raters tend to bias in favor of test-takers whose language backgrounds are related to theirs. Researchers have looked at the influence of both rater L1 and rater L2 and seem to diverge in their opinions. Winke, Gass, & Myford (2011, 2012) investigated whether raters were influenced by the link between their L2 and test-takers’ L1 through scoring the TOEFL iBT speaking test.


Both statistical results and qualitative data analyses suggested that raters tended to assign scores that were significantly higher than expected to test takers whose L1 matches their L2 (i.e., heritage status), due to familiarity and positive personal reactions to test-takers’ accents and L1. On the contrary, Wei & Llosa (2015) examined the differences between American and Indian raters in their scores and scoring processes while rating Indian test takers’ responses to the TOEFL iBT speaking tasks. They found no statistically significant differences between Indian and American raters in their use of the scoring criteria, their attitudes toward Indian English, or in the internal consistency and severity of the scores. In-depth qualitative analysis revealed that some Indian raters even held negative attitudes toward Indian English, due to factors more complicated than their own language background. For example, the negative judgments one rater received about his native language caused him to believe that adopting standard American English is important for surviving in the United States. As a result, this rater might not have endorsed test-takers’ shared language background. The findings of this study suggest that sharing a common language background does not guarantee a positive evaluation of test-takers’ L2 speaking performance after all. However, issues regarding the small and homogeneous sample of Indian raters used might undermine the generalizability of the findings of this study, which should be further examined by including raters and test-takers of other language varieties.

 

So far in L2 speaking assessment, researchers have provided statistical and qualitative support for various hypotheses regarding whether raters are potentially biased toward test-takers from a similar language background. However, they have yet to examine whether deeper, underlying cognitive differences exist in raters’ scoring processes, such as their approaches to rating and their focus and feature attention, while they are evaluating the performance of testtakers with mixed language backgrounds. One of the studies that attempted to tap into those cognitive differences was conducted by Xi & Mollaun (2009, 2011), who investigated the extent to which a special training package can help raters from India to score examinees with mixed first language (L1) backgrounds more accurately and consistently. As they found out, the special training not only improved Indian raters’ consistency in scoring both Indian and non-Indian examinees, but also boosted their confidence in scoring. Those findings led to further discussion of whether raters adopted different styles of rating depending on the match between their and the examinees’ first languages. For example, after the special training, the raters from India may have employed more analytical approaches to scoring Indian examinees while engaging in more impressionistic, intuitive evaluations for examinees whose L1s were not familiar to them (Xi & Mollaun, 2009), thus balancing out their tendency to bias toward test-takers of their own language background. However, the researchers could only make hypotheses about the change in raters’ cognitive styles due to lack of direct empirical evidence (e.g., raters’ verbal protocol data), which could have served to corroborate their quantitative findings.

 

Apart from rater language background, rater experience and rater training are also important factors that are found to affect raters’ rating styles and behaviors in L2 speaking assessment. Among the series of studies that have explicitly examined the effects of experience on raters’ cognitive processes and rating behaviors in language testing, the vast majority were conducted in writing assessment (Barkaoui, 2010; Cumming, 1990; Delaruelle, 1997; Lim, 2011; Myford, Marr, and Linacre, 1996; Sakyi, 2003; Wolfe, 1997, 2006; Wolfe, Kao, & Ranney, 1998). Research findings in writing assessment generally seem to agree that prior teaching or testing experience influences raters' decision making processes (Davis, 2012). Experienced raters are found to score faster (Sakyi, 2003), consider a wider variety of language features (Cumming, 1990; Kim, 2011; Sakyi, 2003), and are more inclined to withhold premature judgments in order to glean more information (Barkaoui, 2010; Wolfe, 1997). In terms of rater training, the majority of the studies in both writing and speaking assessment seems to suggest that training does not completely eliminate the variability existing in either rater severity (Brown, 1995; Lumley & McNamara, 1995; Myford & Wolfe, 2000) or their scoring standards and decision making processes (Meiron, 1998; Orr, 2002; Papajohn, 2002; Winke, Gass & Myford, 2011).

 

In contrast to the relatively larger number of studies on rater experience and rater training in L2 writing assessment, researchers in L2 speaking assessment have only recently begun to examine the impacts of those two rater background factors on raters’ scoring processes and behaviors (Davis, 2012, 2015; Isaacs & Thompson, 2013; Kim, 2011, 2015). Kim (2015) compared rater behaviors across three rater groups (novice, developing, and expert) in the evaluation of ESL learners’ oral responses, and examined the development of rating performance within each group over time. The analysis revealed that the three groups of raters demonstrated distinct levels of rating ability and different paces of progress in their rating performance. Based on her findings, she concluded that rater characteristics should be examined extensively to improve the current understanding of raters’ different needs for training and rating. She also discussed her own conceptualization of rater characteristics and relative expertise drawing on relevant literature in writing assessment (e.g., Cumming, 1990; Delaruelle, 1997; Erdosy, 2004; Lumley, 2005; Sakyi, 2003; Weigle, 1998; Wolfe, 2006), and proposed perhaps the most up-todate framework of rating L2 speaking performance germane to those rater characteristics.

 

According to Kim (2011, 2015), rater expertise is composed of four concrete rater background variables (i.e., experience in rating, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages [TESOL] experience, rater training, and coursework). The interactions of those rater background variables influence the rating-related knowledge and strategic competence that raters utilize during scoring, also known as their rating ability. Rating performance is then accomplished by raters harnessing their rating ability in an actual rating occasion. Kim’s model is perhaps the most complicated framework of rating performance germane to rater background variables to date.

 

In another representative study on rater expertise in L2 speaking assessment, Davis (2012, 2015) investigated how raters of different rating proficiency scored responses from the TOEFL iBT speaking test differently prior to and following training. Considerable individual variations were seen in the frequency with which the exemplars were used and reviewed by raters, the language features mentioned during rating, and the styles of commenting by each rater (e.g., the array of topics covered and the amount of detailed explanation on specific points). The effects of training were reflected in the ways that raters gave more explicit attention to their scoring processes, and that they made fewer disorganized, or unclear comments over time. Both Kim’s (2011, 2015) and Davis’ (2012, 2015) research is comprehensive in terms of the rater background factors (i.e., rater experience interacting with training) they focused on and the research design and methods (i.e., mixed-method research design) they used to tap into the influence of those background factors. However, the data reported in their research primarily address raters’ accuracy of interpreting the rating scales and performance level descriptors (Kim, 2015), and raters’ conscious attention to specific language features while scoring (Davis, 2012), leaving other important aspects of rater cognition, such as the mental actions raters take to reach a scoring decision, not thoroughly attended to.

 

As a further attempt to investigate the cognitive differences between more and less experienced raters, Isaacs & Thompson (2013) examined the effects of rater experience on their judgments of L2 speech, especially regarding pronunciation. This study has discovered some fresh cognitive differences between experienced and novice raters, in terms of the (meta)cognitive strategies they use to harness their relative experience with ESL learners, their emotional reactions and attitudes toward their levels of experience, their rating focus and feature attention, their professional knowledge and TESOL vocabulary to describe L2 speech, and the relative lengths and styles of their verbal comments. Evidence from verbal protocols and posttask interviews suggested that experienced and novice raters adopted strategies to either draw on or balance out their perceived experience with L2 speech during scoring. For example, some experienced raters reported that they might have been affected by their experience with ESL learners in their comprehension and evaluation of learners’ speech in comparison to non-ESL teachers. To neutralize the influence, some even attempted to envision themselves as non-ESL trained interlocutors when assigning scores. Conversely, several novice raters expressed feelings of inadequacy to be judges due to their insufficient experience specifying and assessing learner speech. In terms of rating focus and feature attention, experienced raters were more likely to identify specific pronunciation errors through either detailed characterization or imitation/correction of student speech. Compared to their novice counterparts, they also had a more flexible range of professional knowledge of L2 pronunciation and assessment, whereas novice raters were more uniformly lacking in their command of TESOL vocabulary to the extent that they had to think of more creative terms to describe L2 speech. Experienced raters were also found to produce longer think-aloud and interview comments, since they almost unexceptionally provided anecdotal descriptions about their teaching or assessment practices. Even though the study attempted to gather evidence that shows raters diverged cognitively depending on their levels of rating experience, it is still unclear if the cognitive differences discovered were the essential ones that distinguish experienced raters from the novice ones. For example, it has not been verified if novice raters failed to articulate their perceptions of the speech due to their inadequate access to the vocabulary used by experienced raters, or rather due to the fact that experienced and novice raters were heeding qualitatively different dimensions of the speech overall, having different perceptions and interpretation of the construct and the scoring rubric, or following different approaches of rating. Therefore, it is important to examine in greater detail the factors that might have affected those raters’ judgment process while scoring.

 

The most commonly studied rater background factors in L2 speaking assessment so far are rater language background, rater experience and rater training. What has been little known, however, is whether other sources of rater variability, for example, those related to the difference in raters’ cognitive abilities, also affect raters’ evaluation of L2 speaking performance. In a pioneering study, Isaacs & Trofimovich (2011) investigated how raters’ judgments of L2 speech were associated with individual differences in their phonological memory, attention control, and musical ability. Results showed that raters who specialized in music assigned significantly lower scores than non-music majors for non-native like accents, particularly for low ability L2 speakers. However, the ratings were not significantly influenced by the variability in raters’phonological memory and attention control. Reassuring as it is that phonological memory and attention control are not found to induce bias in raters’ assessments of L2 speech, this study is an initial attempt to tap into raters’ cognitive abilities in relation to L2 speaking assessment, and calls for further explorations of the nature of the impacts of those abilities. One major caveat that might undermine the validity of the results here, as the researchers (Isaacs & Trofimovich, 2011) themselves have pointed out, is that phonological memory and attention control might not be as relevant to raters’ perceptual judgments of L2 speech as alternative measures such as acoustic memory and the scope of attention, which raters might have drawn on more heavily to process and evaluate L2 speech (pp. 132- 133). Apart from that, the cognitive tasks used to measure raters’ phonological memory (i.e., a serial non-word recognition task) and attention control (i.e., the trail-making test) might not be as effective as other tasks (e.g., nonword repetition or recall tasks) to yield the maximum association between those cognitive capacities and raters’ perceptual judgments of L2 speech (Isaacs & Trofimovich, 2011, p. 132). The trail-making task, for example, was used to measure attention control of listeners who evaluate language performance. However, since the nature of the task is language neutral (p. 122), it does not seem to have much connection with real-life language processing and therefore, might not be the optimal measure of attentional control in the context of this study. In terms of the methods for data analyses, apart from preliminary statistical analyses of the results of cognitive ability measures, the study could also have benefited from collection and analyses of qualitative data (e.g., raters’ verbal protocols and interview/questionnaire results) to capture more direct evidence of the effects of raters’ cognitive abilities on their rating process. This study is obviously groundbreaking in terms of its implications to investigate rater cognition in relation to the architecture of human information processing and the functionality of the brain for L2 speaking assessments. However, apart from phonological memory and attentional control, the effects of many other cognitive abilities and mechanisms should also have been taken into account, such as raters’ attention and perception, long-term memory (i.e., declarative, procedural and episodic memory which might influence raters’ mental representations of both the rubric and the L2 speech, and their rating styles and strategies), or reasoning and decision-making skills, to provide a more comprehensive picture of the important role that each component of the human cognitive architecture plays in the process of rating L2 speech. Musical ability, the factor that appeared to influence raters’ judgments of accentedness in this study, needs to be explored in greater detail to explain how individual differences in musical expertise may impact rater behavior more precisely. Not only can drawbacks be found regarding the types of cognitive abilities explored in this study and the tasks used to measure them, how those cognitive abilities might affect the evaluation of a construct of speaking ability more broadly defined is also left unexplored (p.136). For instance, researchers of this study only focused on three components of the speaking ability construct (i.e., accentedness, comprehensibility and fluency), without incorporating other elements (e.g. grammar and vocabulary), therefore largely diminishing the generalizability of the results to a wider variety of speaking tasks and oral proficiency constructs. The relatively homogenous sample of raters recruited (i.e., college majors who are untrained and inexperienced for scoring L2 speech) can also limit the generalizability of the results.

 


To summarize, by examining the interactions between various rater background factors and raters’ judgment processes, researchers reached generally similar conclusions about the possible effects of different rater background factors on raters’ cognitive processes and rating behaviors. Rater language background is found to be likely to affect the raters’ focus and perception of oral proficiency when they are identified as native/non-native speaking individuals.

 


Matches in language background between raters and examinees can also influence raters’ comprehension and evaluation of examinees’ interlanguage speech. Rater experience and rater training are also found to have impacts on raters’ scoring approaches and styles, their commenting styles, their decision-making behaviors and strategy use, their focus and attention to performance features, and their interpretation and utilization of the scoring criteria. One of the groundbreaking studies (Isaacs & Trofimovich, 2011) attempted to look into the effects of individual differences in raters’ cognitive abilities on their rating patterns and scoring process, but the results are not as convincing as expected due to a number of limitations. One major limitation among most of the studies is that they only focused on one or two isolated aspects (e.g. rater focus and feature attention) while exploring how rater background factors affect rating behaviors and cognitive processes, leaving other aspects not thoroughly explored, especially those that are directly related to raters’ cognitive processes (e.g., raters’ internal processing of information and their strategy use). Therefore, future research can improve our understanding of how various rater background factors might impact raters’ judgment process by systematically exploring those influences from a cognitive-processing perspective.

 

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION


Human raters are usually engaged with the judgment of interlanguage speech that examinees produce in L2 speaking assessment. As a result, rater cognition has been extensively explored to inform our understanding of the exact nature of rater variability and help us tackle practical problems regarding score validation and rater training. As the above review has shown, existing studies in L2 speaking assessment which have contributed to the conceptualization of rater cognition can be categorized into two types: studies that examine how raters differ (and sometimes agree) in their cognitive processes and rating behaviors, and studies that explore why they differ. The first type looked at how raters tend to differ or agree in their cognitive processes and rating behaviors, mainly in terms of their focus and feature attention, their approaches to scoring, and their treatment of the scoring criteria and non-criteria relevant aspects and features of performance. This is also the type of studies that most directly describes raters’ mental processes during scoring. The second type attempted to explain why raters differ (and usually they do), through the analysis of the interactions between various rater background factors and raters’ scoring behaviors.

Regardless of disagreement in their findings, many researchers would probably argue that rater background variables, mainly composed of their language background, rating experience and training experience, can lead to individual variability and/or overtime adjustment in their judgment process when scoring L2 speech.

 

Reference : Teachers College, Columbia University Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 1-24 Rater Cognition in L2 Speaking Assessment.

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