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A Basic German Communicative Test Using Language Functions to Measure Proficiency
The characteristics of a new German communicative test for Japanese university students is explained in the first half of this paper. This test was developed by the author with the aid of a special research grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The test and a list of all vocabulary used in it are detached as an appendix. In order to write this communicative test, the author selected 57 basic language functions as anchor points for measuring the communicative competence of learners at the beginner's level. Some functions utilized include offering an apology, requesting assistance, suggesting a course of action, and so on. The language functions were taken from Baldegger, M. / Muller, M. / Schneider, G. / Naf, A. (1980): Kontaktschwelle Deutsch als Fremdsprache. and also from Van Ek, J. A. / Trim, J. L. M. (1990): Threshold 90. These two publications are the most famous standard reference books for test- and textbook writers and for curriculum designers in German and English language education, respectively. The second half of this paper reports on 42 Hiroshima University freshmen who took the communicative test. The students had learned German for 90 hours (30 weeks, twice a week including guidances and tests). An error analysis of the test results revealed strategies which learners seem to utilize when they encounter problems in understanding test dialogues. Nineteen of the 42 students who took the communicative test also took the Dokken 4-Kyu, the Fourth Grade of the German Proficiency Test. So, test scores could be compared. The results showed a statistically meaningful correlationship between the two tests (0.83). The author is now developing an on-line testing system which provides examinees not only with automatically-evaluated test results, but also with vocabulary lists and references to helpful supplementary exercises.
Hiroshima Studies in Language and Language Education
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Departmental Bulletin Paper
Departmental Bulletin Papers
Institute for Foreign Language Research and Education