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Using Self-Assessments to Investigate Comparability of the CEFR and CSE: An Exploratory Study Using the LanguageCert Test of English

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Wen Zhao
Jinan University, China

David Coniam
LanguageCert, UK

This paper reports on an exploratory comparability study between the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the China Standards of English (CSE). Established equivalences are exhibited via the LanguageCert Test of English of reading and language use for the CEFR and a comparable test of reading and language use produced by a top-tier China university. In the study, a large sample of test takers took part, first sitting the two comparable tests of reading and language use, and subsequently completing a number of self-assessment Can-Do statements related to the CEFR and the CSE.

Validity of the dataset was established by linking both tests and sets of self-assessments to a single frame of reference using a third test whose robustness and values had been previously established. While there were some divergences between how the two frameworks aligned – more notably towards the lower ends of the scales – correspondences which emerged between the CEFR and CSE frameworks were broadly in accordance with those reported in other studies referenced in the current paper. The current study therefore sets the groundwork for determining the correspondence between LanguageCert Tests, aligned to the CEFR, and the CSE.

Self-assessment, CEFR, CSE, Rasch, comparability