Collections > Scholarly Posters and Presentations > A Task Based Assessment of Academic English Pronunciation

Purpose or Research Questions: This poster will outline the process of developing a task-based assessment of academic English pronunciation and will illustrate its components. The author will explain analysis procedures and utility of the assessment for prioritizing aspects of pronunciation and grammar that are relevant to academic English and the individual’s professional interests. Background (brief review of the issues in existing research or clinical practice that led you to do this project): Many existing assessment materials for English pronunciation are designed primarily to elicit specific sounds in individual words and sentences. The materials are not typically representative of natural speech production. The goal of most international faculty, students, and visiting scholars is to pronounce English as a “lingua franca” (an international language of communication) in academic environments. The authors developed a task-based assessment of English pronunciation, including a standardized oral paragraph reading, elicited sentences related to the task, and a spontaneous speech sample. The assessment simulates the kinds of tasks learners are required to perform outside of the classroom. The purpose of the task is to quickly assess aspects of pronunciation that have the greatest impact on overall speech intelligibility, along with qualitative dimensions of communication. Methods/Proposed Methods (e.g., Participant and procedures for original research, or search and analytical strategies for research reviews): The task incorporates vocabulary from the academic word list (Coxhead, 2000), and the academic phrase list (Ellis et al., 2008), and prioritizes elements important for intelligibility among lingua franca speakers and listeners (Szpyra-Kozłowska, 2014). The task-based assessment is constructed with the following components: 1. Oral reading of a paragraph describing the purpose and characteristics of an effective “elevator pitch” (a concise summary of one’s work to share in various professional contexts). 2. Oral reading of an example elevator pitch on the topic of emotional intelligence in mentor-mentee relationships. 3. A series of six open-ended Wh-questions designed to stimulate the subject’s thinking regarding developing a potential elevator pitch. 4. A spontaneous speech and language sample of 30 to 90 seconds in which the subject delivers an elevator pitch specific to their own academic interests. 5. Self-rating of participation in various communication activities 6. Demographic and background information Results/Anticipated Results/Discussion: Combined results of the Task-based Assessment of Academic English Pronunciation facilitate prioritization for pronunciation and grammar that are relevant to academic English and the individual’s professional interests. The relative severity rating of each element determines the relative importance for instruction. Following instruction and learning, the task can be re-administered for comparison with the initial results.