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Defining and Assessing Lexical Proficiency

Defining and Assessing Lexical Proficiency

By: Agnieszka Leńko-Szymańska

This comprehensive account of performance-based assessment of L2 lexical proficiency analyzes and compares two of the primary methods of evaluation used in the field and unpacks the ways in which they tap into different dimensions of one model of lexical competence and proficiency.

This book builds on the latest research on performance-based assessment, which has most recently pointed to the application of more quantitative measures to L2 data, to systematically explore the qualitative method of using human raters in assessment exercises and the quantitative method of using automatic computation of statistical measures of lexis and phraseology. Supported by an up-to-date review of the existing literature, both approaches’ unique features are highlighted but also compared to one another to provide a holistic overview of performance-based assessment as it stands today at both the theoretical and empirical level. These findings are exemplified in a concluding chapter, which summarizes results from an empirical study looking at a range of lexical and phraseological features and human raters’ scores of over 150 essays written by both L2 learners of English and native speakers. Taken together, the volume challenges existing tendencies within the field which attempt to use one method to validate one another by demonstrating their capacity to indicate very different elements of lexical proficiency, thereby offering a means by which to better conceptualize performance-based assessment of L2 vocabulary in the future.

This book will be of interest to students and researchers working in second language acquisition and applied linguistics research, particularly those interested in issues around assessment, vocabulary acquisition, and language proficiency.