Comprehensibility in Language Testing - Parvaneh Tavakoli

Parvaneh Tavakoli [+-]
University of Reading
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Parvaneh Tavakoli is a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading. Parvaneh's main research interest lies in the interface of second language acquisition, language teaching, and language testing. Parvaneh has led several international research projects investigating the effects of task and task design on performance, acquisition, assessment and policy in different contexts. Her research has been published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and books.
Sheryl Cooke [+-]
British Council
Sheryl Cooke is Director of the British Council’s East Asia Assessment Solutions Team, leading on language assessment projects and stakeholder engagement across the region, including needs analyses, language assessment literacy training, test development, post-test services and teacher support. Sheryl has 20 years’ experience in language assessment and her qualifications include an MA Language Testing (Lancaster University) and an MA Linguistics (SOAS). She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), focusing on automated assessment of spoken English and the potential implications for English as a Lingua Franca, and she has presented at leading regional and international conferences on this topic. Research interests include assessment of speaking, particularly accent and pronunciation, the use of new technologies in language testing and the ethics of language assessment in the global context.


This chapter provides an overview of the scope and aims of the book and presents a summary of current approaches to the construct of comprehensibility and the related concepts of intelligibility and accentedness (Levis, 2005; Munro & Derwing, 2011; Isaacs, 2014). A brief synopsis of previous research articles is followed by consideration of the difficulties inherent in defining, teaching and measuring a concept that is characterised by complexity and further confounded by broader socio-linguistic factors such as the role of the listener and the existence of multiple variations of languages (Kachru, 1985; Lindemann, 2017; Harding & Mcnamara, 2017) . The outline of a framework for analysing comprehensibility from a micro- to macro-level is presented. Following chapters focus on describing and providing a rationale for this new approach.

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Tavakoli, Parvaneh; Cooke, Sheryl. Introduction. Comprehensibility in Language Testing. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. May 2023. ISBN 9780000000000. Date accessed: 19 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41097. May 2023

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