Teaching towards a Comprehensibility Goal

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 a teaching perspective to the discussion of comprehensibility. Highlighting the importance of teaching the concept to L2 teachers, it will raise some key questions about the extent to which L2 teaching curricula focus on comprehensibility, or whether comprehensibility is actually taught and practiced in L2 classrooms. Analysing some national curricula for English language teaching, we will examine the focus on comprehensibility in these documents and strengthen our arguments by research in this area. We will provide some examples of what L2 teachers can do to highlight the role of comprehensibility.

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Tavakoli, Parvaneh; Cooke, Sheryl. Teaching towards a Comprehensibility Goal. Comprehensibility in Language Testing. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. May 2023. ISBN 9780000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=41103. Date accessed: 28 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41103. May 2023

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