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1998) as well as in English as a second language context (Cumming et al. They have three major weaknesses, namely incompleteness (De Remer 1998; Smith 2000), possible alteration in the rating due to simultaneous verbalization and rating (Barkaoui 2011; Lumley 2005) and the difficulty to administer TAPs (Barkaoui 2011; Siddiqui 2016).
One factor that makes this context particularly interesting is that raters are not provided with formal criteria to guide their assessment and this makes it even more likely that variations in the criteria raters use will exist.
Language testers and researchers emphasize the importance of reliability in scoring since scorer reliability is central to test reliability (Hughes 1989; Lumley 2002). 3) believes that “rating discrepancy between raters may cause a very serious impediment to assuring test validation, thereby incurring the mistrust of the language assessment process itself.” Bachman and Alderson (2004), while openly acknowledging the difficulties raters face in assessing essays, consider writing to be one of the most difficult areas of language to assess.
All the raters had at least 10 years of experience as a rater on the aforementioned BISEs.
Their ages ranged from 40 to 52, while nine were male and six female.
Research has shown that, in contexts where essays are assessed by more than one rater, discrepancies often exist among the different raters because they do not apply scoring criteria consistently (Hamp-Lyons 1989; Lee 1998; Vann et al. This study examines this issue in Pakistan, a context where composition writing is a standard feature of English assessment systems at the secondary & post-secondary levels, but where no research has been conducted into the criteria raters use in assessing written work.
The particular focus of this project is a large-scale high-stakes examination conducted by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
Therefore, language testing professionals (e.g., Alderson et al.
1995; Hughes 1989; Weir 2005) suggest constant training of raters and routine double scoring in order to achieve an acceptable level of inter-rater reliability.
Research also supports the view that scorers’ reliability can be improved considerably by training the raters, (Charney 1984; Cho 1999; Douglas 2010; Huot 1990; Weigle 1994) though it cannot completely eliminate the element of subjectivity (Kondo-Brown 2002; Weir 2005; Wiseman 2012).
In order to achieve an acceptable level of reliability, Weigle (2002), among others, has outlined detailed procedures to be followed while scoring ESL compositions.