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Theresa Weiler

Former Research Student

Thesis Title

Investigating the construct of Language in Use tasks

Thesis Outline

As the term indicates, in tests of Language in Use emphasis is put on the usage of linguistic structures in context. Generally speaking, Language in Use tasks focus on the candidates’ ability to apply their lexicogrammatical competence. Item types used to test Language in Use are text-based, i.e. the candidates are presented with whole texts rather than isolated sentences. This implies that reading comprehension skills are involved to some extent, and that the text directs the nature of the items.

In my research I am investigating the construct underpinning different item types of Language in Use by using a mixed-methods approach. The data consists of expert judgements (categorization/description of test items), test taker introspections and questionnaire data, and statistical analyses of test performance data.

Supervised By

Dr. Tineke Brunfaut


Recent Conference Presentations:

"Language in Use tasks: what do they assess?", poster presented at the 9th Annual Conference of the European Association for Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA), Innsbruck (Austria), 2012 .

"Using verbal protocols to explore Language in Use tests", paper presented at the 46th Annual IATEFL conference, Glasgow, 2012.

"Qualitative item analysis – Challenges and opportunities in developing and applying a construct grid", paper presented at the 3rdÖGSD Nachwuchstagung (Austrian Association for Language Didactics), Vienna (Austria), 2011.

External Roles

I am a part-time student and am based in Vienna (Austria), where I work for the Federal Institute of Education Research (BIFIE). I work in the team that is responsible for the new standardized CEFR-based school-leaving exam for foreign languages. It is in the context of the Austrian school-leaving exam that I undertake my research.

I also teach testing-related seminars in Austrian universities of teacher education.