Assessment and Evaluation
The effective implementation of SWPE requires a scientific and rigorous assessment system. Renmin University of China—Test for Writing Proficiency in English (TWPE for short) is designed to test students’ level of writing proficiency at the completion of the two writing courses, namely, English Writing I and English Writing II. To ensure test quality, TWPE specifies the objectives, content, items,formats, time, test takers, score conversion and release with the principles of scientific planning and strict implementation. Academic English Writing will adopt forms of formative assessment and course papers to examine students’ academic writing proficiency.
Efforts are also made in the TWPE to include the overall assessment of linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence, pragmatic competence, and culturalawareness.
6.1 Overview and Purposes
The TWPE is a large-scale standardized test of language proficiency designed,developed, and implemented by the School of Foreign Languages, Renmin University of China. Under the guidance of “College English Teaching Guidelines” by China’s Ministry of Education and the “Common European Framework of References for Languages,” it is a criterion-referenced test in correspondence with the principles of the SWPE.
The purposes of the TWPE are to check whether students have attained the writing proficiency designated in the SWPE, and to provide an effective diagnosis of students’ writing performances, and offer suggestions on how to improve student learning. In addition, the TWPE may also be used as an indirect test of the quality of the college English writing teaching and whether the students have reached the writing proficiency defined in the “College English Teaching Guidelines” and the SWPE.
6.2 Forms and Tasks
TWPE is a computer-based test, including “Writing Task I” and “Writing Task II” with a weight of 40% and 60%, respectively. Specific information is shown in Table 6.1.
In Table 6.1, Task refers to Writing Task I or Writing Task II; Form refers to CBT (computer-based test) or PBT (paper-based test); Weight refers to the percentage of the section in the total score; Task Type refers to the specific writing task types in
each section; Prompt refers to writing on a given topic or writing on given materials;Output refers to the number of words required, Time Allocation refers to the time given for each section.
6.3 Task Descriptions
(1) Writing Task I
Writing Task I examines narrative, descriptive, expository and practical writing skills, including the skills in organization, content, and language. Candidates will complete one of the required types of writing on a topic randomly selected by the
computer. Candidates need to write at least 120 words in about 20 minutes. The score of this section comprises 40% of the total score.
(2) Writing Task II
Writing Task II examines argumentative writing skills. Candidates need to write an augmentative essay. The instructions give information about an opinion, argument or problem. In different cases, candidates may be asked to provide solutions to some
questions, arguments or evidence for a point of view, contrast or comparison of different views, or comments or counterarguments on a certain viewpoint. They should write at least 200 words in about 40 minutes. The score of this section comprises 60% of the total score. The aim of Writing Task II is to examine whether the candidates can provide clear evidence, use relevant examples, and draw a logic conclusion on a given topic.
6.4 Candidates and Test Arrangement
The candidates of the TWPE are the undergraduate students enrolled in College English courses in RUC.
The students who are enrolled in the “College English Excellency Class” should attain Level 5. Those enrolled in “College English Grade 4 Class” should attain Level 4, and those in “College English Grade 3” should attain Level 3.
The TWPE is given at the end of the second or third semester following their registration. Students of all levels will participate in the test and those who fail to pass the test may participate in the next round of test at the same level.
6.5 Score Conversion and Report
The score of the test is given by the computer or human raters with a 100-score scale, and then converted into the SWPE levels in alignment with levels of CEFR according to the conversion system shown in Table 6.2.
Students with a total score between 95-100 are Level 6 in SWPE and Level C2 in CEFR; those score between 85-94 are Level 5 in SWPE and Level C1 in CEFR;those between 75-84 are Level 4 in SWPE and Level B2 in CEFR; those between 60-74 are Level 3 in SWPE and Level B1 in CEFR; those between 30-59 are Level 2 in SWPE and Level A2 in CEFR; and those between 0-29 are Level 1 in SWPE and Level A1 in CEFR.
The final score will be determined by a weighted calculation of the scores from the two sections and reported as the final score. The score in a 100 scale that each student gets will be input in the system for course credits. Level 3 or above is Pass Level, with 1 credit registered into the total credits of college English courses. SWPE levels (Level 1 to 6) and CEFR levels (Level A1 to C2) will be reported to students in the certificate. The certificate consists of personal information, the SWPE levels in Chinese and English, the corresponding CEFR levels, and descriptions of each proficiency level.