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Examining Second Language Reading: A Critical Review of the Singapore Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary-Level Chinese Language Examination

Cheong, Yun-Yee; (2018) Examining Second Language Reading: A Critical Review of the Singapore Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary-Level Chinese Language Examination. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This mixed methods study critically reviews how the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary-Level Chinese Language Examination (GCE 1162) examines second language reading. The main research question asks, ‘To what degree have the intended measurement objectives of the GCE 1162 reading examination been achieved?’ Four sub research questions address issues of specifications and administration, test-taker characteristics, cognitive parameters and contextual parameters. Resources drawn on include Singapore Ministry of Education and Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board documents, specifically, examination information booklets, syllabuses, committee reports and annual reviews. Subject matter experts were appointed to analyse the reading comprehension passages and test items from 22 sets of GCE 1162 reading examination papers from 2006 to 2016. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 22 stakeholders involved in coordination, test design, item construction, marking and reviewing. The interviewees included members of an elite policy group with privileged access to test specifications and procedures. Further interviews were carried out with secondary school Chinese language teachers and students, whose perspectives are seldom considered in validation processes. Opinions were also sought from experts in the field of Chinese as a second language, reading and assessment. The study begins with an account of the concepts of validity and reading constructs. Chapter 2 discusses the Singapore education and examination system, foregrounding the history of Chinese language education and the bilingual policy introduced in 1966. A methodology chapter follows. Chapters 4 to 8 address separately each of the four sub research questions in which claims, assumptions, supporting evidence and rebuttals are presented. The final chapter, Chapter 9, addresses a posteriori inferences, including scoring, criterion-related components, and washback and impact. A cautious conclusion is drawn, namely that the measurement quality of the GCE 1162 reading examination is at a moderately unsatisfactory level.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Examining Second Language Reading: A Critical Review of the Singapore Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary-Level Chinese Language Examination
Event: UCL
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2018. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062218
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