Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Applied Linguistics and Technology
Studies of interaction in speaking assessment have highlighted problems regarding
the unequal distribution of interaction patterns in interviews versus paired formats (Van Lier,
1989; Young & He, 1998). These studies, however, only looked at verbal interaction
features, and no attempts in these studies were made to investigate both verbal and nonverbal
interaction features elicited in interviews versus paired formats. Therefore, the purpose of
this dissertation is to examine the effects of task types on the elicitation of interaction
features in speaking assessment. The study has three aims: investigate which interaction
features raters noticed when evaluating interaction in the individual and paired discussion
task; investigate if these different tasks elicited similar or different interaction features; and
examine the extent to which these features contributed to variance in interactional
competence scores across task types. To achieve these goals, an individual scripted interview
and a paired discussion task are analyzed using a mixed-methods approach.
A qualitative analysis of 32 verbal reports from four raters judging test takers’
interactional competence showed that raters attended to five nonverbal and 14 verbal
interaction features in both tasks. An interaction ability scale was developed based on those
features. Two raters evaluated 68 test-taker performances both analytically using the scale
and holistically using an interactional competence scale. The analytic scores were used to
conduct an exploratory factor analysis which revealed four factors: body language, topic
management, interactional management, and interactive listening. Logistic regression
analyses showed that while the individual task elicited more topic management features, the
paired discussion task elicited more interactional management features. Then, the holistic and
analytic scores were analyzed using simple regressions, which showed that body language
and topic management features predicted interactional competence scores in the individual
task, whereas body language, topic management, interactional management, and interactive
listening features were predictors of scores in the paired discussion task.
The findings suggest that both nonverbal and verbal interaction features are important
in the interactional competence construct. The paired format provides test takers with more
opportunities to demonstrate their interactional ability. The study also suggests the
importance of rater training in evaluating interactional competence.
Vo, Sonca, "Effects of task types on interactional competence in oral communication assessment" (2019). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 17345.