Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor in TEFL, Department of Translation Studies, Jahrom University

2 Assistant Professor in TEFL, Department of Teaching English as a Foreign Language, University of Hormozgan


Authenticity has always been the concern of test developers in the history of second language assessment. This study was an attempt to investigate the authenticity of the present researchers' innovative idea of “Language Town” as a method for assessing learners’ speaking ability. To this end, a simulated town was designed like a real town in an outdoor space of about 400 square meters. The participants in this study were 31 undergraduate students of Translation Studies at Jahrom University who were taking the 4-credit course of Conversation 2. First, the students’ speaking ability was measured based on the IELTS testing system. Then each student was sent to the Language Town with a few definite missions determined in advance by the teacher; e.g. ordering food in the restaurant, depositing/withdrawing money in a bank, etc. Using IELTS band descriptors, each student’s speaking ability was measured by two raters in both tests. Then the correlation between the two sets of scores obtained from the IELTS test and the one in the Language Town were calculated. Using open-ended questions, a survey was also conducted to extract the students’ attitudes towards the Language Town. The results of the statistical analyses showed a weak correlation (0.36) between the two sets of scores. The survey also revealed that almost all the students were interested in and had positive views towards Language Town as an authentic method of assessment. A Virtual Language Town (VLT) could be a solution to the practicality problems of the Language Town.


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