Zahra Shirinzadeh Aghdam and Ali Akbar Farahani
Payam-e-noor University, Tehran, Iran. And University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
This research investigates whether there is a strong correlation between the speaking abilities of Iranian learners of English and their general proficiency as reported in placement tests (Proficiency of English Test). Thirty intermediate learners from three English conversation classes at an English language Institute in Tabriz participated in the study. A standardized 300 D test of Nelson English Test was used to determine their overall English language proficiency. In addition, an oral interview was conducted to test their speaking ability. The scoring criteria for assessing the oral interview were pronunciation, vocabulary, and fluency. The results obtained were used as indicators of learners’ English proficiency levels and their oral abilities. A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was used to determine the strength of the correlation between the accuracy rates drawn from the Nelson Test and those from the oral interview. The finding indicated that there was a statistically significant correlation between the two types of testing indicating that learners’ general proficiency shown in the Nelson placement test could be easily achieved by evaluating their speaking ability.