Levels of tests of Russian as a foreign language in terms of school age characteristics

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Abstract


The current paper discusses possibilities for school students to successfully pass TORFL-I/B1, TORFL-II/B2 and TORFL-III/C1. The relevance of this article is determined by the fact that despite Russian as a foreign (second) language has been taught within the framework of the TORFL system for more than two decades, there is a shortage of methodological material aimed at preparing school students for TORFL. In addition, the issue of choosing the level of testing in accordance with the level of Russian language proficiency and taking into account age specifics is not sufficiently covered in Russian academic literature. The aim of this paper is to define age reference marks for school students who plan to pass TORFL. The materials to review and analyse were the works of Russian and foreign researchers in the field of foreign (second) language proficiency, language development of children and adolescents, assessment of school students’ communicative competence, language assessment, and correlation of these data with the requirements for completing tasks of the TORFL-I/B1, TORFL-II/B2, TORFL-III/C1 “Writing” subtests selected as an example. The paper has resulted in providing recommendations on the choice of examination level for senior and junior school students, within the framework of TORFL-I/B1, TORFL-II/B2, TORFL-III/C1, which can also be used in the development of training courses in Russian as a foreign language for schools. The authors concluded that there is need to develop a new methodological area in testing of Russian as a foreign language system capable to provide guidelines and recommendations for preparing school students for examinations, and designing TORFL training courses and teaching materials according to the school students’ age.


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Table 1. Percentage of 12–17 year old TORFL candidates at the Language Testing Centre of Saint Petersburg State University from 2017 to 2020

Level

2017

2018

2019

2020

ELT/A1

13,50%

17,30%

8,40%

24,30%

BLT/A2

13,70%

13,10%

16,90%

14,20%

TORFL-I/B1

6,30%

7,90%

10,50%

10,10%

TORFL-II/B2

3,40%

3,40%

4,90%

9,90%

TORFL-III/C1

5%

4,20%

7,70%

5,70%

TORFL-IV/C2

3,80%

3,20%

3,10%

4,30%

 

Table 2. TORFL-II/B2 and TORFL-III/C1, aged-based recommendations

Age

Levels recommended

From 11–12 years

TORFL-I/B1

From 15–16 years

TORFL-II/B2

From 17–18 years

(provided that necessary competencies are developed)

TORFL-III/C1

 

About the authors

Nadezhda A. Dubinina

Saint Petersburg State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: dnadine@yandex.ru
11/2 Leitenanta Shmidta Naberezhnaya, Saint Petersburg, 119034, Russian Federation

Russian language testing specialist of the Language Testing Centre

Dmitrii V. Ptiushkin

Saint Petersburg State University

Email: d.ptyushkin@spbu.ru
11/2 Leitenanta Shmidta Naberezhnaya, Saint Petersburg, 119034, Russian Federation

Director of the Language Testing Centre

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