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Overview

Test takers receive a score (Benchmark Level) for each section of the test. The Reading and Listening items are scored automatically by the computer. The Writing and Speaking items are scored by Avant’s Valid-certified raters who use a Scoring Rubric (a scoring tool that lists the criteria for meeting Benchmark Levels). The rubric outlines in detail what expectations are placed upon the test takers for performance at any given level. Test takers who hope to score at a specific level know the characteristics of the work they must produce to achieve that level.

Benchmark Scale

Scoring is done using Benchmark Levels, which are grouped by major levels (Novice, Intermediate and Advanced). Within each major level are three sub-levels that are aligned to ACTFL's low, mid, and high designations. The Benchmark Levels are 1-9 for Reading and Listening and 1-8 for Writing and Speaking.

This Benchmark Scale aligns to the ACTFL scale as shown below.

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Reading and Listening Benchmarks

Each Reading and Listening test item has an associated level. Because the Reading and Listening sections are computer-adaptive, the test taker experiences questions at various levels. The algorithm used to determine the test taker’s scores for Reading and Listening looks at the number of questions that were answered correctly at each test item level.

The chart below shows topics typically associated with the Benchmark Levels for Reading and Listening test items. It also shows the Reading and Listening characteristics associated with the levels.

Keep in mind that topic is not the only criteria for determining the level for STAMP 4S test items. A Novice-level test taker is likely to know learned phrases and basic vocabulary about topics that may be listed under Intermediate or Advanced.

Also, test items may have elements of multiple topics. For example, a Novice-level question about Calendar/Time might reference Holidays/Celebrations. The topics may be used as a guide for instruction, but are not a complete scope and sequence.

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The Avant STAMP 4S Scoring Process for Writing and Speaking Items

Scoring for the Avant STAMP 4S Writing and Speaking responses is done using the following three-step process and associated rubric.

STEP 1

Overall evaluation of the response to assess for Ratability — is the response on topic and appropriate for the given prompt/ task? If the response is off topic, contains any profanity or includes any menacing or threatening language, the response will be treated as unresponsive or non-ratable and the test taker will receive a “NR” score for that task.

STEP 2

Evaluation of each ratable response to determine a Benchmark Level based upon the Text-Type characteristics, followed by rating of Language Control factors (see below).

STEP 3

The system will then post ratings for each response, which are used to calculate the final score for the domain.


Note: 20% of all test taker scores are rated by a second rater to assist in tracking rater accuracy and reliability.

The same rubric is used for all Speaking and Writing items. Once rated, the average ratings across all Speaking and Writing items will appear on the summary report page and scores for each sample will appear on the detailed score page.


 

The Avant STAMP 4S Scoring Rubric

Level Text Type Functions/Complexity Vocabulary Accuracy/Comprehensibility
Level 1

Novice-Low
Words

Shows ability to produce individual words that could be related to the prompt.
Use of isolated words that deal with the prompt/task, shows inability to connect words in order to create meaning. Limited vocabulary which deals with the prompt or situation. Errors in spelling, word order, word choice and usage limit communication. Language produced can only be understood by the reader /listener with great effort by someone accustomed to a language learner
Level 2

Novice-Mid
Phrases

Shows ability to create simple meaning by grammatically connecting words. Specifically, some basic subjects and verbs or verbs and objects, but may be inconsistent at doing this.
Single, isolated connections to verbs. May be inconsistent at connecting words grammatically or have errors throughout. However, the errors must not prevent understanding of what is being said. Typically limited in their vocabulary to Novice level topics that they experience in every-day life or that they have recently learned. Errors in grammar, word order and word choice are prevalent and limit communication. Language produced is understood with difficulty by someone accustomed to a language learner.
Level 3

Novice-High
Simple Sentences

Shows ability to create simple sentences with very basic grammatical control.
Shows the ability to use very simple structures and functions of the language that have just been learned or studied. Extensive use of formulaic sentences, phrases and memorized sayings. Generally, sentences that are created use basic vocabulary words with limited ability to elaborate. Errors in grammar, usage, word order, and word choice sometimes limit communication. Language produced is mostly understood by someone accustomed to a language learner with some effort.
Level 4

Intermediate-Low
Strings of Sentences

Shows ability to create simple sentences with some added detail. Simple sentences with different forms of added detail are generally produced with no connections or links to each other.
Shows the ability to produce simple sentences that are enhanced by the use of prepositional phrases, adverbs, etc. Independent sentences (ideas) can be moved around without affecting the overall meaning of the response. Vocabulary is beginning to expand beyond the most frequent words and the ability to elaborate is more evident in the language produced. Drawn from daily life. Errors in usage, grammar, word order, and word choice continue to be common, but generally do not hinder communication. Language produced is understood by someone accustomed to a language learner with little effort.
Level 5

Intermediate-Mid
Connected Sentences

Shows ability to create enough language to address a majority of the prompt or situation, showing groupings of ideas. Thoughts are loosely connected and generally cannot be moved around without affecting meaning.
Shows the ability to create enough language that shows the beginning of connectedness. Shows ability to create several sentences with complexity and may use some transition words. Connectedness begins to emerge as they create ‘groupings of sentences.’ Learners begin to transfer previously learned skills and language to new structures /functions. Vocabulary use is expanding, and language used is more than just the usual, high frequency or most commonly used vocabulary. May begin to use circumlocution haltingly due to limited vocabulary. Shows ability to use more than just simple present tense, however errors occur when trying to use other tenses. New skills, such as creating more complex sentence structures or using other tenses, will generate some errors. Language produced is easily understood by someone accustomed to a language learner.
Level 6

Intermediate-High
Pre-Paragraph

Language Language has a more natural flow due to the increased accuracy of complex structures that are well constructed. Sentences and ideas are connected with multiple, varied connectors, transitions and other linking strategies.
Shows the ability to use different time frames and just beginning to develop the ability to switch most time frames (present, past and future) with increased accuracy. Complexity and variety of sentence types and structures is increasing, helping move response to a more natural and smooth flow. Use of transition words and concepts with more ease is evident in language production. Circumlocution is used more effectively. Ability to create new language on less common topics is evident At this level, good control of the language and confidence is evident with an increasing range of topics. There are still occasional errors in language production, but errors do not hinder ability to communicate. Language produced is generally understood by someone accustomed and those unaccustomed to a language learner.
Level 7

Advanced-Low
Paragraph/Advanced Language

Response contains a number of complexities (structures and vocabulary) with paragraph length description addressing different aspects of the prompt.
Shows the ability to create a smooth and natural flow by using a variety of added details, complex grammar and descriptive language. Shows ability to switch time frames naturally with a high degree of accuracy. Ability to use a wide variety of sentence structures, patterns and tenses is evident in communications. Use of advanced vocabulary (less frequent and specialized), advanced structures and/or terms evident. Able to address a wide variety of ‘less common’ topics. Advanced language used throughout the response. Majority of language is error-free, creating a smooth and natural flow. However, there may still be occasional errors, but without pattern or causing any breakdown in communication. Language produced is easily understood by those unaccustomed to language learners.
Level 8

Advanced-Mid
Extended Paragraph and Language

Response contains a significant number of complexities with higher degree of accuracy interwoven with syntactic density, which one might expect to see at the Advanced level. Natural flow throughout the response is evident with clear cohesive language.
Shows the ability to create sophisticated language with in-depth description and narration interwoven throughout. Syntactic density is evident as well. Ability to switch time frames is natural and generally without error. Complex structures and grammar are used to create linguistic diversity in the language. Use of advanced, abstract vocabulary or advanced terms across a wide variety of less common topics is evident. Use of idiomatic and culture specific language is used to add depth of meaning to the language. Language is almost entirely error free, creating a smooth and natural flow. Any errors in the language are not easily identified and do not occur in any patterned way. Language produced is native-speaker-like and understood by those unaccustomed to language learners.

Updated October 2019

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