Assessing Listening

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Elvis Wagner


Over the past two decades, there has been a great deal of attention devoted to the teaching, learning, and testing of second language (L2) listening ability. This increased attention is due (at least in part) to the realization of the importance of listening in language learning (Rubin, 1994). For first language learners, virtually all linguistic input is through the aural mode. While the linguistic input for second language learners is usually not entirely aural, the importance of listening in learning a second language cannot be understated. While there has been an increased research focus on L2 listening, there is still much work that needs to be done. As the editors of the Cambridge Language Assessment Series (Charles Alderson and Lyle Bachman) state in the preface, “The assessment of listening abilities is one of the least understood, least developed and yet one of the most important areas of language testing and assessment” (p. x). Gary Buck has been on the vanguard of this wave of listening research, and this book is an important contribution to our knowledge base.

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