Developing interviewer proficiency: A self-perception survey

Riin Kont-Kontson, Ene Alas, Suliko Liiv


The article reports the findings of a survey among 440 teachers of English in Estonia who participate in the oral proficiency interview of the national examination in the English language as interviewers. Examining the results of the questionnaire statement by statement, the study reveals that interviewer behavioural patterns emerge during the interview, some of them threatening its validity.The understanding of interviewer competence is very diverse among the interviewers and the degree to which they adhere to the standards defined for the interviewers of national examination in the English langage in Estonia is sometimes quite low. The interviewers are often unable to separate their role as an interviewer from being a teacher; they transfer their teaching behaviour to the interviewing situation. The teachers have difficulties with identification of appropriate accommodation strategies as well as controlling the extent of interaction between the interviewer and the assessor. The authors suggest a number of interviewer training strategies to combat the problems.



validity, reliability, interviewer, interviewer training, oral proficiency interview

Full Text:



Alas, Ene 2010. The English Language National Examination Validity Defined by Its Oral Proficiency Interview Interlocutor Behaviour. Tallinn University Dissertations on Humanities 22. Tallinn: Tallinn University Press.

Brown, Annie 2003. Interviewer variation and the co-construction of speaking proficiency. – Language Testing, 20 (1), 1–25.

Fulcher, Glenn 2003. Testing Second Language Speaking. London: Pearson.

Fulcher, Glenn 2010. Practical Language Testing. London: Hodder Education.

Lazarton, Anne 1996. Interlocutor support in oral proficiency interviews: The case of CASE. – Language Testing, 13 (2), 151–172.

McNamara, Tim; Lumley, Tom 1997. The effect of interlocutor and assessment mode variables in overseas assessment of speaking skills in occupational settings. – Language Testing, 14 (2), 140–156.

Morton, Janne; Wigglesworth, Gillian; Wiliams, Donna 1997. Approaches to the evaluation of the interviewer performance in oral interaction tests. – G. Brindley, G. Wiggleworth (Eds.). Access: Issues in English Language Test Design and Delivery. Sidney: National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research, 175–196.

Ross, Steven; Berwick, Richard 1992. The discourse of accommodation in oral proficiency interviews. – Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 14 (2), 159–176.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2013 Riin Kont-Kontson, Ene Alas, Suliko Liiv

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

ISSN 1736-2563 (print)
ISSN 2228-0677 (online)
DOI 10.5128/ERYa.1736-2563