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Volume 4 Number 3, Autumn 2007, Pages 1-240   


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Developing an Assessment Tool for the Strategic Competence of Japanese EFL Learners

    Keiso Tatsukawa


Developing an Assessment Tool for the Strategic Competence of Japanese EFL Learners
The aims of this exploratory study are to explain the theoretical background to the design of a 'Strategic Competence Test' for EFL learners, the initial stages of the development of the test and an evaluation of its design and potential usefulness through a trial with Japanese high school students. Communicative competence consists of several major sub-competences. One of these, Strategic Competence, used to receive little attention in foreign language classrooms. However, the importance of nurturing this competence in learners has become increasingly recognized by many researchers and practitioners. This paper presents the brief theoretical background to the design of a 'Strategic Competence Test,' based on Celce-Murcia, Dornyei and Thurrell (1995). The test, conducted with 264 Japanese high school students, was designed so that the results would show which specific strategies were familiar to them and also what differences could be seen between higher and lower test score groups. The results of the study give an indication of how a more extensive test might be used in deciding how to promote the learners' knowledge of communication strategies that are important for getting involved in conversations more actively.

Keywords: strategic competence, communication strategies, diagnostic test