A Rationale for Using a Scenario-Based Assessment to Measure Competency-Based, Situated Second and Foreign Language Proficiency

Purpura, James Enos

In an effort to provide a theoretical rationale for the use of scenario-based assessment to measure competency-based, situated second and foreign (S/FL) proficiency, this paper traces conceptualizations of S/FL proficiency since the 1960s along with the major approaches to measuring these conceptualizations. The distinguishing characteristic of this evolution is that, as the construct broadened, the more complex the assessment methods became and the greater the potential for meaningful interpretation. This paper argues that while language-based, independent and integrated skill-based, and task-based approaches to S/FL proficiency assessment can be useful in certain assessment contexts, they are not engineered to measure S/FL proficiency in contexts of situated language use – that is, where goal-oriented task accomplishment is located within a sociocultural context, and where the ability to achieve complex tasks is embedded within the mediated engagements and social practices of a particular community. For this reason, some researchers have turned to scenario-based assessment (SBA). This paper describes how SBA has been used in the mainstream and S/FL assessment contexts, highlighting the affordances of this approach. Finally, the paper illustrates how a learning-oriented approach to assessment (LOA) (Purpura & Turner, 2018) can serve as a comprehensive conceptual assessment framework for engineering and validating SBAs.


  • thumnail for 0_Purpura (2021)_Rationale for SBA.pdf 0_Purpura (2021)_Rationale for SBA.pdf application/pdf 1.09 MB Download File

More About This Work