As part of our series of Research Notes relevant for teachers preparing learners for Cambridge exams, we look at recent revisions to Key and Preliminary Listening.
A vital aspect of the revisions to the A2 Key and B1 Preliminary Listening exam was reviewing the constructs with reference to the Cambridge English Cognitive Model of Listening Comprehension and the CEFR. Lanes, Séguis and Elliott explain how these frameworks helped the creation of listening exams enhanced for student, teacher and stakeholder purposes.
The use of these frameworks demonstrated that students at A2 and B1 need to focus on local levels of processing meaning but also require the skills to infer general meaning. For this reason the new exams placed greater emphasis on listening for gist.
The main revision for A2 Key was the change of Part 4 from a gap-fill task to a multiple-choice format expanded to include listening for gist. Part 3 was also expanded to include a wider range of listening skills, including the ability to identify feelings and opinions.
Meanwhile, B1 Preliminary now features a three-option multiple-choice task with text options, which allows students to show their understanding without the burden of extra working memory demands that may not be fully developed at this level.
The new tasks were trialled with learners of a range a nationalities and reviewed by a panel of experts. Read Revising the A2 Key and B1 Preliminary Listening exam to find out more about how we on we analyse cognitive difficulty in listening and develop tasks to elicit the right level of processing.