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know your level in Arabic, a linguistic capsule in the concept of Arabic proficiency
  • Mahmoud elshehawy
Mahmoud elshehawy
University of Alexandria

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Before embarking on the present study, raising its questions, and answering them, I would like to start with an introduction to show the significance of the study and to explain the rationale behind choosing it. Due to the openness in the field of teaching Arabic for non-speakers of Arabic many researchers have joined the field—researchers who have set teaching Arabic according to its skills as their main goal. Accordingly, all those researchers have resorted to educational workbooks that were set according to the standards of CEFRand ACTFL and their requirements because these are the most popular accredited frameworks of teaching languages and learning them. Generally, there is nothing wrong with that, but one feels obliged to point out the fact that these workbooks should be preceded by several steps before using them for teaching and learning purposes. One of these endeavors that fall under the educational process, and upon which the educational process depend as a major constituent of the educational process is the placement test of the foreign learners of Arabic and its requirements with the purpose of placing them in their relevant levels. From this point, learners would be immersed in learning the Arabic language according to their performance and their linguistic capabilities which would manifest in different tests.
Based on that, setting placement tests and authorizing them in educational institutions has become of the utmost importance since it plays a major effective role in determining the performance of a learner and their linguistic competence on the one hand, and it accounts for the backwash that befalls the learner due to the placement test on the other hand. It is noteworthy that this term “backwash” that Arthur Hughes has devised in his book entitled Testing Language Teachers clearly explains the reactions to placement tests, be it positive reactions or negative ones. As a result, including that type of testing in the educational process is undoubtedly valid since it is a requirement that precedes language learning immersion on the one hand, and it would encourage the learner to learn Arabic or repel them away from learning it on the other hand.
In light of that, the research questions arise. One of these questions is: Are placement tests of the Arabic language set according to the standards of competence and performance? If so, how could a learner’s receptive skills of reading and listening be measured since they differ from productive skills of speaking and writing? These two questions have led me to a third major question which is the main goal and the epitome of the present study which is: How can an advanced exam be set, away from any familiar stereotypes, bearing in mind achieving a communicative function with all learners of Arabic who speak different language since communication is a pivotal key of learning a language and teaching it?
In conclusion, this study answers all these questions, and attached to it is a placement test of the Arabic language as a foreign language. On the one hand, the test is set according to the findings of this study, and on the other hand, it is a confirmation of the credibility of the present study away from any unjust theorizing.