You are in an English language class. Two students are giving a presentation on their research.
In class, the professor asks you several questions about the presentation.
Q: What was the purpose of the project?
[A] To practice writing to native speakers.
[B] To invite university students to a party.
[C] To learn new useful phrases.
[D] To study use of polite language.
Q: Why did the presenters decide to contact students in separate emails?
[A] To hide the purpose of the research.
[B] To get better answers from the students.
[C] To give the students time to plan events.
[D] To show the professor the first emails.
Focus of the questions
Academic topic and questions related to the situation
Using a presentation format in a university classroom situation, the questions focus on the test taker’s ability to “understand a lecture or talk within his/her own field of study, on subject matter that the test taker is familiar with and that is delivered in a straightforward, clearly structured manner”, equivalent to CEFR Lvel B1. The test taker’s ability to understand the main points and the details of the presentation are measured based on their answers given.
Explanation of the question
The question is designed to measure the test taker’s ability to understand a presentation in an academic setting, using a scenario in which two students give a presentation about the content, research methods and results, etc. of a research project that they have conducted.
I am going to talk about what we did and then Ahmed will tell you about our conclusions. So, we wanted to know about when Americans, that is native speakers of English, use polite language and when they do not. And we decided that getting students to write invitations for different situations would be the best way to find out.
So first we had to decide exactly what we mean by polite language, to be specific, in invitations. For example, using words like “please ” is polite language. Another sign of polite language is using statements like “I hope ” and “I wish ” which is from the text book, page 68 as you will remember.
Now I will describe our method for collecting data. We asked students, only native speakers though, in the dining hall if we could email them our questions and 58 students said yes. So we wanted to have two different situations, one where we thought students would use polite language and one where we thought they would not. So we sent students two emails, one on Monday and then one on Friday so they would not know the purpose of our research. And the first email... it said, “Imagine you want to invite a professor to come to an event. What would you write? ”And then the students sent us their letters that they would send to a professor. Then the second email was the same except we asked them how they would invite a friend to lunch. We collected their responses, their emails.
For Albert Einstein, the year 1905 was a momentous one. In that year, he published what would become four of his most famous works. Yet in 1905, he wasn't teaching physics in a prestigious university or doing research at a famous science institute. He was working full-time as an examiner in a patent office, still almost completely unknown to the general public. However, his desire to learn meant that he had been spending all of his free time studying to get his PhD, obtaining it in April of that year. His hard work and determination to learn paid off in terms of his career when, in 1908, he was able to secure a teaching position at the University of Bern.