The SOPI procedure emulates the OPI as closely as is practical in a tape-recorded format (Kuo & Jiang, 1997; Stansfield, 1990).
A SOPI may be administered to a group in a language lab or individually using two tape recorders.
As with performance on the OPI, performance on the SOPI is rated using the ACTFL Guidelines.
the precise topics covered, which are often brought up by the examinee), there are several features of the SOPI that are fixed for each candidate.
In a recent study of lower proficiency German students, 90% received the same rating on the SOPI and the OPI (Kenyon & Tschirner, 2000).
Other technologically mediated modifications to the OPI have also been developed which are similar to the SOPI.
Compared to the tape-mediated SOPI, the computer makes it possible to give examinees more control over several aspects of the test.
1990) indicates that examinees sometimes feel nervous taking the SOPI, often due to a sense of lack of control over the timed aspects of the testing situation.
In addition to potential improvements over the SOPI in terms of examinee affective variables, the COPI offers distinct advantages in eliciting examinee performances and in facilitating the rating process.
Another innovation in the COPI gives examinees substantial control over how much time they use in planning and responding to tasks, in contrast to the SOPI, where planning and response times are fixed.
A final issue has to do with the extent to which examinee ratings on the COPI will be reliable as well as comparable to ratings on either the SOPI or the OPI.
Although a handful of tasks in any one language have been developed by CAL for the purposes of the SOPIs, it is questionable whether sufficient numbers of tasks of differing difficulties and featuring different topics are currently available.