By using Celp-Bras assessment scales, a construct of verbal proficiency in Portuguese for foreign-language speakers is operationalized and measured. The oral Celpe-Bras‘s score model is organized in seven items distributed in two scales through which the assessors - the interviewer and the observer – rate six each of the following items: comprehension, interactional competence, fluency, lexical adequacy, grammatical adequacy, and pronunciation. In order to analyze the dimensions of the scales, evidences to discuss the oral scale’s dimensionality, I perform the exploratory factorial analysis of a set of scores obtained by 1,000 participants who sat for the exam in its first edition in 2016. R2was 0.9617 and the Tucker Lewis Index (TLI) was 0.896. Only one factor explained the variables because the loading values ranged from 0.65 to 0.94. The measure was found unidimensional. According to the communality values, only comprehension was slightly below 0.5, indicating the need for further investigation. The weight values of each item were, in decreasing order: interviewer’s score 0.36, lexical adequacy 0.19, fluency 0.18, grammatical adequacy 0.13, interactional competence 0.09, pronunciation 0.06, and comprehension 0.04. Based on factorial analyses, I discuss a proposal for the composition of the individual scores in the oral test well as the implications of changing the weight of the items in the new proposal to rank participants on a per certification range basis.
Dimensionality; Validity; Assessment of an additional language; Oral proficiency; Factorial analysis