MICASE Applications in Teaching and Testing
Most of our early work with MICASE consisted of various kinds of “forays” into the database, as we searched for both significant findings, and for ways of effectively investigating them. Since then, many of our own researchers and visiting scholars have continued to make good use of the corpus (see their work under MICASE Kibbitzers and Publications and Presentations).
However, MICASE quickly became an important resource in the areas of EAP Teaching and Language Testing. The Teaching and Testing units here at the English Language Institute continue to make use of the wealth of information provided by the MICASE corpus. Its applications in these fields are highlighted below.
The testing division, the major sponsor of MICASE, has been using the corpus as a resource for test development and validation. Word frequency information based on MICASE has been useful in the development of new items for the listening section of the Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE). A preliminary analysis of listening test response data found that items containing MICASE phraseology worked particularly well in discriminating high scoring examinees (presumably more proficient users of English) from low scoring examinees (presumably less proficient users of English).
Item specifications for the development of listening items are currently being modified so that range (the variety and number of speech events a lexical item occurs in) can be added to frequency. Members of the Corpus Linguistics team have compiled frequency word lists and key word lists of spoken academic American English for ELI Testing and consult with assessment specialists in the re-design of ELI tests on a regular basis. MICASE researchers also collaborate with ELI testing experts on the compilation of the AEE Corpus, a collection of written testtaker samples from the Academic English Evaluation. Finally, in addition to using text analysis programs for frequency data, descriptive statistics and concordancing, the MICASE sound files provide information about speech rate and prosodic aspects of spoken English in academic settings, the target language use domain.
Data collected for MICASE has been used in numerous instructional materials projects. Elizabeth Axelson, ELI Lecturer, used MICASE transcripts and sound files to develop training materials for ITAs (International Teaching Assistants), focusing on linguistic aspects of interactive teaching. The materials developed by Axelson, along with other discipline-specific instructional materials for ITA training, are available on the Discourse within the Disciplines web pages.
Susan Reinhart, also a lecturer at the ELI, too has incorporated MICASE data in her textbook on Giving Academic Presentations (U-M Press, 2002) and, more recently, in a book she co-auhored with Chris Feak and Teresa Rohlck on Academic Interactions: Communicating on Campus (U-M Press, 2009). Also, ELI lecturer Julia Salehzadeh used MICASE data in her textbook Academic Listening Strategies (U-M Press, 2005). We have made some of our in-house teaching materials based on MICASE available in our section ESL/EAP Teaching Materials.
The history, purpose, and ideas behind the MICASE project.
Learn how to use all the features of MICASE Online, our searchable database.
Order the transcripts, sound files, and handbook.
Lessons and activities for the classroom using real MICASE dialogue.
Interactive lessons that build vocabulary, improve pronunciation using authentic sound clips, and provide great listening comprehension activities.
Access a large portion of the MICASE sound files for free.
The surprising findings of these research projects give us insight into the language of academia.
Explanation of tags, colors, punctuation, and other mark-ups used in our transcripts.
Our how-to use MICASE information complied into one downloadable document.
How is MICASE being used by applied linguists?
A list of publications, presentations and teaching materials using MICASE (1999-present).