How to Assess Speaking Skills

How to Assess Speaking Skills

How to Assess Speaking Skills

Learning how to teach and assess speaking skills is probably one of the biggest challenges compared to the other three language skills because you have to pay attention to aspects such as:

Fluency:  This means speaking easily, reasonably quickly and without having to stop and pause a lot.

Pronunciation: The act or result of producing the sounds of speech, including articulation, stress, and intonation.

Vocabulary: The body of words used in a particular language.

Accuracy: This refers to how correct learners’ use of the language system is, including their use of grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary.

Interaction:  This refers to the ability to interact with others during communicative tasks.

Communication: This refers to the students’ ability to transmit her/his ideas.

Now that you know the aspects that you have to pay attention to, it is time to cover some of the different types of speaking activities that you can use to evaluate speaking skills.

5 Type of Activities to Assess Speaking Skills

There are five types of activities to assess speaking skills:

  • Intensive Speaking
  • Responsive Speaking
  • Interactive Speaking
  • Extensive Speaking
  • Imitative Speaking

Now we are going to explore a little bit about each one of them

#1 Intensive Speaking

A read aloud Task: Teacher listen to a recording and evaluate the students in a series of phonological factors and fluency.  

Some variations of this  task are:

  • reading a scripted dialogue with someone else
  • reading  sentences containing minimal pairs
  • reading information from a table chart

Sentence/ dialogue completion task: Students read through the dialogue so he can think about proper lines to fill in. The teacher produces one part orally and the students responds

Picture cued Tasks: The picture-cued requires a description from the test taker

#2 Responsive Speaking

Question  and answer: Students respond questions that the test administrator asks

Giving Instructions and Directions: The test-taker is asked to give directions or instructions

Paraphrasing: The test-taker is asked to paraphrase in two or three sentences what he heard or read.

#3 Interactive Speaking

Interview: It is a face-to-face exchange between test administrator and test taker. The  stages of an interview are

  • Warm-up
  • Level Check
  • Probe
  • Wind-down

Role play is a common pedagogical activities used in communicative English classes

Discusssions and Conversations: These two speaking tasks provide a level of authenticity and spontaneity that other assessment techniques may not provide

Games are an informal assessment task but they are not commonly used.

#4 Extensive Speaking

Oral Presentations  are the most common task for evaluating extensive speaking, these are evaluated based on content and delivery.

Picture-cued story telling:  Students describe a story based on series of pictures that they previously saw.

Re-Telling a story, News Event: Students are asked to tell a story of a new of something they heard or read.

#5 Imitative speaking

Imitative speaking tasks are based on repetition. You just need to repeat a sentence you hear.

Examples include directed response tasks, reading aloud, sentence and dialogue completion, limited picture-cued tasks

I hope that you have found these information useful and that you can check other similar resources available in the blog.

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