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Language Assessment


Title: Language Assessment Author: USER Last modified by: OCIT Created Date: 10/22/2005 7:09:32 AM Document presentation format: Company – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Language Assessment

Language Assessment
  • Chap. 7 Assessing Speaking

Basic Types of Speaking
  • Imitative. It is simply the ability to parrot
    back a word or phrase or a sentence.
  • Intensive. It is the production of short
    stretches of oral language. Examples include
    directed response tasks, reading aloud, sentence
    and dialogue completion, limited picture-cued

Basic Types of Speaking
  • Responsive. The tasks include interaction and
    test comprehension but at the limited level of
    short conversations, standard greetings, small
    talk, requests, and comments.
  • Interactive. The length and complexity of the
    interaction are more in interactive tasks than in
    responsive ones. The task sometimes includes
    multiple exchanges and/or multiple participants.

Basic Types of Speaking
  • Extensive. (monologue) The tasks include
    speeches, oral presentations, and story-telling.
    Oral interaction from listeners is either highly
    limited or ruled out altogether.

Assessment Tasks Imitative Speaking
  • Word repetition task
  • Test-takers hear
  • beat/bit bat/vat
  • I bought a boat yesterday.
  • The glow of the candle is growing.
  • Test-takers repeat the stimulus.

Scoring scale for repetition tasks
  • 2 acceptable pronunciation.
  • 1 comprehensible, partially correct.
  • 0 silence, seriously incorrect.

Phonepass Test
  • It elicits computer-assisted oral production over
    a telephone. Test-takers read aloud, repeat
    sentences, say words, and answer questions.
  • Part A read aloud selected sentences.
  • Examples Traffic is a huge problem in
  • Southern California.

  • Part B repeat sentences dictated over the phone.
  • Example Leave town on the next train.
  • Part C Answer questions with a single word or a
    short phrase.
  • Example Would you get water from a bottle or a
  • Part D hear three word groups in random order
    and link them in a correctly ordered S. Ex. was
    reading/my mother/a magazine

  • Part E have 30 seconds to talk about their
    opinion about some topic that is dictated over
    the phone. Topics center on family, preferences,
    and choices.
  • Scores are calculated by a computerized scoring
    template and reported back to the test-taker
    within minutes.

Assessment Tasks Intensive Speaking
  • Directed Response Tasks
  • Directed response
  • Tell me he went home.
  • Tell me that you like rock music.
  • Tell me that you arent interested in tennis.
  • Tell him to come to my office at noon.
  • Remind him what time it is.

Test of Spoken English Scoring Scale (Read-Aloud
  • Pronunciation
  • Points
  • 0.00.4 frequent errors and unintelligible.
  • 0.51.4 occasionally unintelligible.
  • 1.52.4 some errors but intelligible.
  • 2.53.0 occasional errors but always
  • intelligible.

  • Fluency
  • Points
  • 0.0 0.4 slow, hesitant, and unintelligible.
  • 0.5 1.4 non-native pauses and flow that
  • interferes with intelligibility.
  • 1.5--2.4 non-native pauses but the flow is
  • intelligible.
  • 2.53.0 smooth and effortless.

Variations on Read-Aloud tasks
  • Reading a scripted dialogue.
  • Reading sentences containing minimal pairs.
    Examples Try not to heat/ hit the pan too much.
  • Reading information from a table or chart.

Read-Aloud Tasks
  • Advantages
  • Comparisons between students are quite simply.
  • Tests are easy to prepare and to administer.
  • Predictable output, practicality, and reliability
    in scoring.

  • Disadvantages
  • It is inauthentic, except in situations such as
    parent reading to a child, sharing a story with
    someone, giving a scripted oral presentation.
  • It is not communicative in real contexts.

Sentence/Dialogue Completion Tasks and Oral
  • First, test-takers are given time to read through
    the dialogue to get its gist, then the
    tape/teacher produces one part orally and the
    test-taker responds.
  • Example (p. 150) short dialogue (p. 151)
  • Advantage more time to anticipate an answer, no
    potential ambiguity created by aural
    misunderstanding (oral interview).

Picture-Cued Tasks
  • A picture-cued stimulus requires a description
    from the test-taker. It may elicit a word, a
    phrase, a story, or incident.
  • Scoring scale for intensive tasks
  • 2 comprehensible acceptable target form
  • 1 comprehensible partially correct
  • 0 silence or seriously incorrect

A Scale for Evaluating Interviews
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension
  • Fluency
  • Pronunciation
  • Task (the objective of the elicited task)
  • Example (p. 158)

  • Translation is a communicative device in contexts
    where English is not a native lang.
  • English can be called on to be interpreted as a
    second language.
  • Conditions may vary from an instant translation
    of a native word, phrase, or sentence to a
    translation of longer texts.
  • Advantages the control of the output easily
    specified scoring.

Responsive Speaking
  • Question and Answer
  • Examples 1. What is this called in English?
  • ( to elicit a predetermined correct response) 2.
    What are the steps governments should take, if
    any, to stem the rate of de-forestation in
    tropical countries? ( given more opportunity to
    produce meaningful language in response)

Questions Eliciting Open-Ended Responses
  • 1. What do you think about the weather
  • today?
  • 2. Why did you choose your academic
  • major?
  • 3. a. Have you ever been to the U. S. before?
  • b. What other countries have you visited?
  • c. Why did you go there? What did you
  • like best about it?

Giving Instructions Directions
  • Examples how to operate an appliance, how to put
    a bookshelf together, or how to create a dish.
  • Scoring based on (1) comprehensibility (2)
  • Specified grammatical/discourse categories.

Eliciting Instructions or Directions
  • Test-takers hear
  • Describe how to make a typical dish
  • Whats a good recipe for making _____?
  • How do you access email on a PC computer?
  • How do I get from ___ to ____ in your city?
  • Test-takers respond.

  • The task should require the test-taker to produce
    at least 5 or 6 sentences.
  • Use familiar topics and test linguistic
  • Paraphrasing
  • Examples paraphrasing a story and
  • paraphrasing a phone message (p. 162)

Considerations of Paraphrasing
  • 1. elicit short stretches of output
  • 2. the criterion being assessed
  • a. Is it a listening task more than
  • production? b. Does it test short-term
  • memory rather than linguistic ability?
  • c. How does the teacher determine
  • scoring of responses?

Test of Spoken English (TSE)
  • TSE is a 20-minute audiotaped test of oral
    language ability within an academic or
    professional environment.
  • TSE scores are used by many North American
    institutions of higher education.
  • The tasks are designed to elicit oral production
    in various discourse categories. (p. 163)
  • Example sample items in TOEFL (p. 164)
  • Scoring a holistic score ranging from 20 to 60
  • (performance, function, appropriateness, and

Interactive Speaking
  • Oral Interview a test administrator and a
    test-taker sit down in a direct face-to-face
    exchange and proceed through a protocol of
    questions and directives.
  • It varies in length from 5 to 45 minutes,
    depending on purpose and context. Placement
    interviews may need only 5 minutes while Oral
    Proficiency Interview (OPI) may require an hour.

A Framework for Oral Proficiency Testing
  • Four stages Warm-up, Level check, Probe, and
  • Warm-up The interviewer directs mutual
    introductions, helps the test-taker become
    comfortable with the situation, apprises the
    format, and reduces anxieties.
  • Level check Through preplanned Qs, the
    test-takers respond using expected forms and
    functions. Linguistic target criteria are scored.

  • Probe In this phase, test-takers go to the
    heights of their ability and extend beyond the
    limits of the interviewers expectation.
  • Through probe questions, the interviewer
    discovers the test-takers proficiency. At the
    lower levels of proficiency, probe items may
    demand a higher range of vocabulary and grammar
    than predicted. At the higher levels, probe items
    will ask the t-t to give an opinion, to recount a
    narrative or to respond to questions.

  • Wind-down the interviewer encourages the
    test-taker to relax with some easy questions,
    sets the t-ts mind at ease, and provides
    information about when and where to obtain the
    results of the interview. This part is not
  • Content specifications (p. 169)
  • Sample questions (p. 169-170)

Sample Questions of an Oral Interview
  • 1. Warm-up
  • How are you?/Whats your name?/What country are
    you from?/Let me tell your about this interview.
  • 2. Level check
  • How long have you been in this city?/tell me
    about your family./What is your major?/How long
    have you been working at your degree?/What are
    your hobbies or interests?/Why do you like your

  • What is your favorite food?/Tell me about your
    exciting experience youve had.
  • 3. Probe
  • What are your goals for learning English in this
    program?/Describe your academic field to me. What
    do you like or dislike about it?/Describe someone
    you greatly respect, and tell me why you respect
    that person./If you were president, prime
    minister of your country, what would you like to
    change about your country?

  • 4. Wind-down
  • Did you feel okay about this interview?/Youll
    get your results from this interview next
    week./Do you have any question to ask?/It was
    interesting to talk with you. Best wishes.

The Success of an Oral Interview
  • Clear administrative procedures (practicality)
  • Focusing the questions and probes on the purpose
    of the assessment (validity)
  • Biased for best performance
  • Creating a consistent, workable scoring system
  • Descriptions of the Oral Proficiency Scoring
    Categories (p. 172-173)

Role Play
  • It is a popular pedagogical activity in
    communicative language-teaching classes.
  • The test administrator must determine the
    assessment objectives of the role play, then
    devise a scoring technique that pinpoints those
  • Examples Pretend that youre a tourist asking
    me for directions, You are buying a necklace
    from me in a flea market, and want a lower

Discussions Conversations
  • As informal techniques to assess learners, D C
    offer a level of authenticity and spontaneity
    that other assessment techniques may not provide.
  • (clarifying, questioning, paraphrasing,
    intonation patterns, body language, eye contact,
    and other sociolinguistic factors)
  • Games
  • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) guidelines (p.

Designing Assessments Extensive Speaking
  • Extensive speaking tasks are frequently
    variations on monologues, usually with minimal
    verbal interaction.
  • Oral Presentations
  • Examples presenting a report, a paper, a
    marketing plan, a sales idea, a design of a new
    product, or a method.

  • Rules for effective assessment (a) specify the
    criterion, (b) set appropriate tasks, (c)
  • Elicit optimal output, and (d) establish
    practical, reliable scoring procedures.
  • Oral presentation checklist
  • 3 excellent 2 good 1 fair 0 poor
  • Content
  • The purpose or objective of the presentation was
  • The introduction was lively and got my attention.
  • The main idea or point was clearly stated toward
    the beginning.

  • The supporting points were clearly expressed and
    supported well by facts and argument.
  • The conclusion restated the main idea or purpose.
  • Delivery
  • The speaker used gestures and body language well.
  • The speaker maintained eye contact with the
  • The speakers language was natural and fluent.
  • The volume of speech was appropriate.

  • The rate of speech was appropriate.
  • The pronunciation was clear and comprehensible.
  • The grammar was correct and didnt prevent
  • Used visual aids, handouts, etc., effectively.
  • Showed enthusiasm and interest.
  • Responded to audience questions well.

Picture-Cued Story-Telling
  • At this level, a picture/a series of pictures is
    used as a stimulus for a longer story or
  • The objective of eliciting narrative discourse
    needs to be clear. (p. 181) (Tell use the P.
  • For example, are you testing for oral vocabulary,
    (girl, telephone, wet) for time relatives
    (before, after, when), for sentence connectors
    (then, so), for past tense of irregular verbs
    (woke, drank, rang), or for fluency in general?
  • Criteria for scoring need to be clear.

Retelling a Story, News Event
  • Test-takers hear /read a story or news event that
    they are asked to retell.
  • It differs from the paraphrasing task discussed
    above in that it is a longer stretch of discourse
    and a different genre.

Translation (of Extended prose)
  • Longer texts are presented for the test-taker to
    read in the native language and then translate
    into English.
  • Texts vary in forms dialogue, directions, play,
    movie, etc.
  • Advantages the control of the content,
    vocabulary, the grammatical and discourse
  • Disadvantages a highly specialized skill is