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The criteria for a speaking test often involves being able to give and seek personal views and opinions in informal and formal situations, confidence in dealing with unpredictable elements in conversations, expressing ideas clearly and effectively with a high degree of fluency and appropriateness. If they do not meet this requirement, students will be measures on giving and justifying opinions when discussing matters of personal and topical interests, effective interaction in discussion, adaptation of language to deal with some unprepared situations
Active participation in discussion, but when discussion concerns complex and unfamiliar area, there are problems to follow the discussion and implement tasks
In testing for fluency, it assesses student's fluent mastery of the language, very few long pauses, general meaning clear, very few interruptions necessary
Clear and effective communication, a few unnatural pauses, few interruptions usually necessary but intention is clear
2 Ability to make themselves understood in conversation, using the language to meet most of the needs for information and explanation, some interruptions necessary, longer pauses to search for word or meaning
Basic communication, short conversations, seeking and conveying information in simple terms, unnaturally long pauses
In the test for accuracy in LANGUAGE USE (Grammar), students should be able to produce accurate mastery of grammar, minor mistakes, precision in well-structure language to gain the highest score. To be considered good, they ought to be able to produce a high degree of accuracy, a few grammatical errors but most sentences correct. Generally good usage of grammar, a few grammatical errors but only 1 or 2 causing confusion…
In testing the language use in terms of vocabulary pronunciation, intonation, students have to show proper use of vocabulary, with not much searching for words, consistently accurate pronunciation, possibility to vary intonation
At the beginner's level, students will have minimal ability to communicate. Activities like pair work where students perform gap filling exercise or an interview… At the intermediate, students are tested on their ability to initiate, close and sustain basic communication tasks, whereas at the advanced level, the students are expected to be able to use language effectively in both formal and informal conversations on social, professional, abstract and practical topics.
One commonly used speaking test is The Monologue Speaking Test. It is a presentation where students are asked to perform some tasks such as show and tell where they talk about anything they choose. This gives students a chance to
to make a small presentation. The second type is Dialogue Speaking Test which is also known also as the interview. It is an open-ended test where the students lead a discussion with the teacher, and students in that kind of test are required to use conversation skills that they have learned throughout the course. The third type is Multi-logue Speaking Test also known as having a discussion or debate. Students are put into groups where they then decide on a topic they feel would be of interest for the class.
The evaluation criteria used in that study can be broken into components such as presentations, where students are tested on the content used and language. For interviews, students are tested on their comprehensibility, punctuation, fluency and their ability to explain and idea. In the test type of discussion and debate, students must be seen to be able to be part of the conversation to help it flow naturally, uses fillers and additional questions to include others in conversation and transfers skills used in dialogues to group discussions.
Another way of testing speaking is using visual material. Visual materials can be arranged according to the difficulty level of the students. Maps can also be used for dialogues. A common material might be a series of pictures showing a story which the student being tested has to describe. The student doing the test has then to piece a coherent narrative together. Another way could be to put the pictures in a random order of the story to a group of testees. The students shall have to decide on the sequence of the pictures without showing them to one another, and then put them down in the order that they have decided on. They then have the opportunity to reorder the pictures if they feel it is necessary.
Another way of using visual stimulus is by giving two testees similar pictures with slight differences between them, and without seeing each others pictures they describe their own pictures in order to figure out the differences. This is a good way to test lower level language when the level of language learnt is not yet advanced.
Nevertheless, there is a risk in using visual stimulus in testing speaking as the choice of materials used has to be one where it is within the student's ability to interpret the pictures equally well.
Another type of test is The Taped Oral Proficiency Test where the learners' performances are recorded on tapes and then assessed later by the examiner. As this is recorded, it saves the teacher's time as well as the students who have to wait for their turn. Moreover, it proves very practical when it comes to assessing a large group and when there are not enough resources, classrooms or teachers. It serves as a very standardized form of testing, as each student receives similar stimuli and the teachers can assess them at their own time and place.
However, depending on how it is carried out, using the tape can be less personal as the examinee is talking to a machine and not to a person, and this can be very unnatural and inaccurate. Nevertheless, it does reduce pressure on the student not having to meet the tester face to face which can be rather unnerving. Another disadvantage is that it has a low validity. Moreover, the taped test is inflexible; if something goes wrong during the recording, it is virtually impossible to adjust for it. On the other hand, there are some advantages of that type of test.
Nevertheless, students doing a presentation or project may also decide to include recorded materials like a video that they have made into a component of their presentation or skit.