Assessing Speaking: Putting the Pieces Together

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The ability to speak a foreign language is without doubt the most prized language skill, and rightly so.... Robert Lado (Language Testing, 1961, p. 239) Assessing Speaking: Putting the Pieces Together
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The ability to speak a foreign language is without doubt the most prized language skill, and rightly so.... Robert Lado (Language Testing, 1961, p. 239) Assessing Speaking: Putting the Pieces Together Glenn Fulcher Outline of the Webinar Yet, testing the ability to speak a foreign language is perhaps the least developed and the least practiced in the language testing field Background Concepts Information Decisions Planning Quality Why assess speaking? A little bit of history What are we assessing? Defining the constructs How can we elicit evidence? Tasks types How can we assess speaking? Rubrics and scales Designing assessments Creating specifications Using assessments Raters, Interlocutors, and feedback Why assess speaking? A little bit of history The situation prior to WWII: Army Beta Kaulfers, W. (1944). War-time developments in modern language achievement tests. Modern Language Journal 70(4), The urgency of the world situation does not permit of erudite theorizing in English about the grammatical structure of the language for two years before attempting to converse of to understand telephone conversations The nature of the individual test items should be such as to provide specific, recognizable evidence of the examinee s readiness to perform in a life-situation, where lack of ability to understand and speak extemporaneously might be a serious handicap to safety and comfort, or to the effective execution of military responsibilities. ASTP (Agard & Dunkel, 1948: The FSI ( ) ILR (1968) ACTFL & the OPI (1987) cf. Assessing speaking in the United Kingdom Yesterday and today Continuity: Linking language production to real-world contexts Valuing communication over knowledge about the language Achieving communicative goals effectively Performing work related tasks safely Placing individuals in appropriate training or jobs Acquiring competence in educational contexts Giving learners a sense of achievement Motivating further learning Providing useful feedback on learning Producing competent individuals for the nation Poll Time What is the main reason for you to assess speaking in your own context? (a) Focus on communication in the classroom (b) Prepare learners for the world of work (c) Prepare learners to operate in an educational environment (d) Motivate learners (e) Other (Let us know on the discussion board) What are we assessing? Defining the constructs or what does it mean to speak? ACCURACY Language Competence Pronunciation Stress Intonation Syntax Vocabulary Cohesion What are we assessing? Defining the constructs or what does it mean to speak? FLUENCY Hesitation Repetition False starts Self-correction Re-selecting lexical items Restructuring sentences What are we assessing? Defining the constructs or what does it mean to speak? COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES Overgeneralization Paraphrase Word coinage Restructuring Cooperative strategies Code switching Non-linguistic strategies vs. Formal avoidance Functional avoidance Achievement Strategies Avoidance Strategies What are we assessing? Defining the constructs or what does it mean to speak? DISCOURSE COMPETENCE Scripts Adjacency pairs Turn taking Openings and closings INTERACTIONAL COMPETENCE Managing co-constructed speech TASK COMPLETION Is the outcome successful? What are we assessing? Defining the constructs or what does it mean to speak? PRAGMATIC & SOCIOLINGUISTIC COMPETENCE Appropriateness Implicature (speech acts) Establishing identity (being through words) Situational sensitivity Topical knowledge Cultural knowledge Honorifics Poll Time What do you think is the most important aspect of speaking to assess in your own context? (a) Accuracy (b) Fluency (c) Strategies (d) Discourse and Interactional Competence (e) Pragmatics How can we elicit evidence? Task Types (Fulcher, 2003, p. 57) Task Orientation Open (outcomes dependent upon speakers) Guided (by instructions) Closed (outcomes dictated by input or instructions) Interactional Relationship Non-interactional (monologue) One-way Two-way Multi-way How can we elicit evidence? Task Types (Fulcher, 2003, p. 57) Goal Orientation None Convergent Divergent Interlocutor Status and Familiarity No interlocutor Higher status Lower status Same status Degree of familiarity Topic(s) Situations Poll Time Which of the four task types would you prefer to use? (a) Reading aloud (b) Talking with the teacher (c) Pictures (d) Simulation After voting you may wish to say why in the chat box. Where Do We Store Speech? The ephemeral nature of speaking Let it pass Score in real time No going back Audio Web Portfolio Podcasting Options for Pedagogy Integrated Projects News/Magazines Content & Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Video Web Portfolio Vodcasting Rating Performance Evaluating the Quality of Language Using Rating Scales MEASUREMENT DRIVEN APPROACHES Expert judgment Experiential Scaling can do statements DATA DRIVEN APPROACHES Data-based scales EBB scales Performance Decision Trees Poll Time Which rating scale do you think might be most useful in your context? (a) ACTFL (b) CEFR (c) EBB (d) Data-Based (e) PDT Designing Speaking Assessments Creating Test Specifications Identifying Purpose for Assessment Defining the Learners Describing Reasons for Communicating Identifying Constructs/Intended Outcomes Setting Up a Design Team Teachers and Other Stakeholders Assessment Advisors Administrators Designing Specs and Tasks Iteratively Writing and Prototyping Tasks Developing Scoring Systems Administrative Guidelines Timing, Resources, Equipment Using Assessments Consistency between judges Consistency within judges Convergence or Divergence? Raters Accommodations Scaffolding (teacher talk) Behavior Mannerisms Interlocutors Audience Purpose Response Time Opportunities to Learn Feedback Poll Time Is convergence or divergence more important in making qualitative judgments?? (a) Convergence (b) Divergence Glenn Fulcher For More on Language Testing Visit
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