Evaluating Speaking Skills

Evaluating speaking skills - TESOL markingGiving students a mark for their oral work is one of the hardest jobs a teacher needs to fulfill. Listening for content as well as the delivery of the language is a challenge in and of itself. Add having to evaluate these aspects of a students’ speech and the task becomes even harder. This article will give you some recommendations for evaluating your students’ speaking skills. A sample rubric is included at the end of the article for you to use.

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What to Focus On? – Evaluating Speaking Skills

Evaluating students’ speaking skills is difficult because there are so many things to pay attention to at the same time. One possible solution for this is to concentrate on one or two aspects at a time. For example, for a particular speaking task the teacher can focus on marking content and word stress; while for the next, the teacher can focus on intonation and linking sounds correctly.

Record Speech and Listen – Evaluating Speaking Skills

Another solution is to record students’ speeches and listen to them more than once in order to focus on more aspects of their work. However, it is recommendable to focus on one or two aspects every time a teacher listens to the speech in order to be able to provide reliable feedback with examples.

Rubrics – Evaluating Speaking Skills

If the above suggestions are not possible because they can be very time consuming, or because the means are not available, using rubrics can make evaluating speaking skills a more attainable task. Rubrics should be created based on the expectations for each assignment or task and teachers can adjust them to the needs of their class or the regulations put forward by their school or ministry of education.

As long as the teacher is familiar with the rubric and its contents, he/she can listen to the presentation and pay attention to it while placing quick checkmarks in the correct areas as the student performs. Later, the mark or grade can be calculated as an average or based on whichever proportion is assigned to the different areas.

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