Formal summative speaking assessments

What are the essential components to a formal summative speaking assessment?

  • Presentational and interpersonal modes of communication
  • Extemporaneous speaking
  • Teacher as silent observer
  • Useable and understandable feedback
  • A rubric that students and parents easily understand
  • A checklist so students know what is required
speaking assessment
Video can be viewed below

We do our speaking assessments in small groups. While one group of six (plus or minus) students is speaking, the other students are working on their “rough drafts” for the essay they will have to type the next day.

The first student presents a brief monologue on the assigned topic. The next student asks a clarifying question about what was said and the presenter answers. Another student asks a clarifying question and the presenter answers. Then the next student in the rotation starts their monologue. It looks something like this:

examen oral

I observe the speaking group and make notes on what they say. I use a chart: oral assessment charts

And use the notes provided on this slide: (This slide is what I post when I give the sheets back to the students so that they can see what their feedback notes mean)

oral assessmentPDA

When everyone in the group has spoken, I use this rubric to interpret my notes. rubric

I teach the students how to interpret the rubric in advance. If they have performed all of the tasks on the checklist, they score 8/10. In order to score a 9/10 or a 10/10, I need to hear elaboration, variety, and control (these look like pluses on the chart I used while they were speaking). If they cannot complete the checklist, their score is 6/10 or 7/10 (these look like minuses on the chart). *You can have a minus or two that mean you have a lot of mistakes in one area, but you are still completing the tasks and can score an 8. This is according to the interpretation of the teacher.

There are many variations to the tasks. Sometimes, I want students to make comments about the presenter, as well as ask clarifying questions.  Here are some additional tasks/checklists I’ve used:

  • Describe a problem you have, either with your computer or your car.
    • Your classmates will then ask clarifying questions about the problem and offer advice in the form of commands.
  • Offer a natural product for the health and wellness of your classmates. Explain with detail how to use the product and the benefits to using it.
    • Your classmates will ask clarifying questions about the product and doubt the properties you proclaim.
  • Teach your group a skill. Explain in several steps how to perform this skill.
    • Your classmates will ask clarifying questions and make suggestions about using your amazing skill.
  • You’ve just arrived at the clinic after a minor accident. Describe your symptoms to the triage team (your group).
    • Your classmates will ask clarifying questions and tell you what will need to be done to care for you.

Some notes I wanted to add:

  • If you ever use stations or centers in your class, try doing one of these for a lesser grade at one of the stations. The students gain experience this way.
  • Record them for them to be able to reflect. I use a smartphone with an MP3 recorder app. (It’s not even a working phone – no connection needed – just Wifi.) After a presenter has finished, they email the file to themselves. They can reflect by listening and writing what they would have said differently – always encourage them to think of ways they could have elaborated more! It can also be used at the end of the year for them to compare the first assessment with the last.

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