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Assessing Speaking: How to reduce some of the challenges of evaluating your learners

Assessing Speaking: How to reduce some of the challenges of evaluating your learners

Most formal English language tests and examinations include a component that focuses on spoken language. The aim of this assessment is to determine a learner's level of spoken competence. The results of these tests are similar to snapshots frozen in time, and they provide learners with useful feedback and some kind of evidence of ability. At the same time, there is another kind of evaluation of learners' speaking that is carried out regularly by teachers on English language programmes. Their aim is to determine the kind of progress their learners are making with their oral language and to provide them with feedback for future learning. This is typically known as a Learning Oriented Assessment (LOA) approach to evaluating students' speaking.

This webinar will outline some of the differences between formal and classroom-based assessment of speaking. It will then look at what aspects of spoken language teachers can evaluate and focus on an LOA approach. It aims to provide practical suggestions that can make the assessment of speaking easier for both the learner and the teacher.

Craig Thaine

Craig Thaine

Craig Thaine has been involved in ELT for 30 years. He is Cambridge DTEFLA qualified and also has an MA (Hons.) in Applied Linguistics. He has worked as a teacher and teacher trainer in many different countries. He is currently Director of Teacher Training at Languages International, Auckland and is a Cambridge ESOL Teaching Awards assessor for both the CELTA and Delta schemes.


He has extensive experience developing and teaching English language courses to adult learners, including ESP and EAP courses. Craig is co-author of Empower, the general English adult course.


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