By Jennifer Wallace - Anhui University of Technology, China
This exam was for first year/freshmen college diploma and university degree course students (all English majors). In other words this is the first oral exam they've ever had. This pretty simple test was successful in that the poorest were able to respond appropriately, albeit in one word responses, and asking me almost one word questions, while the higher level students you could barely shut up! I recorded the exams, and did the marking afterwards. I've given my marking scale at the end of all this.
This follows the format used for the speaking test in the first level of Cambridge (UCLES) EFL examination: Key English Test (KET). It uses a very fixed script: this means every student gets the same - no extra help, no forgetting things, etc.
Each student is allowed between 5 and 8 minutes.
The examiner interviews the student: the student responds to questions, including one extended response. Functions covered: giving factual information about yourself, explaining and giving reasons, talking about past experiences
The examiner gives a topic for the student to ask questions about (which uses verbal prompts). The examiner answers the questions, as a genuine interlocutor. Functions covered: requesting information (This may include information on: likes / dislikes, habits, factual information)
What’s your full name?
How do you spell that?
What’s today’s date?
What time is it? (I HAVE A CLOCK IN THE ROOM)
Where are you from in Anhui?
Did you go to middle school there? (Where did you go to middle school?)
At school, what subjects (ONE OF:) did you like best, were you good at, were the most difficult, didn‘t you like?
Any 3 of these questions:
What do you usually do at the weekends?
What did you do last weekend?
What are you going to do this weekend?
What do you do in your free time?
Why do you like ...?
How often do you play / listen / watch ... ?
Have you been to any other towns / places in China?
(Which towns have you visited?)
What did you think of ....... ?
(Did you like ... ?) (What did you / didn’t you like?)
1 of these topics:
Tell me something about your family.
Tell me something about (name of home town).
Tell me something about your hobbies.
I’m going to give you a card.
Ask me some questions about ....
Use the words on the card to help you.
Ask me 4 questions.
I’ll answer your questions.
Do you understand - shall I repeat that?
What? How often? When? Expensive?
What? How often? When? Expensive?
Like? What type? Favourite? When ... listen?
What? Play? Watch? When?
That’s the end of your examination. - Thank you very much.
Grade A (100 - 90)
Deals effectively with all tasks. Able to communicate effectively. Interacts in an appropriate manner throughout. Meaning is conveyed despite limitations in linguistic resources and there is an adequate range of vocabulary and paraphrase strategies to deliver the intended message. Speech can generally be understood with ease. There are hesitations and attempts at long turns may lack coherence, but not such as to strain the listener.
Grade B (89 - 80)
Some of the features of A and some of the features of C.
Grade C (79 - 70)
Adequate achievement of tasks. Able to communicate appropriately most, but not all, of the time. Generally interacts in an appropriate manner. Breakdowns occur in communication resulting from inadequacies in the use of linguistic resources and paraphrase strategies. Speech is sometimes difficult to understand. Long hesitations sometimes demand undue patience of the listener. Utterances are often halting and disconnected with turns sometimes left undeveloped.
Grade D (69 - 60)
Some of the features of C and some of the features of E.
Grade E (59 and below)
Non-achievement of most tasks. Generally unable to communicate appropriately. Often interacts in an inappropriate manner. Gross inadequacies in the use of linguistic resources means message is often destroyed. Speech is often unintelligible. Utterances are often abandoned.