Tuesday, May 22, 2012

10 Tips for the Speaking Section of a World Language Exam

  1. Determine the order in which students will speak with you in advance, and make a list. Ask for volunteers that would like to go first. Then draw students names at random. Give students their number, and let them know what day they will speak with you.
  2. Give students time to practice the questions with a partner in class.
  3. Practice the questions as a whole class as well so that you can make corrections and help them with their pronunciation. I ask all students to stand up, and then throw a ball around the room to one student at a time. I throw the ball to a student, and ask them one question. They answer the question and throw the ball back to me.
  4. Do the speaking portion of the exam before the day of the final exam. This way you can be in the room, and have all of your attention on students during the exam to monitor them, and answer questions.
  5. Give students a review activity to complete while you speak with their classmates. Check off this assignment for a completion grade to ensure that students will stay on task. You may choose to collect it by the end of the class period. 
  6. Speak with students out of earshot of their classmates. While speaking with students, I leave my door open and put two chairs out in the hall. I call for volunteers first, and then call students based on my list. They normally feel more comfortable speaking with me in the hall.
  7. Grade students on the spot. This will save you time of having to go back and re-listen if you record, or look over your notes later. You do not want to forget what students said. You can give students their speaking score right away if you choose to.
  8. Grade students with a speaking rubric. This will make your grading quick and easy. Show your students the rubric in advance and give them a copy so that they know what they will be graded on.   
  9. You have the option of recording students answers on your computer, on a tablet, or with a smart phone with a voice App. That way if a student or parent disputes their score you can go back and replay the recording for them in order to clear things up. 
  10. Weight the speaking portion of the exam as highly as other portions of the exam. Speaking is one of the most important aspects of learning a foreign language!   

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