Peer and Self-evaluation in Spoken Tests: Tools and MethodsAlec McAulay
tokyomcaulay [at] yahoo.co.jp
Yokohama National University (Yokohama, Japan)
BackgroundI developed and used this method of peer- and self-evaluation for speaking classes in Japanese universities. I have used it in topic-based classes and adapted it to suit a number of textbooks. The benefits of this system of evaluation include:
- Students become aware of the importance of a range of communication features, such as eye contact, body language and gestures.
- It provides practice in a test format they may encounter in commercial exams, such as the STEP test and IELTS.
- It allows students to review recently acquired language.
- Students can discuss how they need to improve without feeling threatened.
The test format and assessment handout can be adapted to suit different contexts. Below, I outline how I have implemented the test in my classes.
Instructions for the TestStudents work in groups of three; an Interviewer, Interviewee and Marker. The Interviewee is the one taking the test. She or he has to answer three questions related to the three topics studied in previous classes. (In most classes, I prepare the question cards myself. However, I have recently had students prepare the test questions as homework). For example, if Class 1 was on the topic 'Mobile Phones', Class 2 covered 'Driving', and Class 3 considered 'Surrogate Mothers', one of the three test question cards for Class 4 might look like this:
Test 1Each student's interview test lasts ten minutes. The Interviewer reads the questions, the Interviewee answers them, and the Marker observes. The following instructions, written on the board for the first test, explain their roles in the test:
1. Do you own a mobile phone?
2. Is driving dangerous in your country?
3. Should surrogate mothers be allowed to make a profit?
- Interviewee: It is your test. The Interviewer will ask you questions – try to speak as much as possible. The Interviewer will help you.
- Interviewer: Ask the questions on the card. Ask follow-up questions. Speak slowly and clearly. Help the Interviewee to speak for the whole ten minutes.
- Marker: Listen to and observe the Interviewee. At the end of the test, give feedback on the strong points and weak points of the Interviewee's performance. Together with the Interviewee, decide on a numerical grade for today's test.
Additional Comments:Usually I give a class test after three 90-minute sessions. However, recently I have had students make their own questions and carry out this kind of test at the end of each lesson. My feeling is that it elicits more spoken language and motivates students more than group discussion.
You might want to note that it is possible to replace the 'comments' section at the bottom of the page with the guidelines for each role in the test. This would save having to write the guidelines on the board each time.
This assessment form is available at http://iteslj.org/Lessons/McAulay-PeerEvaluation/spokentestform.gif.
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 9, September 2002