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At the end of one term the oral test administration takes place with three classes of 60 students on average. The test administration for one class is allotted half a day and each class is usually divided into two groups of about 30 students in two separate rooms. The time for test performance of each student is about 4 to 5 minutes, hence. During test administration every 5 students are called into to draw lots for test questions or tasks to make a preparation for 5 to 10 minutes. Then each student presents his/her preparation in front of two assessors. The two assessors often raise some questions related or perhaps unrelated to the student’s presentation. Sometimes the assessors do not ask any questions. The student’s final score is taken from the average of marks given by the two assessors. Meanwhile, the other students waiting for their turn are standing along the corridor and talking, that is to say a supportive testing environment is not maintained.

Last but not least, after all the students finish their performance, test results are analysed to grade the students. However, the teachers are not provided with and are not allowed to keep the list of students’ test scores. The oral test results at this institution are not thus used to either evaluate the effectiveness of the instructional programs or modify the teaching methods and materials.

TNU oral test development described above can be reviewed by means of the checklist (Table 4.1 on page 39), specially designed with the purpose of highlighting the strong and weak points of the current practices. The answer ‘Yes’ is ticked ‘’ and ‘No’ is crossed ‘×’.

1. Test Design Stage
Are the purposes of oral tests explicitly identified?
Which kind(s) do the oral tests include? Selection PlacementDiagnosisAchievement
Is a set of the TLU tasks presented? ×
Is there an official document including detailed instructions on students’ language proficiency levels? ×
Is there an official document including detailed instructions on construct or language ability to be measured? ×
Are there any criteria set for evaluating test quality? ×
2. Test Operationalization Stage
Are there any official guidelines on the number of test tasks to be included in a particular speaking test? ×
Are the specifications of each test task provided? ×
3. Test Administration
Are the assessors informed of how to mark the test tasks before the test is administered? ×
Is the testing environment well prepared? ×
Is a supportive test taking environment maintained? ×
Are the instructions for each test task made clear to the students?
Are the test tasks in use attached with any limitation of knowledge? ×
4. Use of Test ResultsIs the information from test results used for
...grading the students?
...evaluation of the effectiveness of instructional programmes? ×
...the teachers’ modification of teaching methods and materials? ×

Table 4.1: A checklist for Oral Test Development

Table 4.1 partially speaks for TNU current oral testing practices with many ‘×s’, which reveals impropriety in the speaking test development at this institution and undoubtedly indicates a big gap between practice and theory.

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Source:  OpenStax, Collection. OpenStax CNX. Dec 22, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11259/1.7
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