Testing Speaking Ability in the Classroom: the Semi-direct Alternative


  • Jerry W. Larson

    1. Brigham Young University
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      Jerry W. Larson (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Brigham Young University; Provo, UT


ABSTRACT Although a significant amount of research has been done to improve testing techniques and scoring procedures for oral proficiency testing, only limited discussion has focused on ways to improve oral achievement tests. In the following discussion, the author describes an alternative to direct, face-to-face oral achievement testing. The technique, semi-direct testing, provides a way for classroom teachers to assess the oral ability of individual students without the commitment of class time involved in direct testing. Additional advantages of semi-direct tests are also mentioned. A study was conducted to compare achievement scores of semi-direct and direct tests of German and Spanish. An affect questionnaire was also given to each of the students to determine student attitudes toward the two testing procedures. Results of the study are presented.