Today's language teacher emphasizes, among other things, the development of students' oral skills. Therefore, many teachers are seeking or innovating ways to test the speaking skill while (1) overcoming perennial problems such as the lack of time and the subjectivity of grading, and (2) finding effective ways of making achievement testing more proficiency oriented. The author presents a practical oral testing model which she researched, developed, implemented, disseminated, piloted, and refined in a variety of middle school, secondary, and university settings in Texas over the past six years.

The author presents an outline of the principal considerations involved in establishing an oral testing program and covers a range of options under each heading. Major concerns discussed include: fitting speaking tests into the syllabus and course grade, linking teaching and testing approaches (with sample formats), testing interactive and individual performance, new versus old material, and impromptu versus prepared performance. Also covered are: sample size, scoring at various levels (with sample scales), partnering procedures, the role of tapes, scheduling, planning (with sample guide), and predicted outcomes.