Oral Testing of Beginning Language Students at Large Universities: Is It Worth the Trouble?


  • Linda L. Harlow,

    1. The Ohio State University Rosario Caminero, Millersville University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • *

      Linda L. Harlow (Ph.D., Purdue University) is Assistant Professor of French at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

  • Rosario Caminero

    1. Millersville University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 3

      Rosario Caminero (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is Associate Professor of Spanish at Millersville University, Millersville, PA


ABSTRACT  With the current emphasis on developing the communicative competence of our students, most would agree that it is not only desirable but essential that oral skills be tested from beginning levels on. Maintaining a high quality oral testing program is not without difficulties, however, which may be compounded in large universities where beginning level teaching is typically done in large classes by inexperienced graduate students. This article summarizes the findings of a study that examined the place of oral testing in foreign language instructional programs at large institutions today. Problems common to most oral testing programs are described, and suggestions on ways to minimize these problems are proposed.