Analysing Students’ Performance in Spoken Language Tests Using the Criterion of Accuracy
Testing speaking, as any other skill, must depend on criteria that will help the tester to be accurate in testing. These criteria may include; range, accuracy, fluency, interaction, and coherence, as provided by the Council of Europe (2001) in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) in order to facilitate the process of measuring and to be a base for all the testers. Although, testing student’s performances in spoken language is still one of the difficult and essential missions for the teachers of ESL to assess their students. Spoken language test differs from the kinds of tests for two reasons; first, it is more difficult in design, administer and mark, second, it does not easily fit the conventional assumptions about people and testing. Spoken language testing is likely to be more complex than written language testing because, as Brown and Yule (1983) state: "spoken language often has incomplete sentences, non-specific words, and may contain relatively little information in any given chunk of language". In practice, the success of a spoken language test depends the ability of the tester to create the right topic, context and questions. In such a case, the students will feel relaxed and confident and the activity will succeed. This study assures on the principle of division and its importance in making the test objective not subjective. Dividing the test criteria and the main six levels into more subdivisions will make the tester more objective and give him more freedom and accuracy in giving the suitable marks for each student. In order to achieve acceptable results, the study tests eight undergraduate students, preparing a real conversation between each two to discuss a topic suitable for their level. This study shows practically the means and procedures by which testers can implement reliable spoken test. The results shows that a test can be successful if a tester; 1) has a good command of the language, 2) is familiar with the principles and criteria of language testing, 3) prepare all the requirements of the spoken test.