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Assessing Listening

Luke Harding (Lancaster University, UK)


Listening is a vital skill for second language learners to develop, however it is also one of the most challenging to assess in both a conceptual and a practical sense. This workshop is designed to introduce participants to principles of good-practice in the development of listening assessments, and will be of relevance to those who need to develop listening assessments for classroom contexts or in more formal examination settings.

In the first half of the workshop, participants will discuss the following topics:
(1)    Key principles of listening assessment
(2)    Listening abilities to target in a listening assessment
(3)    Selecting or developing input texts  
(4)    Suitable task types for listening test design
(5)    Thorny issues in listening assessment (e.g., speakers’ accents, scoring open-ended items)


In the second half of the workshop, participants will work in small groups to critique and improve a draft listening task and then present their work. This second session will mimic an item moderation session where participants will explain their reasoning and receive feedback from their peers.

Throughout the workshop, participants will be encouraged to share their experiences of assessing listening within their own contexts, however experience with listening assessment will not be necessary to join the workshop.


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Assessing Speaking

Nathan T. Carr (California State University, Fullerton, USA)

Speaking is an essential part of real-life communication, but is frequently omitted from language assessments because of difficulty with planning, administering, or scoring these tasks. This workshop is intended for anyone who is interested in developing the ability to assess language learners’ speaking ability, whether for high-stakes assessments or in-class grading. No experience with developing speaking or other language assessments is assumed.

In the first portion of this workshop, participants will discuss the following topics:

1.    Overview and principles of speaking assessment
2.    Task formats that can be used to assess speaking
3.    Ways of developing speaking tasks
4.    Administering speaking assessments
5.    Adapting and creating rating scales
6.    How to score performances
7.    Basic overview of estimating reliability in speaking assessments

In the second portion of the workshop, participants will work in small groups on the following activities:

1.    Writing the specifications for a speaking assessment
2.    Writing prompts for use in the assessment
3.    Drafting a rating scale for use in the assessment
Participants will be able to share their work with other groups after each activity. Participants are welcome to plan real-life assessments for their language programs, but simulated assessment scenarios will also be available for those participants who wish to use them.


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Workshop Abstracts

Harding Workshop
Carr Workshop
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