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Table 2 SBA assessment criteria for group interaction (GI)

From: ESL students’ oral performance in English language school-based assessment: results of an empirical study

  I. Pronunciation and delivery II. Communication strategies III. Vocabulary and language patterns IV. Ideas and organization
6 Can project the voice appropriately for the context without artificial aids. Can pronounce all sounds/sound clusters and words clearly and accurately. Can speak fluently and naturally, with very little hesitation, while using suitable intonation to enhance communication. Can use appropriate body language to display and encourage interest. Can use a full range of turn-taking strategies to initiate and maintain appropriate interaction, and can draw others into the interaction (e.g., by summarizing for weaker students’ benefit or by redirecting a conversation to a quiet student). Can interact without the use of narrowly formulaic expressions. Can use a wide range of accurate and appropriate vocabulary. Can use varied, appropriate, and highly accurate language patterns; minor slips do not impede communication. Can self-correct effectively. May occasionally glance at notes but is clearly not dependent on them. Can express a wide range of relevant information and ideas without any signs of difficulty and without the use of notes. Can consistently respond effectively to others, sustaining and extending a conversational exchange. Can use the full range of questioning and response levels (see Framework of Guiding Questions) to engage with peers.
5 Can project the voice appropriately for the context without artificial aids. Can pronounce all sounds/sound clusters clearly and almost all words accurately. Can speak fluently using intonation to enhance communication, with only occasional hesitation, giving an overall sense of natural non-native language. Can use appropriate body language to display and encourage interest. Can use a good range of turn-taking strategies to initiate and maintain appropriate interaction and can help draw others into the interaction (e.g., by encouraging contributions, asking for opinions, or by responding to group members’ questions). Can mostly interact without the use of narrowly formulaic expressions. Can use varied and almost always appropriate vocabulary. Can use almost entirely accurate and appropriate language patterns. Can usually self-correct effectively. May occasionally refer to a note card. Can express relevant information and ideas clearly and fluently, perhaps with occasional, unobtrusive, reference to a notecard. Can respond appropriately to others to sustain and extend a conversational exchange. Can use a good variety of questioning and response levels (see Framework of Guiding Questions).
4 Can project the voice mostly satisfactorily without artificial aids. Can pronounce most sounds/sound clusters and all common words clearly and accurately; less common words can be understood although there may be articulation errors (e.g., dropping final consonants). Can speak at a deliberate pace, with some hesitation but using sufficient intonation conventions to convey meaning. Can use some features of appropriate body language encourage to and display interest. Can use a range of appropriate turn-taking strategies to participate in interaction (e.g., by making suggestions in a group discussion), and can sometimes help draw others in (e.g., by asking for their views). Can interact using a mixture of mainly natural language and formulaic expressions. Can use mostly appropriate vocabulary. Can use language patterns that are usually accurate and without errors that impede communication. Can self-correct when concentrating carefully or when asked to do so. May refer to a note card but is not dependent on notes. Can present relevant literal ideas clearly in a well-organized structure, perhaps with occasional reference to a notecard. Can often respond appropriately to others; can sustain and may extend some conversational exchanges However, can do these things less well when attempting to respond to interpretive or critical questions, or when trying to interpret information and present elaborated ideas.
3 Volume may be a problem without artificial aids. Can pronounce all simple sounds clearly but some errors with sound clusters; less common words may be misunderstood unless supported by contextual meaning. Can speak at a careful pace and use sufficient basic intonation conventions to be understood by a familiar and supportive listener; hesitation is present. Can use appropriate body language to display interest in the interaction. Can use appropriate but simple turn-taking strategies to participate in, and occasionally initiate, interaction (e.g., by requesting repetition and clarification or by offering agreement). Can use mainly formulaic expressions as communication strategies. Can use simple vocabulary and language patterns appropriately and with errors that only occasionally impede communication. Can sometimes self-correct simple errors. May suggest a level of proficiency above 3 but has provided too limited a sample, or cannot be scored accurately because of dependence on notes. Can present some relevant ideas sequentially with some links among own ideas and with those presented by others. Can respond to some simple questions and may be able to expand these responses when addressed directly.
2 Volume may be a problem without artificial aids. Can pronounce simple sounds/sound clusters well enough to be understood most of the time; common words can usually be understood within overall context. Can produce familiar stretches of language with sufficiently appropriate pacing and intonation to help listener’s understanding. Can use appropriate body language when especially interested in the group discussion or when prompted to respond by a group member. Can use simple but heavily formulaic expressions to respond to others (e.g., by offering greetings or apologies). Can appropriately use vocabulary drawn from a limited and very familiar range. Can use some very basic language patterns accurately in brief exchanges. Can identify some errors but may be unable to self-correct. Provides a limited language sample or a sample wholly spoken from notes. Can express some simple relevant information and ideas, sometimes successfully, and may expand some responses briefly. Can make some contribution to a conversation when prompted.
1 Volume is likely to be a problem. Can pronounce some simple sounds and common words accurately enough to be understood. Can use appropriate intonation in the most familiar of words and phrases; hesitant speech makes the listener’s task difficult. Can use restricted features of body language when required to respond to peers. Can use only simple and narrowly restricted formulaic expressions and only to respond to others. Can produce a narrow range of simple vocabulary. Can use a narrow range of language patterns in very short and rehearsed utterances. The language sample is too limited for a full assessment of proficiency. Can occasionally produce brief information and ideas relevant to the topic. Can make some brief responses or statements made when prompted.
0 Does not produce any comprehensible English speech. Does not use any interactional strategies. Does not produce any recognizable words or sequences. Does not produce any appropriate, relevant material.