One of the core aims of the EALTA Speaking SIG is to share professional expertise in the testing and assessment of speaking. In the three years since the Speaking SIG was launched, we have prepared and conducted a survey on how speaking is assessed in Europe and also what teachers and assessors would like to learn about speaking assessment. Preliminary results from this survey were presented at the 2016 SIG meeting in Valencia. The same SIG meeting also hosted a discussion of the speaking construct. This year, we focus on the construct of fluency and offer a 3-hour workshop presented by Nivja de Jong:
Fluency in second language assessment
Aspects of second language (L2) fluency, such as speech rate and pausing, are assumed to be indicative of L2 oral proficiency and are therefore used for the purpose of L2 assessment. This workshop will discuss how and to what extent aspects of fluency may indeed be related to proficiency. We will then evaluate the usefulness of objective measures of fluency for L2 assessment and compare these to language test rubrics on fluency. Finally, the workshop will give practical guidelines on how to measure fluency in spontaneous speech objectively, in particular by using the software PRAAT (www.fon.hum.uva.nl/praat/).
Nivja de Jong is Associate Professor in Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. She has published extensively on fluency and how it might be measured.
Some relevant publications include:
Jong, N.H. de (2016). Fluency in second language assessment, In Tsagari, D. and Banerjee, J. (Eds.). Handbook of Second Language Assessment (pp. 203-218). Boston/Berlin, USA/Germany: De Gruyter Mouton.
Jong N.H. de, Groenhout R., Schoonen R. & Hulstijn J.H. (2015), Second language fluency: Speaking style or proficiency? Correcting measures of second language fluency for first language behavior, Applied Psycholinguistics 36(2): 223-243.