Assessing English speaking ability in interviews

<b> Forum for the discussion of assessment and testing of ESL/EFL students </b>

Moderators: Dimitris, maneki neko2, Lorikeet, Enrico Palazzo, superpeach, cecil2, Mr. Kalgukshi2

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:26 pm

Assessing English speaking ability in interviews

Post by Cannibal_Clown » Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:38 pm

I am the sole foreign teacher at my school and have been given the responsibility of testing conversational speaking ability of an applicant by writing up some questions. It's a new experience for me as this will form the basis of the official interview results when determining a new teacher swho is set to start in two weeks.

The only guidelines I have been issued is that I have about 3 to 5 minutes for each applicant, and that I will no local English speaking teacher to confer with.

Can anyone here offer some pointers of good general questions to ask an application whose first language is not English?

Thanks for your assistance.

Sally Olsen
Posts: 1322
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

Post by Sally Olsen » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:58 pm

I had to do this as well. Amazing what your school asks you to do when you are the only foreigner available.

I just talked to the applicants and decided who I would like to work with for the year. I didn't judge them on their English skills at all. I asked them how they got into teaching (several just were doing it on the way to something else and really didn't want to be there) and what they would do if a child misbehaved You pretty well know in the first 10 seconds if you are going to get along with them.

I figured that working with me during the year would improve their English and they could sit on my lessons during their free periods and the opposite so we could help each other. I learned as much from her as I hope she did from me.

Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:24 pm
Location: Korea

Assessment Blues

Post by percussive » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:57 pm

I have, by the seat of my pants, done some of this assessment stuff. But, i'm on this page of this forum to find some new ways to approach this problem.

I haven't found any standardized test. But, what do is draw from my experience teaching different levels. I try to form questions around verb tenses and vocabulary appropriate for certain levels.

For example, I would not a beginner, "If you won a million dollars, what would you do?" This is too advanced for a beginner.

But, I might ask them, "Where do you live?" This requires an answer in the simple present and most beginners should be able to give a good answer.

So, start with the easiest questions and then make the interview progressively more difficult.

This approach takes some time, but once you have the formula you won't have to change it.

Good Luck and let me know if this helps,

Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:32 pm
Location: Canada


Post by creativemark » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:19 pm

Hi Percussive,
this makes me think of assessing the ability of students once you enter a class that is not your own. I think that is a good strategy to start with simpler questions and move to more complex ones. In that way, you won't discourage students by asking a question that is too difficult to answer.

I volunteered at one school where once a month students could try to move up to the next level. At the beginning of the month there would be a folder in my classes mailbox showing those who passed and those who passed but with a sort of "probation".

I've read and am starting to see that there can be a lot of "lateral" growth in a certain level. This might include more vocabulary learned which can be applied to the same grammatical structure.

I guess because of this lateral development and how some are not fully proficient in a certain area they are being tested on, there can be a variety of levels of students within one class.


Post Reply