How do you place adult students according to oral ability?
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The most common method of assessing adult students' oral proficiency in order to place them in appropriate classes is to engage them in a brief oral interview. For non-literate students this approach is particularly valuable. The following questions are appropriate for this interview:
At all times be relaxed and friendly with the students. Make them feel comfortable. Reassure them that this is for placement purposes only and it is not an examination. Repeat the question or statement if necessary. You may clarify a response or even prompt the student to help them feel more at ease. If they give a correct and clear answer in English, give them two points for each item. If they give an unclear, inappropriate answer give them one point. For no answer give them a zero. Add up their points for a total score.
- What is your name?
- Where do you live?
- Are you married?
- Do you have any children?
- Where were you born?
- What day is it today?
- Where do you work?
- What kind of work do you do?
- How long have you lived in this city?
- What do you need the most help in? Speaking, reading, or writing?
- Why do you want to study English?
- What do you like to do for fun?
- Tell me something about you family.
Students with a total score of about 0-10 should probably be placed in a beginning class. Those with scores of about 10-20 should be in an intermediate class and those who score above 20 should be in an advanced class. These scores are only estimates and the examiner must use his judgment in determining the class that could be appropriate for each individual, especially those whose score fall near the breaking points.
A sample oral assessment instrument is located in the Appendix.