Overview of the Speaking Test

Eligibility
Only those who score B2 level in both the reading and listening tests will be invited to take the speaking test.The speaking test is optional.

Content
There is one speaking test format for all test takers. Each test is divided into three parts.

Task Types and Length
There are many different kinds of speech acts. Some are prepared whereas others are spontaneous; for example, some take the form of a prepared monologue such as a presentation or speech while others are interactive conversations. In addition, speech acts serve different purposes - to convey information, describe events, compare alternatives, discuss an issue, argue a point, hypothesise or speculate about a possible future.

The speaking test targets these different speech acts with a focus on general topics such as: work, education, business, finance, current affairs, health and fitness, social issues, environmental issues, current trends, travel, culture and traditions and diet/nutrition.

 

Task Type

Length of task

Part 1

Question and Answer

3/4 minutes

Part 2

Long Turn

4/5 minutes

Part 3

Open Ended Discussion

4 minutes

 

Link to sample tasks

Part 1: Question and Answer
Test takers are required to enter unprepared into a 3 to 4 minute conversation on familiar topics.
There are two related topics.
Test takers will be asked a minimum of 2 questions on each topic to which they are expected to give short responses.

Part 2: Long Turn
Test takers will be given a task card with 3 prompt questions on a familiar topic.
They are then required to deliver a 3 to 4 minute monologue based on the prompt questions
Before speaking, test takers are given 2 minutes to prepare.

Part 3: Open Ended Discussion
Test takers will be given a task card with one prompt question on a general topic and a supporting picture
They are then required to enter unprepared into a 4 minute discussion with the interlocutor
Test takers are expected to start the discussion by responding to the prompt question.

Criteria of Assessment 
The test taker’s level of proficiency is assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Fluency and coherence(F&C) - ability to maintain flow of speech, connect ideas and stay on topic
  • Range(R) - of both vocabulary and grammatical structures as well as ability to use different functions
  • Accuracy(A) - pronunciation, intonation, grammar and word choice

Link to speaking scale

For example, the test taker is assessed on whether s/he can:

  • Speak at length on the given topic (F&C)
  • Present a clear, well-structured and convincing argument (F&C)
  • Produce an appropriate range of vocabulary, grammatical structures and functions (R)
  • Use vocabulary, grammatical structures and functions accurately (A)
  • Produce relatively clear pronunciation and intonation (A)
  • Vary intonation and place sentence stress correctly in order to express finer shades of meaning (A)

Time
The speaking test takes approximately 15 minutes (including instructions)

Grading and Results
The result will be expressed in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) proficiency scale. The CEFR describes six levels of language proficiency from basic users to independent and proficient users.  The knowledge, competencies and skills of an independent or proficient user are relevant to government officials wishing to undertake practical training or academic courses where English is the medium of instruction. Therefore the DIFA TES focuses on the following three CEFR levels:

  • B1, or Independent User: Intermediate
  • B2, or Independent User: Upper Intermediate
  • C1, or Proficient User: Advanced

Thus each test-taker will receive one of these six possible results:

  • Below B1
  • B1
  • B1+
  • B2
  • B2+
  • C1

Why use the CEFR? The CEFR is an internationally recognised framework of language descriptors that makes it easy to understand what level a test taker is at in terms of their reading, listening, writing and speaking abilities.

You can find out more about the CEFR by following this link:

http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/CADRE1_EN.asp

http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/elp/elp-reg/Source/Key_reference/CEFR_EN.pdf

 

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