Practical tools, activities, and resources
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Assessment - Communication

Components of Communication

People eating togetherCommunication refers to how clearly the examinee communicates meaning; that is, to what extent the response is comprehensible. Many aspects of language, such as pronunciation, intonation, and word choice, play roles in making what one says more or less understandable to others. Poor control over any of these areas can severely impede comprehensibility and, therefore, communication.

When measuring a speaker’s communication skills, it is important to consider questions such as: How clearly can the student express himself or herself? Does the listener have to guess at what the speaker is trying to say? Does the speaker’s word choice or sentence structure make it difficult for the listener to understand? Does the speaker’s pronunciation of key words make it difficult for the listener to understand?

Video Examples

The videos below feature students demonstrating different levels of comprehensibility. As you watch the videos, keep in mind the questions described above and consider each speaker’s effectiveness in communicating meaning.

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Video Clip 7:
Preparing for weather emergencies

This clip features a student who struggles to get her meaning across.

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Video Clip 8:
Going to the doctor

This clip features a student who successfully communicates his meaning.

Note: These video clips were filmed during live administrations of the BEST Plus oral English language proficiency assessment and are used with permission of the examinees and test administrators.

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