CAL Presentation

Formative Speaking Assessment in Adult English Language Classrooms

March 25, 2021 2:00 – 5:00pm

Presented at: TESOL 2021 International Convention & English Language Expo
March 24 – 27, 2021


This session covers key concepts in formative speaking assessment with a focus on how educators can integrate assessment into instruction. Using sample assessments and scenarios, and drawing from the National Reporting System (NRS) Levels for adult education, presenters will discuss principles for practical and effective language assessment.


This hands-on assessment session covers key concepts in formative, classroom-based speaking assessment with a focus on how educators can integrate assessment into daily instruction. The session covers both principles and practical strategies to improve students’ language proficiency and language development in speaking. The session focuses on practices relevant to adult English language programs in U.S. contexts and supports programs in understanding and adapting to requirements following the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (2014). 

The workshop will be highly interactive and model best instructional practices for working with diverse groups of students. First, educators will get hands-on experience working with the new National Reporting System (NRS) Levels for adult education, which are used in U.S. contexts for adult English language programs. Participants will consider different performance levels, and learn about how these standards align with classroom-based speaking assessment practices. Through the use of scenarios and sample assessment tools, participants will discuss ways to link the new standards to meaningful classroom applications that are rooted in best practices for assessing spoken language. Presenters will also provide guiding principles for assessing speaking in classroom contexts and discuss challenges such as developing rubrics, implementing scoring, and providing meaningful feedback to students. Discussion time will focus on how participants can apply these takeaways in formative assessments in their own classrooms.