Lompat ke konten Lompat ke sidebar Lompat ke footer

Diskusi 4 Assessment in Language Teaching : Overcoming Obstacles in Assessing Students' Speaking Skills

Diskusi 4 Assessment in Language Teaching

Please share your experience on the obstacles you find when assessing students' speaking skill and on how to overcome the obstacles? 


Speaking is categorized as a productive skill (Fachrurazzy & Tresnadewi, 2019). One of the most crucial aspects of language testing is speaking assessment. However, it is a very challenging skill to evaluate at all levels past the fundamental ones of imitation and repetition (Heaton, 1988). 

Assessing students’ speaking skills is one of the challenges. Aspects of speaking considered as part of his assessment include grammar, pronunciation, fluency, content, structure, and vocabulary. (Kitao & Kitao, 1996). 

The focus in designing speaking assessments is often on assignments. If criteria are developed separately long after the task is completed, such as they are often, there is a danger of incompatibility, leading to a loss of information about performance quality (Grove and Brown in Luoma, 2004). Heaton in Fachrurazzy & Tresnadewi (2019) mentions some difficulties in assessing speaking as follows:

  • Speaking assessment must demonstrate the candidate's oral proficiency and requires a subjective assessment, requiring an examiner with a high level of English proficiency and oral assessment skills.
  • It is difficult to determine the standard of pronunciation, to overcome this, we use communicative effectiveness as the criterion.
  • The success of communication does not depend only on the speaker but also on the listener. 
  • Speaking is interrelated with listening.
  • Speaking assessment takes time for the administration and may not be practical.
  • The process of speaking assessment takes a longer time compared to an objective written test.
  • Assessing speaking involves elicitation technique.

From my own personal experience, I found some barriers when assessing students' speaking skills. Are as follows:

  • Lack of mastery of students' vocabulary. It can affect the students' speaking ability. This is caused by the lack of students' interest in learning new vocabulary. And to overcome this, I usually use an image or video media so that students are able to remember and get a lot of new vocabulary through the appropriate and relevant choice of media.
  • Lack of self-confidence of students and feeling hesitant. So, they are less brave and even not confident when asked to speak in English, and this is an inhibiting factor. To overcome this, I will ask them to role-play. This method plays a role in overcoming worries so that students tend to enjoy the role. As stated by Underhill in Fachrurrazy & Tresnadewi (2019), one of the activities as techniques to elicit the examinee's language performance is Role Play. Such as conversation in certain situations for example a consumer buys cosmetics from a seller.
  • The next obstacle is the limited time in assessing speaking skills. In this assessment, the time required is very long unlike other skill assessments. So, to overcome this obstacle, I had to spend extra time on the assessment.


Fachrurrazy and Tresnadewi, Sintha. 2019. Buku Materi Pokok MPBI 5201/ 3SKS/ Modul 1-9: Assessment in Language Teaching. Tangerang Selatan, Banten: Universitas Terbuka.

Heaton, J. B. (1988). Writing English language tests. Longman.

Kitao, S. K., & Kitao, K. (1996). Testing speaking (Report No.TM025215). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED398261)

Luoma, Sari. (2004). Assessing speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.