Sunday, August 23, 2009

Speaking Placement Test

Notes to the teacher on using the speaking placement test:

The following sets of questions and discussion points provide a guide to assessing a student’s speaking level and to choosing the most appropriate In Company course book for their studies. They are designed to be asked by the teacher during a conversation with the student and reflect the structures and vocabulary students will meet in each of the In Company books. As you work through the questions, the questions become increasingly more difficult for the student and require a higher level of English to give a fluent and accurate response.

It isn’t necessary to ask a student ALL the questions. Begin with some basic questions from the Elementary section such as How are you today? What do you do? If the student gives a confident response, move straight on to questions in the Pre-intermediate section. Eventually you will find questions or topics that a student finds too difficult to respond to. At this point, move back down to a level where the student is comfortable talking again. The point at which the student starts to struggle indicates the level of course book which will provide a challenge to the learner. If on the other hand you feel the student wants a period for revision before attempting a higher level, you might choose the level of book which matches the questions and topics where the student seems most relaxed.

Finally, remember that these questions only provide a guide. Feel free to add some of your own supplementary questions, let the student divert into a topic that interests him/her or encourage the student to ask you questions too. The test should resemble a conversation between equals – not an interrogation! You are strongly advised to use this speaking placement test alongside the other In Company Placement Tests in order to ensure an accurate assessment and to choose the right In Company book.

Speaking Placement Test
Business and work
·    Do you work for…? (name of company)    What do you do?
·    What time do you start / finish work?
·    How often do you use English in your job? Can you write e-mails in English? Can you telephone in English?
·    Have you got a boss? What’s his/her name? What does he/she do?
·    When did you join this company?
·    What are you working on at the moment?
Social and travel
·    Hello. How are you today?
·    What’s your name?
·    Can you spell it for me?
·    Are you from…? (name of country)
·    What do you do in your free time? Do you like any sports?
·    What do you normally do at the weekend? What are you doing this weekend?

Business and work
·    How long have you worked for your company?    Where did you work before this?
·    What sort of company do you work for? What are its main activities?
·    Tell me about a colleague…
·    What does he/she do? Has he worked at the company longer than you?
·    What does your job involve?   If someone applied for your job, what qualities would they need?
·    Do you think your job will change in the future?

Social and travel
·    Are you married? Where did you meet your husband/wife?
·    How much holiday do you get a year?    Do you travel for your job?    Where have you visited?   What do you think of…? (name of country visited)   
·    Did you like the food there?
·    What kind of food did you eat?     What’s a typical dish in your country? What’s it made of/served with?

Business and work
·    If you started again, would you have done a different job?
·    What’s the hardest thing about your job? What do you like about it?
·    Who are your main competitors? What are the key differences between them and you?
·    What do you think makes a good boss?
·    What kind of decisions do you make at work?   Which are the hardest decisions?
·    What kind of meetings do you attend?      How do you prepare? What makes an effective meeting?
Social and travel
·    Do you eat out much? Do you take visitors? How important is entertaining visitors in your work? What kind of things do you talk about?
·    When you go on business trips which airline do you normally fly with?   Tell me about a recent trip…
·    Was it successful? Why? Why not?     What was the hotel/flight like?
·    Do you find travel stressful? How do cope with stress?  How do you relax at the end of a day?

Upper Intermediate
Business and work
·  Does your company have a logo? What does it say about your company? How do you think your customers describe your company?
Social and travel
·  How easy is it to combine your work with your family?
·  When you’re out with colleagues, are there any topics you avoid?
·  Have you seen any good films recently? What happened?
·  What recent news story made you angry recently? Why?

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