Speaking Assessment Strategies used by Libyan EFL University Teachers
Omar, Amel Belqasem Mohammed
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Abstract skill in learning a foreign or second language. Among the four key language skills, speaking is deemed to be the most important skill in learning a foreign or a second language which reaffirms that teaching this particular skill is an essential element in second language teaching, in addition to its assessment. Assessment helps teachers to understand whether or not their students have learned what have been taught. This study therefore, investigates EFL teachers speaking assessment strategies and the challenges they might encounter whenever they assess their students’ oral skills in class. To achieve the goal of this study, both quantitative and qualitative methods were utilized. The quantitative data were represented through administering a questionnaire to investigate teachers’ background knowledge about speaking assessment in general and to what extent they use the speaking assessment strategies in their classes in particular. The researcher selected a random sample that comprised of thirty-five teachers from different colleges in Zawia University. The data obtained from the questionnaire were analysed by SPSS software. On the other hand, in order to gain in-depth data about teachers’ challenges, semi-structured interviews with five teachers were conducted as a qualitative data instrument. The qualitative data were analysed by employing Thematic Analysis Method. The findings obtained revealed that most of the teachers do consider accuracy, fluency, communicative skills, considered time, reliability, validity, vocabulary, pronunciation and the students’ use of transitions as categories of speaking assessment as a theoretical knowledge, but they do not apply that in their real speaking classes when they assess their students. This implies that these teachers do not apply what they know about teaching and assessing students in English speaking classes. Moreover, the research findings showed that the majority of teachers do not employ formative assessment, set speaker assessment tasks for their students at an appropriate degree of difficulty, use of oral presentation task in speaking assessment, use discussion and decision tasks, retelling story or text from aural stimuli, use analytic scores in their tests to assess students. In contrast, the findings obtained showed that almost all of the teachers use summative assessment, role-play tasks and a holistic score for each category in speaking test in their classes. The research findings also reported that all of these failures were due to the internal and external challenges that teachers encounter. These challenges include difficulties in choosing appropriate assessment categories, difficulties in assessing different types of speaking, representative assessing tasks, plan and structure the oral testing carefully, ensure valid and reliable scoring, elicit a valid sample, choosing tasks for speaking assessment, classroom size, lack of resources and training sessions. Finally, the research in hand provided suitable solutions through some implications and recommendations.