Updated On: 29-10-2013 06:34:52 ← Go Back to Get Updated Section

CBSE: Assessment Of Speaking And Listening Skills In English (ASL)


CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) the flagship project of CBSE has clearly outlined the significance of speaking and listening skills as part of co-scholastic areas of achievement by every learner and also stresses the clear integration of assessment of speaking and listening skills as a part of the curriculum transaction.
The formative assessment of these two skills along with other skills have been formally provisioned under CCE .But in the absence of Summative Assessment, we have not positioned the learner’s proficiency in speaking and listening thereby leading to a wash back effect of very little or no importance given to these skills in our classrooms . As a result, a large population of students passes out of schools with inadequate competence in expressive communication skills.
As good communication skills raise the self esteem of a student, CBSE essentially desires that the students acquire proficiency in them by the time they leave school. In the present day global markets, speaking and listening are considered to be the essential skills of real life. Since CBSE has the onerous responsibility of assessing scholastic and co-scholastic achievement levels of students in over 13, 500 schools affiliated to it , it has been felt for a long time that CBSE must focus on assessing speaking and listening skills for qualification as Summative Assessment as much as for Formative Assessment .
Considering this, CBSE proposes to give 20% weightage in Formative and Summative Assessments in the Assessment of Speaking and Listening Skills. Therefore the Assessment of Speaking and Listening Skills will be done formally at the term-end examination in Summative Assessment – II. Schools may conduct ASL themselves as per the guidelines provided by the CBSE. However, assessment of these skills may also be done under the formative activities spread over two terms.

Guidelines for teachers to assess speaking and listening skills in the term-end examination:


The Listening Comprehension section tests the student’s ability to listen for basic interpersonal, instructional and academic purposes. A number of sub-skills need to be developed in the everyday classroom transaction. Given below are some of the sub-skills of listening which need to be assessed in the formative and summative assessments:

i. Listening for specific information
ii. Listening for general understanding
iii. Predictive listening
iv. Inferential listening
v. Listening for pleasure
vi. Intensive listening
vii. Evaluative listening

Role of Examiner:

An examiner is a person who is assigned the job of assessing a candidate’s performance in any of the skills that is to be assessed.
For the purpose of the Summative Assessment, an examiner will be a teacher who will conduct the examination and do the assessment of skills.

It is extremely important to keep in mind the factors listed below as they can significantly influence the expected outcome of the Listening Test.


  • Size of the room
  • Seating arrangements
  • Acoustics of the room
  • Equipment used
  • Quality of the recording of the listening input
  • Quality of the oral rendering of the listening input (in case it is to be read aloud by the Examiner), in terms of volume, clarity, enunciation, intonation, pace etc

Test Administration: For the Examiner (Teacher)

1 Select the time and date of the assessment.

2 Plan the seating arrangements in advance.

3 Decide exactly as to how much time is to be reserved for instructions or any possible interaction regarding clarifications etc and for the actual test.

4 Make the announcement giving general instructions directed to the candidate before the recording is played or before the reading of the text.

5 Adhere strictly to the time specified for each of the three phases of the Test (Pre-listening, While Listening and Post-Listening)

6. The general instruction given below should be followed while conducting the test.

The Listening Assessment:

The Listening Assessment comprises of a variety of task. These tasks are graded according to the length of the task and the difficulty level. Schools may download the sample tasks and reorganize them in two parts-transcripts and the marking scheme for the examiner and the worksheets for the students on which students will write answers.

General Instructions for Students

You are not allowed to ask questions or interrupt the Examiner at any point.

1 You are being tested on your Listening Skills.

2 You will hear a set of recordings of the Listening Input or listen to a reading of the Listening Input.

3 Each of the recording will be played twice. In case there is an oral rendering of the Listening Input, it shall take place twice.

4 You are required to answer a set of questions based on each of the Listening Inputs.

5 The assessment consists of 4 sections.

6 You are required to attempt all 4 sections of the assessment.

7 Familiarize yourself with the questions on the worksheet. It will help you to answer them later on.

8 After you have listened to the input, you will be given specified minutes to answer the questions on your worksheet

9 You may answer the questions on your worksheet while listening.

10 Do not interact/comment until you have moved out of the Examination Room

Assessment of Listening

The marking key is prepared before the test is administered. It will take about a period of 30-35 minutes to conduct a listening assessment. At the end of the assessment, the answer scripts should be collected and marked. It is objective type of marking. Therefore, each question or Gap Filling question will be of one mark each. Awarding of half mark should be avoided. Since it is an assessment of listening skills, one or two spelling mistakes may be ignored. If there are more than four or five spelling mistakes then upto two marks may be deducted out of the total marks. But in no case a half mark be awarded. It is suggested that scripts may be marked on the same day.

The Speaking skill had acquired a very important place as a communication skill. Like listening skill – a number of sub-skills of speaking need to be consciously developed among students. Some of the sub-skills which can be assessed are as follows:
1. Speaking intelligibly using appropriate word stress, sentence stress and intonation patterns.

2. Narrating incidents and events, real or imaginary in a logical sequence.

3. Presenting oral reports or summaries; making announcements clearly and confidently.

4. Expressing and arguing a point of view clearly and effectively.

5. Taking active part in group discussions, showing ability to express agreement or disagreement,
summarising ideas, eliciting the views of others, and presenting own ideas.

6. Expressing and responding to personal feelings, opinions and attitudes.

7. Participating in spontaneous spoken discourse in familiar social situations.

General Instructions
1 The total administration time for the speaking assessment is approximately 10-12 minutes
2 The speaking assessment will be conducted for two students at a time.
3 There will be a single teacher to function as the Examiner.
4 The Examiner should be a qualified English Teacher

The Speaking Assessment:

Role of Examiner:
1. The (Examiner) should ensure that the room is quiet and has good acoustics.

2. The tone, manner and body language of the Examiner should be relaxed, encouraging and pleasant. Care should be taken to make the candidates feel at ease.

3. Students must not be discouraged from making a fresh start in case they are unable to do so at the first attempt.

4. The Examiner needs to be flexible, sympathetic and reassuring in her/his demeanour.

5. The Examiner should also be a proficient user of the language in order to conduct the speaking assessment successfully. For e.g .the examiner should be skilled in elicitation techniques, alternatively questions such as... “Explain how”/Why...Tell me what you think of.... may be asked. Yes/ No question should generally be avoided.

6. Ideally, the Examiner should award marks after the candidates have left the Examination Room. If necessary, notes can be made discreetly to be used later in the scoring, so that it does not make the candidates unduly tense and self-conscious.

The Speaking Assessment is divided into three sections:

I General Introduction
The Examiner converses with the two candidates. Simple warm up questions based on the candidates’ names, place of residence, leisure preferences etc are asked.

II Mini Presentation
In this section, the Examiner gives each candidate the choice to pick up a Role Card or a Cue Card with a topic written on it.

The candidates are given 1 minute to prepare. The examiner should be ready with sheets of paper and a pencil. Candidates may organize their thoughts and ideas.

Prior to the day of the speaking assessment, as an assistance to students to prepare for the presentations, the teacher can give a choice of 20 to 30 topics in class to students so that they can prepare based on the topics and organize their ideas. Similar topics can be given in the formal assessment.

Please note that students are not allowed to write full length answers. They may jot down points only in the sheets given by the Examiner. Therefore, a pencil and sheet of paper should be provided on the table. Students are not allowed to carry pen, paper or mobile phone to the examination room. After a minute, each student will be given 2 minutes each to present his/her ideas.

In case, a student is unable to speak during /for the allotted time, the (Examiner) may ask some rounding off questions.

III Pair Interaction
The third section of the test is for 3 minutes. Both students are given a verbal or visual stimulus and asked to respond to it

Both the students are given a total of 3 minutes to interact. Both of them will talk together. After 2 minutes the examiner can ask questions based on their discussion.


The closing is for 1 minute duration only. In case a student has not been able to speak or has been unable to speak owing to nervousness, the dominance of the second candidate or any other factor, then, the Examiner may use the 1 minute to give a fresh opportunity to that student.

Note: In both Summative I and II Assessments it has been proposed to record the students’ performance in the MP 3 players/ recorders, so as to validate and make the test reliable and fair. Also, all schools are required to send the evidence of assessment. Hence, the audio files can be maintained at schools level to be sent later to the CBSE.

Assessment of Speaking

The Examiners should familiarize themselves with the assessment scale of speaking. While the students are giving their presentation, examiners may refer to the performance descriptors. They may share these descriptors with the students while formative assessment tasks are given. As the assessment will be conducted for two students at a time, it is advised that two to three teachers sit in separate rooms to conduct the assessment of students of one section at a time. Hence 48 students can be assessed simultaneously within one and half hours, in three batches of 16 students each.

The Examiners are advised to pay due attention to and familiarize themselves with the design of the test items. The sample test items are given as Annexures here. Similar test items can be framed according to the need and level of students.

The descriptors are given for reference: