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Fluency assessment and remediation: what works?

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Fluency assessment and remediation: what works?

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Presented by Simon Buckland at KoTESOL 2018

It is essential that teachers give learners relevant strategies for improving spoken fluency, founded on sound practice and good research. This study attempts to assess in quantitative terms how consistently teachers currently assess fluency and how relevant is the remediation guidance they offer. The aim is to provide clarity on three related questions: (1) what teachers understand by the term ‘fluency’; (2) how reliably they rate levels of fluency; and (3) the quality of advice they give to students whose level of fluency is below what would be expected given their overall language ability. The results have implications for both product design and teacher training, and will be of interest to teachers looking to improve the advice they give for improving fluency.

Presented by Simon Buckland at KoTESOL 2018

It is essential that teachers give learners relevant strategies for improving spoken fluency, founded on sound practice and good research. This study attempts to assess in quantitative terms how consistently teachers currently assess fluency and how relevant is the remediation guidance they offer. The aim is to provide clarity on three related questions: (1) what teachers understand by the term ‘fluency’; (2) how reliably they rate levels of fluency; and (3) the quality of advice they give to students whose level of fluency is below what would be expected given their overall language ability. The results have implications for both product design and teacher training, and will be of interest to teachers looking to improve the advice they give for improving fluency.

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Fluency assessment and remediation: what works?

  1. 1. Fluency Assessment and Remediation 14 October 2018 KoTESOL 2018 Simon Buckland, Wall Street English
  2. 2. Definitions of fluency About Wall Street English How our teachers assess fluency What our teachers think about assessing fluency Remediation: How to assess fluency
  3. 3. Definitions of Fluency “[There are] two ways of seeing fluency: 1. as a phenomenon … revealing … underlying [cognitive] processes in first language (L1) speaking, and 2. as an [assessable] aspect of L2 acquisition and proficiency …” (Nivja de Jong: Fluency in second language assessment ,In Tsagari and Banerjee (ed.) Handbook of Second Language Assessment. Publ. Mouton de Gruyter, 2016)
  4. 4. Definitions of Fluency “… fluency [is] not as an absolute trait that speakers possess but [involves] interrelated factors: speakers’ … language skills and experiences, … their emotional and cognitive states , … [their] interactions within … social and communicative contexts; and listeners’ perceptions.” (Norman Segalowitz: Cognitive Bases of Second Language Fluency Publ. Routledge, 2010)
  5. 5. Definitions of Fluency
  6. 6. WSE Fluency Rubrics ENCOUNTER 1 (<A1)
  7. 7. WSE Fluency Rubrics ENCOUNTER 77 (C1)
  8. 8. Definitions of Fluency Questions to reflect on: 1. Is fluency an attribute of a person, or of a situation? (i.e. Are some speakers more fluent than others?) 2. Do all speakers become more fluent as their proficiency increases? (Are variations in fluency correlated with variations in proficiency?) 3. What are teachers assessing when they assess fluency?
  9. 9. WSE Locations 160,000 + students 30% in China
  10. 10. WSE Learning System
  11. 11. How our teachers assess fluency 2.90 2.95 3.00 3.05 3.10 3.15 3.20 3.25 3.30 3.35 3.40 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Averagescore/4 WSE Encounter No. Fluency scores – WSE Global Average Average # scores per lesson: 10245
  12. 12. How our teachers assess fluency 2.80 2.85 2.90 2.95 3.00 3.05 3.10 3.15 3.20 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 AVERAGESCORE/4 WSE ENCOUNTER # FLUENCY SCORES - CHINA 3.00 3.10 3.20 3.30 3.40 3.50 3.60 3.70 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 AVERAGESCORE/4 WSE ENCOUNTER # FLUENCY SCORES - REST OF THE WORLD
  13. 13. What our teachers think about assessing fluency 14.4% 85.6% Where do you teach? China Italy 110 responses
  14. 14. What our teachers think about assessing fluency 23.9% 28.3% 47.8% In which section are you least confident that your ratings are correct, consistent and helpful? Section 2.0 (Vocabulary) Section 3.0 (Grammar) Section 4.0 (Communication) 110 responses
  15. 15. What our teachers think about assessing fluency 110 responses 1% 5.8% 15.4% 33.7% 44.2% 0 10 20 30 40 50 Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree Fluency is important to measure, and fluency scores are helpful for students.
  16. 16. What our teachers think about assessing fluency 110 responses 3.8% 6.7% 32.7% 38.5% 18.3% 0 10 20 30 40 50 Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree Fluency increases with ability: advanced students are naturally more fluent than beginners.
  17. 17. What our teachers think about assessing fluency 110 responses 36.5% 23.1% 20.2% 9.6% 10.6% 0 10 20 30 40 50 Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree I never give high fluency scores to lower-level students.
  18. 18. Remediation: How to improve fluency
  19. 19. Remediation: How to improve fluency Don’t be afraid to make mistakes I always advise students to practice as much as possible and use a translator less. When it stems from lack of confidence, I try to be extra encouraging. I usually say that fluency comes in with practice and confidence in the language. Speak more with native speakers.
  20. 20. Remediation: How to improve fluency Lower level students automatically translate in their head. I recommend they use a less complex sentence structure. Do not think about making mistakes. Just go for it and talk! Try to speak with native speakers whenever they have the chance. Being curious is always a good attitude. Watch movies in English and listen to the TV in English, sometimes just in the background of whatever they are doing to get used to the rhythm of the language etc.
  21. 21. Simon Buckland | Academic Advisor | simon.buckland@wallstreetenglish.com

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