Timed Fluency for Students’ Modern Language Speaking Improvement

One measure of fluency is the number of sentences per minute.  To assess the student’s fluency, the evaluator counts the number of sentences during a specific time period such as one minute, two minutes, three minutes, etc.  Mr. Pilo, a modern language teacher, easily teaches  his students to peer assess each other as they say sentences.  He  tells the students to count the sentences that he says during a minute.  After he talks for a minute, he has students tell how many sentences they heard.  He talks again but this time he includes two non-sentences such as “She downtown” and “To walk to the store”.  He verifies that the students counted the complete sentences and not the incomplete ones. In addition, he tells students to only count sentences that are comprehensible and meaningful.

Next, he has students get in pairs.One student becomes Student A and the other becomes Student B.  Student A talks about a topic he gives them while Student B counts the number of sentences by making a slash (/).  At the end of the minute, Student B counts the slashes and tells Student A how many sentences he/she said.  They reverse roles and Mr. Pilo gives a second topic.

Since students know how many sentences that they said, they can work on improving their fluency. Mr. Pilo gives suggestions and elicits suggestions from the high performing students.  The students  practice these improvements and then practice speaking for short period of times many times during a week. The students keep track of their fluency on a simple two row chart; the top row  has spaces for the date and the bottom row  has spaces for the number of sentences said.  The students see that they  increase in their fluency.

How do you frequently measure your students’ speaking fluency?

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

I have developed 27  Spanish activities  and 4 Modern Language Visual activities that allow students to begin to express themselves in the modern language and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

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