PhD Project Sibylle Seyferth

Speaking assessment in foreign language classes

Development of a rating scale suited for the evaluation of speaking skills within French classes, up to the completion of the secondary education level (Gymnasium) in Bremen

supervised by  Prof. Dr. Andreas Grünewald and co-supervised by Claudia Harsch  at the University of Bremen

The matter is an interdisciplinary research project on foreign language didactics, language-acquisition studies and language teaching studies, with the focus on speaking assessment in foreign language classes.

During the last ten years, for the sake of distribution and in the name of the united European framework of reference for languages (CEFR), more and more tests for children and teenagers have been developed, to test the entirety of language skills, including speaking skills. It is especially difficult to gather appropriate testing material when teaching French. The Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) in France is developing standardized tests that are oriented towards the CEFR, but are only carried out in an extracurricular function. Ten years ago the assessment of performance in first foreign language acquisition was, in Germany, set by the educational political standards, whereupon additional teaching and education concepts were developed, that suited second foreign language acquisition (mostly French or Spanish) as well and met the expected competence levels targeted by the CEFR. Because speaking skills are of utmost importance in the current discussions among professionals on didactics, the question came up, on how French teachers evaluate these skills within classroom based language assessment.
Rating scales for speaking are going to be analyzed based on expert interviews on the current execution of schooling and trainings, regarding speaking tests and teachers assessment Literacy in Bremen and Nordrhein-Westfalen. These criterion-based tools could help French teachers in Bremen integrate the assessment of speaking skills into their classes. The context-oriented development, validation and piloting of a rating scale for French classes on the secondary education level in Bremen is the quintessence of this research project.