IELTS Speaking Test Grading Criteria
Introduction Examiners look at five different things in order to determine a candidate's score: 1. 2. 3. 4. Pronunciation Grammar Vocabulary Fluency and Coherence
Notice that Fluency and Coherence are grouped together although they are different things. Each of these four carries equal value. The examiner gives you a whole number sub-score for each of these and then calculates the average of the four. Both whole number and ha lf band scores, such as 6.5 are given for the Speaking test. No separate score is given for each of the three Parts of the test. When I was an examiner, I wrote the four sub-scores on a piece of paper at some time during Part 1 and these four scores were changed up or down as the test progressed. If the average score is not a whole number or a 0.5 number, for example, 5.5, the examiner goes down to the next whole number or 0.5 number. Pronunciation Overall, clear and understandable pronunciation is the main thing. Secondly, the correct use of the following features will determine the pronunciation grade: basic word pronunciation; linked speech sounds; correct and appropriate sentence stress (i.e., which word or words in a sentence are stressed more than others); and, appropriate use of intonation (rising and falling) to emphasize meaning. Slightly inaccurate (= unclear) pronunciation is usually understandable if the correct words and grammar are used but slightly inaccurate pronunciation combine d with other errors can result in language that is not understandable at all.
American pronunciation is acceptable.
Grammar Basic grammar, especially the verb tenses. Know how to make the tenses and use them correctly. Complex sentences: Don't just use simple sentences all the time. Instead, often use sentences composed of parts that are joined together with conjunctions and other linking words. (This is a "must" for a Band 6 or above in this sub-score.) Complex structures: Show that you have some knowledge of higher level grammar. Vocabulary Show a wide range of vocabulary. Use words suitably ?C don't try to impress with 'impressive' words you are not sure of. Make sure you correctly pronounce words ?C don't just learn the written form of new words. Fluency Speed ?C push yourself to speak a little faster but only if your pronunciation is good. Continuity ?C avoid unnaturally long pauses especially in Part 2. Smoothness ?C use linked pronunciation and use contractions. Coherence Expand your answers with a suitable amount of relevant extra information (detail). Use connectives to link sentences especially when expressing more complex ideas. (This is a "must" for a Band 6 or above in this sub-score.) Answer questions directly. Add extra relevant details in suitable amounts after first answering the key point of the question. Link your answers to the questions by using the same verb tense. Try to ensure that your answers to questions are suitable for the real meaning of the questions. Show knowledge of the 'short form' of answer for 'Yes/No' questions.
1. Pronunciation 2. 2.Grammar For grammar, examiners first notice if candidates can make sentences using simple grammar correctly. The frequency of basic errors is what examiners first notice. The majority of these errors involve verbs, especially verb tenses. You should especially take care to answer questions using the same verb tense as the question. This is not just a question of correctly forming verb tenses but also a question of whether your choice of verb tense is suitable for what you are try ing to say. Of course, in addition to verbs, there are also lots of other possible grammatical errors. Even a candidate who gets an 8 for grammar is allowed to make a very small number of errors but most of these are made when attempting to speak the more complex grammatical structures and these errors are not so bad that the listener misunderstands the speaker's meaning. On the other hand, a Band 3 candidate makes frequent grammatical errors (in almost every sentence) at the most basic level. The examiner also especially looks to see how often and how well the candidate can make complex sentences. (A complex sentence is a sentence that has two or more parts, each containing a verb, that are joined by words such as ?and?, ?but?, ?because?, ?although?, ?which?, ?that?, ?who? etc.) Note that frequently using ?and? will not help your score for complex sentences very much although it is better than always speaking simple, short sentences. COMPLEX SENTENCES IS AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF THE GRAMMAR SUB-SCORE AND YOU SHOULD STUDY THIS TOPIC. You cannot get a 6 for grammar if you don't make it obv ious that you can speak using many complex sentences.
The following is an example of a complex sentence using t wo joining words (???? ??), which and because.
??I need to learn English, which is very important because it can help me get a
good job.?? Below is a diagram showing a complex sentence. A Band 4 candidate rarely attempts a complex sentence. A Band 5 candidate tries to make only a few complex sentences, usually just using ?and? or ?but? as conjunctions. When they try to use more difficult joining words or phrases, they often make mistakes. A Band 6 can make complex sentences with a limited range of joinin g words and phrases but there are still several, but not so serious errors. A Band 7 can make a wide range of complex sentences with only a few errors. And a Band 8 makes a wide range of complex sentences with almost no errors. Examiners also look at the candidate?s grammatical range, that is, whether the candidate can accurately use the more difficult grammar, or complex structures such as ??????? (the past perfect tense), ??????? (the passive voice), ??? ????????? (perfect modals), ??????????? (conditional sentences or ?if...would? sentences), and ??????? (reported speech). As with basic verb t
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