To emphasise that language skills are as important as academics, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has introduced assessment of speaking, listening skills (ASL) in Classes IX and XI across the country to assess the students competency in English.
A weightage of 20 per cent will be given for these skills in the formative and summative assessments of students. In formative assessments, the exam will be conducted in classrooms, while in summative assessments it will be done in a formal setting. All affiliated schools have been asked to conduct ASL themselves according to the board’s guidelines.
A circular issued by the CBSE reads, “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. CBSE has the onerous responsibility of assessing scholastic and co-scholastic achievement levels of students in over 13,500 schools affiliated to it.”
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The listening assessment will be conducted in 30-35 minutes, while the speaking assessment will last last 10-12 minutes. The listening comprehension section will test the students’ ability to listen for basic, interpersonal, instructional and academic purposes. There will be seven sub-skills of listening on which the students will be assessed on.
The speaking skill will have seven other sub-skills, including sentence stress, intonation patterns, presentation of oral reports, arguing a point of view and actively participating in group discussion.
The circular says that in both summative and formative assessments, the students performance will be recorded on MP3 players/ recorders so as to validate and make the test reliable and fair. Also, all schools are required to send evidence of assessment.
City-based CBSE counsellor and Principal of DAV School, Sector 15, Rakesh Sachdeva said, “This will not only help students to score better marks but will also help them in the long term, as it will motivate even those students who are nervous and feel shy to speak up in front of others.”
CBSE has uploaded the sample papers for the listening and speaking skills assessment on its website. The syllabus and format of the paper could be checked at the website.