Brown (2004) suggests a list of 16 different micro and macro speaking skills objectives to help test makers determine what to assess (whether to assess on smaller chunks of language or speaking’s larger elements).
Micro skills refer to producing smaller chunks of language such as phonemes, morphemes, words, collocations, and phrasal units. Below are more specific explanations of micro-skills of speaking adopted from Brown (2004, p.142-143)
Produce differences among English phonemes and allophonic variants.
Produce chunks of the language of different lengths.
Produce English stress patterns, words in stressed and unstressed positions, rhythmic structure, and intonational contours,
Produce reduced forms of words and phrases
Use an adequate number of lexical units (words) to accomplish pragmatic purposes.
Produce fluent speech at different rates of delivery.
Monitor one’s oral production and use various strategic devices: pauses, fillers, self-corrections, and backtracking to enhance the clarity of the message.
Use grammatical word classes (nouns, verbs, etc.), systems (tense, agreement, pluralization), word order, patterns, rules, and forms.
Produce speech in natural constituents in appropriate phrases, pause groups, breath groups, and sentences.
Express a particular meaning in different grammatical forms.
Macro skills are more complex than micro-skills. Macro skills focus more on fluency, discourse, function, style, cohesion, nonverbal communication, and strategic options. For example, the macros skills of speaking skills can be seen below:
Appropriately accomplish communicative functions according to situations, participants, and goals.
Use appropriate styles, registers, implicature, redundancies, pragmatic conventions, conversation rules, floor keeping, yielding, interrupting, and other sociolinguistic features in face-to-face conversations.
Convey links and connections between events and communicate such relations as focal and peripheral ideas, events and feelings, new information and given information, generalization, and exemplification.
Convey facial features, kinesics, body language, and other nonverbal cues along with verbal language
Develop and use a battery of speaking strategies, such as emphasizing keywords, rephrasing, providing a context for interpreting the meaning of words, appealing for help, and accurately assessing how well your interlocutor understands you
References and Recommended Reading
Brown, H. D. (2004). Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.
Heaton, J. B. (1988). Writing English Language Tests (New Edition). London: Longman.
Hughes, A. (1989). Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O’Malley, J. M., & Pierce, L. V. (1996). Authentic Assessment for English Language Learner: Practical Approaches for Teachers. White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley.
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