Oral assessment relates both to teaching and learning. Sometimes assessment is used for the teacher to assess his/her own effectiveness in teaching the goals, and it is also needed to see where students are in relation to the goals. At other times it is used to provide additional assistance to students who are struggling with certain concepts.
Oral assessment goes beyond testing. Assessment can be formal or informal. While testing give a brief glimpse of a student's ability on one given day, assessment is much more comprehensive and, for this reason, gives us a broader perspective of a student's level of oral language. Oral assessment should go on daily and should reflect classroom practices.
Oral assessment does not have to be solely teacher-directed. When students are allowed to take an active role in the assessment process, they can grow and become more responsible for their own learning. A mixture of teacher, self and peer assessments will give a better representation of what a student know and is able to do orally.
Oral production is an essential component of learning a foreign language. As such, it should have a central place in the foreign language classroom in both areas of instruction and assessment. While many classrooms devote extended time to the development of the speaking skill, the assessment practices have not always reflected how language was taught. When little time is devoted to the assessment of oral language, the underlying message that oral language is not important becomes clear. Assessment of oral language can and should be an integral part of language learning and teaching. This document has suggested some possibilities for doing so.