The assessment of oral communication has continued to evolve over the past few decades. The construct being assessed has broadened to include interactional competence, and technology has played a role in the types of tasks that are currently popular. In this paper, we discuss the factors that affect the process of oral communication assessment, current conceptualizations of the construct to be assessed, and five tasks that are used to assess this construct. These tasks include oral proficiency interviews, paired/group oral discussion tasks, simulated tasks, integrated oral communication tasks, and elicited imitation tasks. We evaluate these tasks based on current conceptualizations of the construct of oral communication, and conclude that they do not assess a broad construct of oral communication equally. Based on our evaluation, we advise test developers to consider the aspects of oral communication that they aim to include or exclude in their assessment when they select one of these task types.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gary-ockey/2/