Speaking and listening assessment focuses
Use these descriptions of the key elements of performance in speaking and listening to help you understand how pupils can meet the assessment focuses (AFs) in this attainment target.
Strands within the assessment focuses
The AFs contain 'strands'. Strands run through the levels, and don’t formally appear in the assessment guidelines. They inform an AF across levels by connecting criteria from one level to the next.
Assessment focuses and the assessment guidelines
- AF1 Talking to others
Talk in purposeful and imaginative ways to explore ideas and feelings, adapting and varying structure and vocabulary according to purpose, listeners, and content
In this assessment focus, the criteria describe three distinct but interrelated strands, set out in three bullet points up to level 7. At level 8, the criteria are merged into two bullet points indicating that at the highest level skills are integrated.
Sustain talk about ideas and feelings
- Describes pupils' extended talk in small-group, whole-class, or larger contexts.
- Sustained imaginative and purposeful talk often arises when pupils are given time to plan and prepare responses to challenging tasks and questions.
- Pupils are more likely to demonstrate strength in this area when they are talking about something that matters to them.
- Progression is marked by the ability to talk in extended ways about increasingly complex ideas and feelings, supported by details to make meaning precise and clear.
Organise talk to help and engage the listener
- The key idea is about organising talk with awareness of the effect on the listener.
- Progression is characterised in terms of pupils developing the ability to engage and guide their listeners' response through deliberate shaping of their talk.
Adapt talk for different audiences, purposes, and contexts
- The key idea is 'adaptation' of talk for a range of purposes, audiences, and contexts, both formal and informal.
- Progression is marked by the flexibility with which pupils vary their choices of vocabulary, grammatical structures, and non-verbal features, depending on listener(s) and content.
- The criteria encompass the use of spoken standard English where appropriate.
- AF2 Talking with others
Listen and respond to others, including in pairs and in groups, shaping meanings through suggestions, comments, and questions
The criteria are set out with two bullet points at each level, showing the distinct but interrelated strands within the assessment focus.
Listen and respond
- The key idea is 'respond'. Pupils' proactive responses to what they have heard provide evidence for listening.
- Evidence for listening covers both engagement with and critique of content and style.
- Progression in response is characterised in terms of pupils' increasing depth of comprehension and the quality of their interaction with speakers and other audio sources.
Group discussion and interaction
- These describe pupils' facilitative roles in different kinds of pair and group work.
- Evidence relates to how flexibly pupils select and adapt roles in working together to achieve shared goals.
- Progression is characterised by pupils' increasing independence and autonomy.
- AF3 Talking within role-play and drama
Create and sustain different roles and scenarios, adapting techniques in a range of dramatic activities to explore texts, ideas, and issues.
- The criterion at each level describes pupils' ability to explore ideas and issues by adopting different roles and creating imagined scenarios.
- At all levels pupils' understanding of characters and ideas is enhanced through experimentation in role, building from imaginative play to establishing complex roles.
- Pupils need opportunities to adapt their use of language, voice, gesture, and movement to develop empathy and insight into texts and issues, using a range of strategies, such as hotseating, conscience alley and freeze-frame.
- The process of working with others to create dramatic scenarios and sustain roles is an important aspect of this assessment focus: assessment should not focus solely on performance, but also on the ability to adapt and experiment in different situations.
- Progression is marked by the increasing flexibility in pupils' adaptation of speech and gesture to explore ideas and issues.
- AF4 Talking about talk
Understand the range and uses of spoken language, commenting on meaning and impact, and draw on this when talking to others
- A single criterion for each level describes pupils' abilities to reflect on how they and others use language.
- Progression is characterised in terms of how effectively pupils apply this knowledge in developing their repertoire of talk, and identifying the impact and meaning of specific choices.
- Pupils need to learn ways of talking about talk analytically, so that they can explain and comment on the language they hear and use, just as they are used to having a metalanguage to talk about reading and writing.
- Work in this assessment focus provides scope for valuing pupils' creativity in language use and their willingness to take inventive or unusual approaches to making meaning.
- Work in AF4 also strengthens pupils' cultural understanding about how English varies locally and globally, and what such variations reveal about identity and cultural diversity.