ASL – An Introduction – English Core – Class XI – NCERT

Class XI: ASL – An Introduction

CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) the flagship project of CBSE has clearly outlined the significance of speaking and listening skills as part of co-scholastic areas of achievement by every learner and also stresses the clear integration of evaluation of speaking and listening skills as a part of the curriculum transaction.

The formative assessment of these two skills along with other skills have been formally provisioned under CCE .But in the absence of Summative Assessment, we have not positioned the learner’s proficiency in Speaking and Listening thereby leading to a wash back effect of very little or no importance given to Speaking and Listening Skills in many classrooms . As a result a large population of students passes out of schools with inadequate competence in expressive communication skills.
As good communication skills raise the self-esteem of a student, CBSE essentially desires that the students acquire proficiency in it by the time they leave the portals of the school. In the present day global markets, speaking and listening are considered to be the essential skills of real life. Since CBSE has the onerous responsibility of assessing scholastic and co-scholastic achievement levels of students in over 12000 schools affiliated to it , it has been felt for a long time that CBSE must focus on assessing speaking and listening skills for qualification as Summative Evaluation as much for Formative Assessment.
Considering this, CBSE proposes to give weightage in Formative and Summative assessments in ASL (Assessment of Speaking and Listening Skills). This weightage is clearly specified in the 2014 curriculum document uploaded in the CBSE Academic website.
Guidelines for teachers to assess Speaking and Listening Skills in the term-end examination:

The Listening Comprehension section tests the candidate’s ability to listen for basic interpersonal, instructional and academic purposes. A number of sub-skills need to be developed in the everyday classroom transaction. Given below are some of the sub-skills of listening which need to be assessed in the formative and summative assessments:
i. Listening for specific information
ii. Listening for general understanding
iii. Predictive listening
iv. Inferential listening
v. Listening for pleasure
vi. Intensive listening
vii. Evaluative listening
Role of Assessor

An assessor is a person who is assigned the job of assessing a candidate’s performance in any of the skills that is to be assessed.
For the purpose of the Summative Assessment, an assessor will be a teacher who would also be an examiner or an interlocutor who will conduct the examination and do the assessment if skills.
It is extremely important to keep in mind the factors listed below as they can significantly influence the expected outcome of the Listening Test.
Therefore, due care and attention must be given to each of the following:
 Size of the room
 Seating arrangements
 Acoustics of the room
 Equipment used
 Quality of the recording of the Listening Input
 Quality of the oral rendering of the Listening Input (in case it is to be read aloud by the Examiner), in terms of volume, clarity, enunciation, intonation, pace etc
Test Administration: For the Assessor (Teacher)

1. Select the time and date of the assessment.
2. Plan the seating arrangements in advance.
3. Decide exactly as to how much time is to be reserved for instructions or any possible interaction regarding clarifications etc and for the actual test.
4. Make the announcement giving General Instructions directed to the Candidate before the recording is played/before the reading of the text.
5. Adhere strictly to the time specified for each of the three phases of the Test (Pre-listening, While Listening and Post-Listening)
6. The general instruction given below should be followed while conducting the test.
The Listening Test
The Listening test comprises of a variety of task. These tasks are graded according to the length of the task and the difficulty level. Schools may download the sample tasks and reorganize them in two parts transcripts and the marking scheme for the interlocutor or the assessor and the worksheets for the students on which student swill write answers.
General Instructions for Students

You are not allowed to ask questions or interrupt the Assessor at any point.
1 You are being tested on your Listening Skills.
2 You will hear a set of recordings of the Listening Input or listen to a reading of the Listening Input.
3 Each of the recording will be played twice. In case there is an oral rendering of the Listening Input, it shall take place twice. 3 | P a g e
4 You are required to answer a set of questions based on each of the Listening Inputs.
5 The test consists of 4/sections.
6 You are required to attempt all 4 sections of the test.
7 Familiarize yourself with the questions on the Worksheet. It will help you to answer them later on.
8 After you have listened to the input, you will be given specified minutes to answer the questions on your worksheet
9 You may answer the questions on your Worksheet while listening.
10 Do not interact/comment until you have moved out of the Examination Room
Assessment of Listening

The marking key is prepared before the test is administered. It will take about a period of 30-35 minutes to conduct a listening test. At the end of the test, the answer scripts should be collected and marked. It is objectives type of marking. Hence, it is suggested that scripts may be marked on the same day.


Speaking skill has acquired a very important place in the communication skills. Like listening skills – a number of sub-skills of speaking need to be consciously developed amongst students. Some of the sub-skills are given below which can be assessed.
1. Speaking intelligibly using appropriate word stress, sentence stress and intonation patterns.
2. Narrating incidents and events, real or imaginary in a logical sequence.
3. presenting oral reports or summaries; making announcements clearly and confidently.
4. Expressing and arguing a point of view clearly and effectively.
5. taking active part in group discussions, showing ability to express agreement or disagreement, summarising ideas, eliciting the views of others, and presenting own ideas.
6. Expressing and responding to personal feelings, opinions and attitudes.
7. Participating in spontaneous spoken discourse in familiar social situations.
General Instructions

1 The total administration time for the speaking test is approximately 10-12 minutes
2 The speaking test will be conducted for two students at a time.
3 There will be a single teacher to function as the Interlocutor and Assessor.
4 The Interlocutor/ Assessor should be a qualified English Teacher
The Speaking Test: Role of Assessor

1. The (Assessor) should ensure that the room is quiet and has good acoustics.
2. The tone, manner and body language of the Interlocutor should be relaxed, encouraging and pleasant. Care should be taken to make the candidates feel at ease.
3. Students must not be discouraged from making a fresh start in case they are unable to do so at the first attempt.
4. The Assessor needs to be flexible, sympatric and reassuring in her/his demeanour.
5. The Assessor should also be a proficient user of the language in order to conduct the speaking test successfully. For e.g .the interlocutor should be skilled in Elicitation techniques. For e.g. Yes/No questions should generally be avoided.
6. Alternatively questions such as… Explain how/Why…Tell me what you think of….
7. Ideally, the Assessor should award marks after the candidates have left the Examination Room. If necessary, notes can be made discreetly to be later in the scoring so that it does not make the candidates unduly tense and self-conscious.
The Speaking test is divided into three sections as given below:
I General Introduction

The Interlocutor converses with the two candidates. Simple warm up questions based on the candidates’ names, place of residence, leisure preferences etc are asked.
Assessment of Speaking Skill
Class – XI
10 Marks


I. General Introduction — (1 min)

(The Interlocutor makes the students feel comfortable)
Interlocutor: Good morning, I am ———————-.
Student A: My name is —————-/ I am ——————-
Interlocutor: And yours? (looking at student B)
Student B: ———————————
Interlocutor: What do you do in your leisure time (To student B)
Student B: ———————————–
Interlocutor: What other hobby would you like to develop? (To student A)
Student A: ———————————–
Interlocutor: what would you like to develop? (To student B)
Student B: ——————
Interlocutor: who is your favourite actor? (To student A)
Student A: ———–
Interlocutor: And yours? (To student B)
Student B: —————
II. Mini Presentation

In this section the Interlocutor gives each candidate the choice to pick up a Role Card or a Cue Card with a topic written on it.

The candidates are given 1 minute to prepare. The assessor should be ready with sheets of paper and pencil. Candidates may organize their thoughts and ideas.

Prior to the day of the speaking test, as an assistance to students to prepare for the presentations, a teacher can give a choice of 20 to 30 topics in class to students so that they can prepare the topics and organise their ideas on each topic .Similar topics can be given in the formal testing .

Please note that candidates are not allowed to write full length answers. They may jot down points only in the sheets given by the Interlocutor. Therefore, pencil and paper should be provided on the table. Students are not allowed to carry pen, paper or mobile in the examination room. After one minute, each student will be given 2 minutes each to present his/her ideas.

In case, a student is unable to speak during /for the allotted time, the (Assessor) may ask some rounding off questions.

Mini Presentation
(1 min Preparation + 2 each min for both the students= 5 min)
1. Your school is planning to organize an adventure camp during summer vacations. The Secretary of the School Adventure Club has offered the following three choices. As a member of the club which place would you prefer? Give reasons for your choice. (Interlocutor gives different input card to both students. Four samples are given)
1.    Seven day swimming camp at lake Bhimtal
2.    Four day trekking camp at Pehalgam, Srinagar
3.    Five day river rafting camp at Rishikesh
2. Talk about a book you have read recently
1.    Why did you decided to read that book?
2.    How long did it take to finish the book?
3.    What genre of book it was?
3. Talk about your favourite news channel.
1.    How often you use this news source
2.    Why do you use this channel
3.    What other sources you use
4. E-learning.
1.    Autonomous learning
2.    Adds variety
3.    Gives choices
4.    Clarifies concepts
III. Pair Interaction

The third section of the test is for 3 minutes. Both candidates are given a verbal or visual stimulus and asked to respond to it. Both the candidates are given a total

of 3 minutes to interact. Both of them will talk together.

The closing is for 1 minute duration only. In case a student has not been able to speak or has been unable to speak owing to nervousness, the dominance of the second candidate or any other factor, then, the (interlocutor) may use the 1 minute to give a fresh opportunity to that student.
Note: In the Summative II assessment it has been proposed to record the candidates’ performance in the MP 3 players/ recorders, so as to validate and make the test reliable and fair.
Assessment of Speaking

Assessors should familiarise themselves with the assessment scale of speaking. While the students are giving their presentation, assessors may refer to descriptors. It is they may share these indicators with the students while formative assessment tasks are given. As the test will be conducted for two students at a time, it is advised that two to three teachers sit in separate rooms to conduct the assessment of students of one section at a time. Hence 48 students can be assessed simultaneously within one and half hours, in three batches of 16 students each.
Assessors are advised to pay due attention to and familiarize themselves with the design of the test items. The sample test items are given here as Annexures here. Similar test items can be framed according to the need and level of students.

The descriptors are given below for reference:


 Can initiate & logically develop simple conversation on familiar topics
 Can take turns appropriately

 Interaction is adequately initiated and developed
 Can take turn but needs little prompting

 Develops interactions adequately makes however minimal effort to initiate conversation
 Needs constant prompting to take turns

 Contributions are often unrelated to those of the other speaker </sp an>
 Generally passive in the development of conversation

 Contributions are mainly unrelated to those of other speaker
 Shows hardly any initiative in the development of conversation
 Very limited interaction
 Can pronounce correctly & articulate clearly
 Is always comprehensible; uses appropriate intonation
 Mostly correct pronunciation & clear articulation
 Can be clearly understood most of the time; very few phonological errors
 Largely correct pronunciation & clear articulation except occasional errors
 Some expressions cause stress without compromising with understanding of spoken discourse.
 Frequently unintelligible articulations
 Frequent phonological errors
 Major communication problems
 Insufficient accuracy in pronunciation; many grammatically errors
 Communication is severely affected
Class XI: FAQ about Listening and Speaking Skills
Q1. What are listening and speaking skills?
Ans: Good communication skills improve and raise the self-esteem of a student; CBSE essentially desires that the students acquire proficiency in it by the time they leave the portals of the school. In the present day global markets, the speaking and listening are considered to be the essential skills of real life. Effective spoken communication (speaking skill) requires being able to express your ideas and views clearly, confidently and concisely in speech, tailoring your content and style to the audience and promoting free-flowing communication. Whereas listening skills are ways to help you listen to something more effectively and be able to comprehend the message being communicated.

Q2. What is the difference between hearing and listening?< /div>

Ans: Hearing is the act of perceiving sound and receiving sound waves or vibrations through your ear. Listening is the act of hearing a sound and understanding what you hear.

Hearing is a skill where you use your ears only. It is one of the five senses. Listening uses different senses, like the sense of hearing, seeing, or sense of touch.

Listening is a skill that lets the sound you hear go through your brain to process the meaning of it. It is a form of a communication technique that lets you understand, interpret and put meaning to what you hear. Listening can build a better relationship with
Q3. Why is listening important?
Ans: Listening is important to a child’s development. Even before s/he can speak, a child responds to sounds around him/her- mother’s voice, another baby’s cry. Listening skills are extremely important for academic development. Listening to others speech is an important part of communication, speech, and language development.
Q4. What are the different types of listening?
Ans: There are four basic types of listening skills. These are:
1. Inactive listening, where you hear the words but your mind is far off and no   communication takes place
2. Selective listening where you hear only what you want to hear.
3. Active listening, where you listen closely to content and intent and;

4. Reflective listening, which is active listening when you also work to clarify what the speaker is saying and make sure there is mutual understanding. 

Notification from CBSE about the ASL
(An extract from the circular of dated: 23 Oct, 2013)
This is with regard to the implementation of the project for Assessment of Speaking and Listening skills (ASL) in classes IX and XI in all CBSE affiliated schools since 2012. Subsequent to the implementation of the pilot phase of the project, CBSE has now collaborated with Trinity College, London for ongoing academic support in material developments, training of teachers as Examiner Trainers in the Assessment of Speaking and Listening skills (ASL-ETs) and in the assessment process that are aligned and at par with the international standards.
Recording of Speaking Performance of Students
This evidence pertains to the recorded data of students’ performance in the Oral Examination. Hence, we, at CBSE, seek the support of all the affiliated schools in the smooth conduct of ASL.
The speaking assessment of all students in the final examination (SA-II) in class IX and in class XI needs to be recorded in the MP3 recorders.

Dates for the Assessment of Speaking and Listening skills
It may be noted that the dates for conducting the speaking assessment and listening test will be from 15 November to 15 December, 2013 for all the schools.
For all Winter Bound Schools the dates for conducting the speaking assessment and listening test will be 01 November to 15 November every year.
Recording of Assessment
The CDs containing the recorded data for only SA-II and final exam in class XI will be sent to the Regional Officers of each region of CBSE for onward transmission to CBSE/Trinity College, London for analysis.
The analysis of data of speaking performance of students and listening test scores will help in standardizing the tests and improving the quality of the assessment procedures and empowering of teachers as Oral Examiners.

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