Five Tasks to Test Your Students’ Listening

1. Number the jumbled words as you hear them:

  • Don’t be restricted to nouns only, include adjectives as well.
  • Use content words rather than form words (i.e. no prepositions, conjunctions or articles).
  • You might include 1 or 2 words that do not spell as they sound, like ‘eight’ and ‘plough’.
  • The task should include 6 words taped and 9 words on the paper – 3 extra words as distractors (incorrect options).
  • Don’t choose words too close in sound (i.e., tree/three, tall/fall, as they are difficult to distinguish on tape.

2. Listen and number the pictures as you hear them:

  • Choose clear pictures/familiar actions (eating, playing).
  • There should be 6 pictures and 4 prompts.
  • The text should be descriptive based on interesting and familiar situations.
  • Pictures should be clear and large enough to understand what they are.
  • The actions, the pictures represent should be very different from each other. There should be no confusion.
  • Avoid repeated actions (i.e., ‘playing football’, ‘playing tennis’) but you can still use ‘playing’ for music (i.e., ‘playing the piano’).
  • Names should be familiar and clearly different from each other to avoid confusion.

3. Listen and match answers to questions:

  • The task should include 9 sentences and 6 questions to be answered – 3 sentences distractors (incorrect options).
  • Questions and answers should not be in the same order.
  • Leave sufficient time between the questions for students to write their answers: (30 seconds for 1st & 2nd  questions, 20 seconds for 3rd & 4th questions, 15 seconds for 5th & 6th questions).

4. Listen to the text and put a tick () or (×) in the boxes on a chart to record answers:

  • The table should be simple, clear and easy to look at and understand.
  • The columns/rows in the table should normally be ordered to the sequence of information in the listening text.
  • Put more difficult items last, i.e., at the start of this task only test 1 point from each sentence, but in the end, you can ask for 2 pieces of information from a sentence.

5. Listen and write short answers in a table:

  • Use a simple method of answering to avoid confusion when writing the answers.
  • The table should be simple, clear and easy to look at and understand.
  • The boxes in the table should be large enough to fill in.
  • The columns/rows in the table should normally be ordered according to the sequence of information in the listening text.

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