At level 1, the candidate must be assessed taking part in a discussion, explanation or presentation on three occasions. These should include formal exchanges connected with education, training, work or social roles.
In some exchanges it is possible that not all of the national standards will be relevant. This is acceptable as long as each exchange is fit for its purpose and all of the standards are met across the three occasions.
At Level 1 the three occasions will be:
- a small group discussion (2-4 others), for example about the previous night’s news (10-15 minutes)
- an explanation to a small group of people (2 or more), for example about how to make a country’s national dish (5-10 minutes)
- a telephone call in a familiar or unfamiliar situation, for example to a child’s school to explain that he is ill and will not be in school for a few days (2-3 minutes)
In order that the communication can achieve its purpose candidates need to be aware of both the purpose and the intended audience. Candidates must understand these, as well as the criteria on which they will be assessed, before they begin.
Guidelines are given for the length of each occasion, though the overriding factor must be fitness for purpose. The larger the group in the discussion, the longer the discussion will need to be for the candidate to demonstrate his/her skills. If more than one of the participants is being assessed, each must be assessed individually on their own performance and not on that of the group. In some instances one candidate taking part in a discussion will be successful in achieving the requirements whilst another will not.
Assessors will need to compare the candidate’s performance with the typical performances described in the marking grid and award 2 or 1 marks for each aspect depending which description best describes the performance. If the performance is below that described for 1 mark, the candidate will get 0 for that
aspect. The assessor must give examples of performance to justify the marks awarded. In addition, assessors may tape the assessment, but detailed reports will still be required. At least one occasion must be taped and made available to the internal and external verifiers. Where candidates prepare notes for the exchange, for example as part of a presentation, these should be kept with the assessor’s observation report for verification.
To successfully achieve the Speaking and Listening unit at Level 1, the candidate must pass all three tasks. The pass mark for each task is 6 out of a possible maximum of 12. 6 represents bare competence at the level, however
the marking system is designed to allow strengths in particular areas to compensate for any weaknesses. There is no grading system for achievement above the level of a pass.
Candidates should have practised all of the skills in a range of different contexts before they are assessed. When they are ready, candidates will need a degree of preparation for the assessment tasks. For the discussion, they may need to have watched the previous evening’s news. For the presentation, they will need to have prepared their contribution. For the telephone call, they will need to have been briefed on the role-play or they will need to explain the purpose to the assessor if it is a real call. It is important that preparation is limited to this and that candidates are not rehearsed in the assessment tasks.