Teacher-Based Assessment of Speaking in Cameroonian Secondary Schools: The Impact of Teacher Training
Speaking is an important language skill that deserves a place both in English language teaching and English language assessment. However, the assessment of speaking in Cameroonian secondary schools is still neglected in many teacher-based English language tests. Often, attempts made to assess the skill are done either almost always indirectly or informally, leaving a wide gap between tenets professed in the Competency-Based Approach (CBA) to English language teaching and practice in the field. In 2012, the government of Cameroon officially introduced the CBA as the pedagogic paradigm for the teaching of English as a Second Language (ESL), and by extension, assessment in secondary schools. Eight years down the line, little seems to have changed concerning the way speaking has always been assessed, even though the CBA requires that learners practically demonstrate knowledge, skills and values in testing situations. This article set out to evaluate the contribution of teacher training to the assessment of speaking. Data was collected through qualitative and quantitative methods. A total of 259 questionnaires were administered to examiners of the June 2019 marking session of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education (CGCE) as well as members of the Cameroon English Language and Literature Teachers’ Association (CAMELTA). Also, four interviews were conducted with the maximum variation principle in mind. The findings revealed that teacher training, both pre-service and in-service, is a major factor responsible for the neglect of speaking in assessments. It was recommended that teacher-training institutions introduce or expand courses on testing to include direct assessment of speaking and that opportunities be created for in-service teachers to acquire certification on assessment within the framework of the CBA to English language teaching.
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