Grading speaking is hard.

And grading interpersonal speaking is even harder.

Here are some tips to help you get over the struggle and assess interpersonal speaking.

Weekly Conversations

The first step is to engage your students in weekly conversations in the target language.

This can be weekend talk, random questions, or small talk.

Here are some of my Conversation Starters

Purpose: Get to Know Students

The sole purpose of these conversations is NOT to work on vocabulary or grammar, but to get to know your students through the target language.

Any Conversation Can Be an Assessment

Any conversation you have with a student in the target language is potentially an assessment.

Name Cards

I have small flash cards that I make in Google Docs with each student's name on it on one side and blank on the other.

I print these out on card stock, one color per class.

I use them like popsicle sticks to randomly call on students.

Name Template


Using a rubric, I mentally assess the students speaking ability and note it on the back of their card.

I average every 3 grades together for a speaking quiz grade.

Conversation Rubric

Basic Rubric

A = answers questions + adds to conversation
B = answers questions + sustains conversation
C = answer questions only
D = difficulty answering questions
F = unable to answer questions

Know Your Rubric

If you pull out the rubric while the student is speaking, you're going to scare them and raise their affective filter.

Know your rubric so that you can mentally assess and mark down the grade on the card.

Let Students Know...

that any conversation can be potentially assessed.

If you know it's a bad day or student's grade is unusually low, skip marking it down and wait for another day.