Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments

Shaping English Language Assessments
with Research + Experience

CaMLA Speaking Test

The CaMLA Speaking Test is easy to administer. Sit down with your candidates, begin the test, and 10 minutes later you’ll have meaningful results about their spoken English language proficiency. It’s a quick, reliable way to test a person’s ability to speak comprehensible English.

Capture the following key areas of spoken language performance:

  • fluency and intelligibility
  • vocabulary range and relevance to task
  • grammatical complexity and accuracy
  • ability to successfully complete a specific task

Use the CaMLA Speaking Test:

  • as a placement tool for ESL/EFL courses
  • to show student progress
  • as an exit test
  • to show readiness for work-related tasks
  • to demonstrate progress in employees’ spoken English-language proficiency

Sample Speaking Test Prompt

A CaMLA Speaking Test is fully scripted for the examiner. Both the examiner and the test taker have a prompt:

How to Use the CaMLA Speaking Test

The CaMLA Speaking Test is designed to evaluate the ability to produce comprehensible speech in response to a range of tasks and topics. The test measures general speaking proficiency and requires test takers to speak on a range of topics, situated in the personal, public, educational, and occupational domains. The CaMLA Speaking Test is therefore useful in a wide variety of settings.

Test Format and Administration

The test is a structured, one-on-one interaction between a test taker and an examiner. The spoken interaction is centered around five distinct tasks. The tasks are presented to the test taker both orally by the examiner and textually on the prompt. This lessens the test taker’s reliance on other language skills (beyond speaking) to perform well on this test. The 5 tasks are:

  • Task 1: Describe a picture
  • Task 2: Talk about a personal experience related to the theme of the picture in Task 1
  • Task 3: Give and support a personal opinion on a topic similar to Task 2
  • Task 4: Explain the advantages and disadvantages of a specific situation
  • Task 5: Give an opinion on a specific issue and convince the examiner to agree with that opinion

The test takes about 6–10 minutes to complete.

Test Scoring

The speaking examiner scores the test using the CaMLA Speaking Test Evaluation Criteria and Rating Scale. The test package contains reproducible score sheets, an evaluation criteria, a rating scale, examiner training materials with accompanying DVDs, and detailed instructions on how to assess test takers’ performance. The test can be scored quickly and easily. It is possible to administer the test, calculate the scores, and report them back to test takers immediately.

The testing coordinator’s manual contains guidance on how to interpret CaMLA Speaking Test scores. Scores can be used to:

  • place ESL/EFL learners into English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL) courses
  • show student progress throughout a course, and/or as an exit test at the end of a period of instruction

How do CaMLA Speaking Test scores relate to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels?

The CaMLA Speaking Test assesses spoken language proficiency from the high beginner to low advanced levels, targeting the A2 to C1 ability levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). For the purposes of this test, speaking is defined as the ability to:

  • produce spoken English coherently, at length, and directly in response to specific questions
  • express one’s ideas using a wide variety of vocabulary that is directly relevant to the task, using accurate and complex grammatical structures
  • deliver such speech intelligibly (with clear pronunciation and natural sentence rhythm and intonation), fluently (without many pauses and attempts at repair of one’s ideas that interrupt the flow of communication), and at a natural speech rate, so that the listener does not need to work hard to understand the speech

For more details about the CaMLA Speaking Test, see Linking the Common European Framework of Reference and the CaMLA Speaking Test and the CaMLA Speaking Test Development Report. It describes the development of the test and a description of the test construct, task and rating scale development, and advice on how to set cut scores.

The CaMLA Speaking Test package includes:

  • 5 copies of CaMLA Speaking Test prompts A, B, and C
  • 1 reproducible score sheet
  • 3 copies of the evaluation criteria and rating scale
  • Testing coordinator’s manual
  • Examiner training material (manual + DVDs)

So easy to administer. And scores can be given immediately to the test taker — within 10 minutes time!