Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Progression in Spoken English

Dr Paul Thompson.

Current approaches to oral assessment in English secondary schools tend to concentrate more on ‘confidence’ and ‘participation’ than the quality of children’s thinking, thereby undermining the rich possibilities in classroom talk for cognitive development. Such behavioural assessment approaches deny the essentially cognitive character of spoken English. This paper compares two brief extracts from a much larger data-set of students engaged in small group debate on the subject of abortion. The less able students are hindered in their discussion by an inability to conceptualise abstractly. It is suggested that an oral assessment framework which foregrounded a model of cognitive progression would enable these students to develop as speakers by encouraging teachers to explicitly develop the quality of their thinking


Dr Paul Thompson  (United Kingdom)
lecturer in education
School of Education
The University of Nottingham

Paul Thompson has worked as a Lecturer in English Education at the University of Nottingham for three years. Previously, he taught English for many years in a range of secondary schools in the City of Nottingham.

  • Oral assessment
  • Progression in spoken English
  • Cognitive development
Person as Subject
  • Vygotsky, L.S.

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)