Oral Fluency and Pronunciation Scoring Criteria

Pearson defines Oral Fluency as the smooth, effortless and natural-paced delivery of speech. On the other hand, Pronunciation is the production of speech sounds in a way that is easily understandable to most regular speakers of the language. Regional or national varieties of English pronunciation are considered correct to the degree that they are easily understandable to most regular speakers of the language.

These are enabling skills that are used to rate performance in the productive skill of speaking.

The following scoring criteria were established by Pearson and serve as guide for students and teachers alike:


5 Native-like All vowels and consonants are produced in a manner that is easily understood by regular speakers of the language. The speaker uses assimilation and deletions appropriate to continuous speech. Stress is placed correctly in all words and sentence-level stress is fully appropriate.
4 Advanced Vowels and consonants are pronounced clearly and unambiguously. A few minor consonant, vowel or stress distortions do not affect intelligibility. All words are easily understandable. A few consonants or consonant sequences may be distorted. Stress is placed correctly on all common words, and sentence level stress is reasonable.
3 Good Most vowels and consonants are pronounced correctly. Some consistent errors might make a few words unclear. A few consonants in certain contexts may be regularly distorted, omitted or mispronounced. Stress-dependent vowel reduction may occur on a few words.
2 Intermediate Some consonants and vowels are consistently mispronounced in a non-native like manner. At least 2/3 of speech is intelligible, but listeners might need to adjust to the accent. Some consonants are regularly omitted, and consonant sequences may be simplified. Stress may be placed incorrectly on some words or be unclear.
1 Limited Many consonants and vowels are mispronounced, resulting in a strong intrusive foreign accent. Listeners may have difficulty understanding about 1/3 of the words. Many consonants may be distorted or omitted. Consonant sequences may be non-English. Stress is placed in a non-English manner; unstressed words may be reduced or omitted and a few syllables added or missed.
0 Disfluent Pronunciation seems completely characteristic of another language. Many consonants and vowels are mispronounced, misordered or omitted. Listeners may find more than ½ of the speech unintelligible. Stressed and unstressed syllables are realized in a non-English manner. Several words may have the wrong number of syllables.

Oral Fluency

5 Native-like Speech shows smooth rhythm and phrasing. There are no hesitations, repetitions, false starts or non-native phonological simplifications
4 Advanced Speech has an acceptable rhythm with appropriate phrasing and word emphasis. There is no more than one hesitation, one repetition or a false start. There are no significant non-native phonological simplifications
3 Good Speech is at an acceptable speed but may be uneven. There may be more than one hesitation, but most words are spoken in continuous phrases. There are few repetitions or false starts. There are no long pauses and speech does not sound staccato
2 Intermediate Speech may be uneven or staccato. Speech (if>=6 words) has at least one smooth three-word run, and no more than two or three hesitations, repetitions or false starts. There may be one long pause, but not two or more
1 Limited Speech has irregular phrasing or sentence rhythm. Poor phrasing, staccato or syllabic timing, and/or multiple hesitations, repetitions, and/or false starts make spoken performance notably uneven or discontinuous. Long utterances may have one or two long pauses and inappropriate sentence-level word emphasis
0 Disfluent Speech is slow and labored with little discernable phrase grouping, multiple hesitations, pauses, false starts, and/or major phonological simplifications. Most words are isolated, and there may be more than one long pause


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