Text: Assessment criteria

It is important to know the criteria for evaluating student performance. The most important criteria are accuracy, fluency, communicative effectiveness, non-verbal elements and attitude. Now, let us analyse these criteria one by one. 


Being accurate means being correct, precise, exact. When studying a language, being accurate means using a language correctly, precisely, exactly. Therefore, when assessing accuracy, you must focus on how learners use the grammatical structures of the language. Remember that students' accuracy should increase when they have a higher language level.


Being fluent means using the language in a casual and serene manner. A fluent learner takes few pauses, interrupts little, does little repetition and few self-corrections. Fluency is an assessment criterion for spoken and written language. A fluent learner writes correctly even when writing quickly. When assessing fluency, remember to put grammar aside. You must focus on the fact that your students speak and write naturally. 

Communicative effectiveness

Being effective means being able to communicate a message. Effectiveness is therefore a criterion very much related to the ability to solve a task and thus to communicate. When assessing effectiveness, focus on what students do, say, write and not on how they do, say, write. 

Non-verbal elements

Non-verbal elements are the characteristics of communication that are not immediately linked to words. Non-verbal elements are facial expressions, gestures, posture, eye contact and head movement. Assessing these elements is important because with the non-verbal elements the teacher also gathers information about the students' communicative effectiveness. If a student says "I want to talk to you" without making eye contact with the person he or she wants to talk to, he or she is speaking correctly and fluently, but he or she is not speaking effectively. 

In a sense, paralinguistic elements confirm, contradict, substitute, complement and emphasise our message; therefore, it is crucial to teach students how to control these elements with appropriate evaluation. 


Attitude indicates how learners feel about a task. It is important to assess this aspect to better understand students' preferences. In this way, the teacher better understands the impact of learning on students, discovers students' strengths and weaknesses, and helps them work on them. 

To download this text in pdf, please click here

Last modified: Friday, 24 June 2022, 1:00 PM