This paper reports on a microanalysis of gestural behavior in classroom assessment situations. Videotaped excerpts of secondary school ESL students engaged in a peer group oral assessment task were transcribed to represent the gestures that occurred during the interaction. Using conversation analysis as a central tool for analysis, this study explored the potential differences in use of gestures between higher- and lower-scoring students in group oral language assessment situations. Results show that gestures of the higher-scoring group appeared to be well synchronized with the flow of speech, turn-taking, as well as other nonverbal behavior such as eye contact and facial expression, whereas the gestural behavior of the lower-scoring group appeared to be an outward sign of language difficulties, disfluency, tension, and lack of confidence, and largely bore no association to the verbal speech. In addition, in the higher-scoring group, gestures seemed to function at all the three discourse levels (paranarrative, metanarrative, and narrative), while in the lower-scoring group, gestures seemed to be utilized predominantly at the paranarrative level and be involved in self-organizational processes. Implications for current oral test criterion modification and for students' test preparation are discussed.
CitationGan, Z., & Davison, C. (2011). Gestural behavior in group oral assessment: A case study of higher- and lower-scoring students. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 21(1), 94-120.
- Oral assessment
- Conversation analysis
- Group discussion