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4/3/2 in the 21st Century: Formative Assessment of Fluency through Digital Recording

Price, William C. (2014) 4/3/2 in the 21st Century: Formative Assessment of Fluency through Digital Recording. In: Three Rivers TESOL 2014 Fall Conference, 25 Oct 2014, Pittsburgh, PA.

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Maurice (1983) pioneered a 4/3/2 fluency activity for intermediate to advanced learners in which each student speaks on the same topic three times in shrinking time frames: four minutes, three minutes, and finally two minutes. Shrinking the time frame places pressure on students to use time economically by avoiding hesitations and increasing fluency of speech. While Maurice’s original activity had students speaking with partners and involved little teacher or student assessment of performance, the ubiquity of cheap digital recording technology (computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.) enables teachers of the 21st century to reconstruct the activity as a formative self-assessment with teacher feedback.

In my version of the activity, students watch a humorous short film full of concrete, reportable events two times (Eggleston, 2000). Students then record themselves narrating the events of the film for two minutes, after which they listen to the recording to notice their hesitations and self-assess their fluency. Students then record the same narration in one minute thirty seconds, followed by listening and self-assessment. Finally, students record the narration in one minute and again listen and self-assess. Students discuss and reflect upon their experiences, especially on the extent of self-perceived improvement. The teacher collects the final recording in order to review it and provide written feedback targeting hesitations, word linking, or other fluency-related performance targets.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Price, William C.wcp5@pitt.eduwcp5
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > English language Institute
Date: 25 October 2014
Event Title: Three Rivers TESOL 2014 Fall Conference
Event Dates: 25 Oct 2014
Event Type: Conference
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Refereed: Yes
Official URL:
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2017 15:27
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2017 15:27


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