Hardi Prasetyo


This paper reviews the studies on paired oral tests in the last ten years (2007-2017). Using the search facilities in Iowa State University’s library, nine articles from some journals in the field of applied linguistics were chosen based on the inclusion criteria. Those journals are Language Testing, Language Assessment Quarterly, Applied Linguistics, and Procedia – Social and Behavioral Science. Three reasons why paired oral tests are better than interview test or individual format test are then discussed. Those are promoting and improving students’ interactional competence, creating students’ co-constructed discourse, and providing insights for better scale development and rater training. Paired oral tests provide opportunities for students to interact with peers in the tests, enable them to practice and improve their interactional competence. Paired oral tests also enable students to co-construct their discourse, even though there is an issue of grading the scores individually or collaboratively. The last is, more information about students’ and raters’ perception were gained that helps improve the rating scale and inform rater training. This paper is concluded with the call for more studies on paired oral tests to provide more insights into this complex process of creating co-constructed discourse and how to validly and reliably test both its process and product.



pair oral test, interactional competence, co-constructed discourse

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Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. S. (1996). Language testing in practice: Designing and developing useful language tests. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bennett, R. (2012). Is linguistic ability variation in paired oral language testing problematic? ELT Journal, 66(3), 337–346.

Brooks, L. (2009). Interacting in pairs in a test of oral proficiency: Co-constructing a better performance. Language Testing, 26(3), 341–366.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th Ed.). London: SAGE Publications.

Davis, L. (2009). The influence of interlocutor proficiency in a paired oral assessment. Language Testing, 26(3), 367–396.

Ducasse, A. M., & Brown, A. (2009). Assessing paired orals: Raters’ orientation to interaction. Language Testing, 26(3), 423–443.

Galaczi, E. D. (2008). Peer–peer interaction in a speaking test: The case of the First Certificate in English examination. Language Assessment Quarterly, 5(2), 89–119.

Galaczi, E. D. (2014). Interactional competence across proficiency levels: How do learners manage interaction in paired speaking tests? Applied Linguistics, 35(5), 553–574.

Kramsch, C. (1986). From language proficiency to interactional competence. The Modern Language Journal, 70(4), 366–372.

Laborda, J. G., Juan, N. O. de, & Bakieva, M. (2015). Co-participation in oral paired Interviews: Preliminary findings of the OPENPAU project. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 191, 559–563.

Lazaraton, A., & Davis, L. (2008). A microanalytic perspective on discourse, proficiency, and identity in paired oral assessment. Language Assessment Quarterly, 5(4), 313–335.

May, L. (2009). Co-constructed interaction in a paired speaking test: The rater’s perspective. Language Testing, 26(3), 397–421.

Ockey, G. J., & Li, Z. (2015). New and not so new methods for assessing oral communication. Language Value, 7(1), 1–21.


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p-ISSN: 1410-7201 (since 12 March 1998); e-ISSN: 2579-9533 (since 16 May 2017)

LLT Journal Vol 21, No 2, publication date: 30 October 2018

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