INTEGRATED SKILLS

WHAT’S AN INTEGRATED-SKILL TASK?

Some years ago when we had to take any international examination to assess our competence and proficiency in the English language, we usually had to cope with independent tasks. That is, that reading was evaluated only through reading comprehension exercises involving multiple-choice questions mainly; listening through listening comprehension exercises with multiple-choice questions as well; writing was usually evaluated by writing an opinion essay answering an isolated question; and speaking probably was assessed through a short interview.

 

However, not so long ago thanks the development of new approaches related to language learning and teaching processes (e.g. communicative approach, task-based approach), the necessity to integrate skills in evaluation processes raised. Hence, some international examinations like TOEFL started to implement this sort of questioning in the tests, and thanks to the incorporation of ITC to the world of education this sort of tasks became essential part of them.

 

So, an integrated-skill task involves two or three skills in only one question. The goal here for the test taker is not only to demonstrate receptive (comprehension) abilities but also to show evidence on skillful language production based on information they have just received. Some integrated-skill questions involve listening to a passage first and then provide an oral answer to a question based on the information the test taker just heard. The other two types of integrated-skill questions involve reading and listening to two different passages on a same topic and then give either an oral or written answer to a question based on the written and oral passages previously presented.

 

Throughout our course we are going to focus on this sort of integrated-skill questions and on different strategies and techniques that will take us to efficient completion of the goals each task requires.