Lesson 3: Direct Assessment

Direct Assessment

Direct assessment of language allows teachers to see students using language in context, through tasks that require performance of language. Direct assessment is often used in measuring speaking or writing. Examples of direct assessment might include presentations, interviews, writing summaries, or portfolios. On the sample test, Part 8 "Timed Writing" is an example of direct assessment.

Advantages of Direct Assessment

Before watching the video, think about what the advantages are for direct assessment in language testing.


Language teachers talk about the advantages of using direct methods in assessing language.

Duration: 02:06

Direct assessment is often preferred for assessing language for a number of reasons:

  • increased potential for communicative interaction,
  • better evidence for language use,
  • more motivating for students, and
  • more authenticity.

Disadvantages of Direct Assessment


Language teachers consider weaknesses in using direct assessment.

Duration: 03:31

Some problems with direct assessment include:

  • performance anxiety,
  • some inauthenticity in interview structure,
  • time-consuming to conduct and score, and
  • difficulty in finding the best method for scoring.