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ESL speaking tests- 3 ways to do it
But, I will add this. This semester, I set up my tests so that students talk to 1-1 with a random partner (chosen by me) and with random topics from a list of 10 (chosen by me). My role is just that of an observer.
Ideally, I never like to do more than assign partners, hand out topics, tell which student to begin and then signal a topic change and then the end of the test. But, I will intervene if necessary if one partner is clearly weaker than the other one.
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The weaker student's mark is never in question-low, but for the higher level student, it can be hard to show their true abilities if the weak student is not asking them any questions, or is asking terrible ones. In this case, I'll interrupt and ask the higher level student a couple difficult questions and see how they handle it. If they handle them well, then they'll get a higher score. If not, they'll probably fall into the mid-range category and not get the highest marks.
I would never want to punish a higher level student with a low score simply because their partner was bad at asking them interesting, or appropriate questions.
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