Rehearsed speech, Spontaneous speech, Temporal fluency, Fluency features, Speaking assessment, OPIc


Two assumptions of speaking proficiency tests are that the speech produced is spontaneous and the the scores on those tests predict what examinees can do in real world communicative situations. Therefore, when examinees memorize scripts for their oral responses, the validity of the score interpretation is threatened. While the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines identify rehearsed content as a major hindrance to interviewees being rated above Novice High, many examinees still prepare for speaking tests by memorizing and rehearsing scripts hoping these "performances" are awarded higher scores. To investigate this phenomenon, researchers screened 300 previously rated Oral Proficiency Interview computer (OPIc) tests and found 39 examinees who had at least one response that had been tagged as rehearsed. Each examinee’s responses were then transcribed, and the spontaneous and rehearsed tasks were compared. Temporal fluency articulation rates differed significantly between the spontaneous and rehearsed segments; however, the strongest evidence of memorization lay in the transcriptions and the patterns that emerged within and across interviews. Test developers, therefore, need to be vigilant in creating scoring guidelines for rehearsed content.

Original Publication Citation

Gates, G., Cox, T.L., Bell, T.R. et al. Line, please? An analysis of the rehearsed speech characteristics of native Korean speakers on the English Oral Proficiency Interview—Computer (OPIc). Lang Test Asia 10, 18 (2020).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Language Testing in Asia







University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor