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Listening is key to all effective communication. To improve student listening skills, we need to be able to gather data on their skills, target specific areas of need, and then be able to provide personalized instruction and practice.

At Listenwise we support teachers in their practice by providing instructional support in 21st century skills, specifically listening. In order to best build listening skills, we identified the 8 key elements of listening and aligned them to Common Core State Standards in Listening and Speaking, Reading, and SBAC evidence statements. There is a direct link between what we are measuring and the standards taught on the CCSS and what is being assessed in the SBAC Claim #3.

We developed ways to help students practice the discrete skill of listening with a multiple choice formative listening assessment. Within these assessments we included questions on these 8 key components, so teachers can analyze data by key listening strands. By looking at overall quiz data and breaking it down by key listening component, teachers can see patterns and identify needs, both for a class and individual students who might need additional support, and then move forward to meet those needs.

Already we’ve seen that teachers who have been using Listenwise are seeing growth in their students’ listening outcomes. Benton Lewis, an ELA teacher from Fresno, California saw a 12% increase in SBAC listening performance from 2015 to 2016. He’s excited to go further now that the assessments are available.

“Being able to look at the [listening] strands and who did well and who didn’t, allows us to reteach…so we can do more focused teaching on those lessons at a later point.” said Lewis.

How did we decide what 8 key components of listening we wanted to track and assess? We identified elements that are seen in reading assessments because we know the important connection between reading and listening. While listening and reading are both comprehension skills, the kinds of natural speech found in these audio stories is not organized as a well-written essay, with a topic sentence or linear progression of ideas. Students need to practice identifying and summarizing the most important ideas in the audio. When students are listening to a speaker’s voice, they can also pay attention to the tone, emphasis, and pacing of the speech to make inferences and identify the speaker’s point of view.


The Key Components of Listening

      • Literal Knowledge: A question about descriptions, facts and details including  information that is explicitly stated is asked in each quiz.
      • Vocabulary: A question about word meanings is asked in each quiz, identifying the meaning of words in the context of the story.
      • Inferencing: A question asking students to make an inference as they listen is included in each quiz, connecting pieces of text together with student prior knowledge and experience, that goes beyond the literal meaning of the audio content.
      • Main Idea: A question asking students to generalize the content as a whole and identify the main ideas of the information presented is asked in each quiz.
      • Summarizing and Drawing Conclusions: Students are asked to identify a summary of the audio content and its overall ideas, or draw conclusions by making a judgement about the information provided in the audio story.  
      • Point of View and Speaker’s Purpose: Students listen to identify and evaluate the speaker’s purpose and why they are sharing this information. Students also identify the point of view of the story or the viewpoint of a speaker in the story.
      • Analyze Reasoning: Students  evaluate the reasoning , credibility, and relevance of a speaker or author’s ideas and information.
      • Finding Evidence: Students identify quotes or statements in the audio that provide evidence to support their thinking and inferences about the content.



Example of a question on the component of Literal Knowledge:
listening assessment question on literal knowledge

Example of a question on the component of Speaker’s Purpose:

listening comprehension quiz question on speaker's purpose

Example of a question on the component of Finding Evidence:

listening comprehension quiz question on finding evidence

If you have Premium Listenwise access you can access the quizzes right away. Log in and look for the Quiz icon next to lesson titles. We are adding new quizzes every week.
If you don’t have Premium yet,  your students take our Listening Challenge for free!

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