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

At Listenwise, we support teachers by providing instructional support in 21st century skills – particularly listening. In order to promote student competence in listening comprehension, we have identified 8 key skills and aligned them to Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessment evidence statements. There is a direct link between what we are measuring through Listenwise quizzes and the CCSS standards associated with SBAC ELA/Literacy Claim #3: Students can employ effective speaking and listening skills for a range of purposes and audiences.

We have developed multiple choice formative listening comprehension assessments that accompany Listenwise lessons. These assessments include questions related to these 8 key listening comprehension skills, so teachers can analyze student performance data to get a more nuanced picture of learning strengths and needs. By looking at the quiz data dashboard and analyzing performance by skills, teachers can see patterns and identify learning needs, both for classes and for individual students, and then design instruction to meet those needs. Teachers who have been using Listenwise report that they are seeing growth in their students’ listening outcomes.

How did we decide which 8 key listening skills we wanted to assess and track? We identified elements that are included in reading assessments because we know the important connection between reading and listening. While listening and reading both require comprehension skills, many of which overlap, the application of those skills can vary somewhat across contexts. For example, students need to practice identifying and summarizing the most important ideas in audio stories, which can be organized differently than print stories. The kinds of natural speech found in these audio stories typically does not follow the structure of a written article with a clearly articulated lead and a linear progression of ideas. 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.

8 Key Listening Comprehension Skills Assessed through Listenwise Quizzes:

  • Recognizing Literal Meaning: Questions about facts, details, or information explicitly stated in the audio story (all quizzes)
  • Understanding Vocabulary: Questions about the meanings of words as they are used in the context of the audio story (all quizzes)
  • Making Inferences: Questions asking students to make inferences as they listen to audio stories, interpreting what is said by going beyond the literal meaning (all quizzes)
  • Identifying Main Idea: Questions asking students to identify the main idea or gist of an audio story (all quizzes)
  • Summarizing Content: Questions asking students to summarize the content of an audio story
  • Determining Point of View: Questions asking students to determine a speaker’s point of view or perspective in an audio story
  • Analyzing Reasoning: Questions asking students to analyze a speaker’s reasoning or draw conclusions based on an audio story
  • Finding Evidence: Questions asking students to identify statements or details in an audio story that provide evidence to support inferences, interpretations, or conclusions

Example of a question that assesses the skill of Recognizing Literal Meaning:
listening assessment question on literal knowledge

Example of a question that assesses the skill of 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 can take our Listening Challenge for free!