Drama – Assessment Checklist for oracy skills

These are the categories of skills within the field of oracy, all of which can be identified and developed within this drama. The proforma that follows was used as an assessment tool by the teacher to record and evaluate each child's identifiable progress in any of these categories.

Functional skills

  • Informing – giving and receiving information, facts, opinions
  • Negotiating – planning, discussing, arguing, bargaining
  • Imagining – hypothesising, wondering, speculating
  • Controlling – exerting, acknowledging or resisting power and status, organising, persuading
  • Feeling – expressing emotion such as excitement, anger, fear, joy

*These functional skills are usually expressed both through the explicit text (or words used) and the often more important sub-text. This comprises using one function disguised beneath another – to express feeling (such as excitement) while trying to negotiate (by discussing an issue coolly), or acknowledge control (by deferent language due to a superior) while informing (giving that person facts).

Dialogic skills

  • Listening – ability to listen clearly, accurately, perceptively for subtext
  • Responding – ability to offer and respond; that is, listen, question and propose in order to sustain an interchange or conversation
  • Turn-taking – ability to listen and respond sensitively to the conversation; to contribute appropriately and not block, interrupt, pre-empt, or cut off others prematurely
  • Leading – ability to initiate ideas or talk; help to sustain and advance conversation without blocking; encourage response
  • Narrative – ability to tell a story coherently, logically and with elaboration

Linguistic skills

  • Vocal skills and control – clarity of diction; ability to control volume; ability to control speed and pause, projection and modulation (variety of tone and pitch)
  • Vocabulary – breadth; richness; detailed understanding of words
  • Grammar and syntax – correctness; complexity (elaboration of sentences and flow); articulacy (ability to express complex ideas clearly)
  • Register – control and variety of language suited to particular situations
  • Colour – ability to choose suitable level of vivid or expressive language; that is, living metaphors or similes (not dead or clichéd), etc
  • Public address – ability to express ideas publicly with confidence and hold an audience

Paralinguistic skills

  • Non-verbal and gestural – what we do with our body, arms and hands; how we stand or sit; our faces and most significantly, our eyes
  • Proxemics – physically how we place ourselves or are placed in relation to others
  • Silence – how to both use and interpret it


Name of student:
Ability/Skill Observations and comments Level
Overall ability to manage functions
Overall ability to
manage dialogue
Overall ability to manage language
Vocal skills and control
Grammar and syntax
Public address
Overall ability to manage non-verbals
Overall oracy

This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.