About SECA Syllabus


The SECA syllabus covers topics for the Spoken English Certification Assessment 2019. This assessment tests candidates in the upper primary classes (Years 5 and 6) Year 9, Year 12 and any candidates who have completed Level 1 and 2 of our Spoken English course and are yet to be certified. The candidates will be tested on four basic skills:

  • Spelling
  • Pronunciation
  • Reading
  • Listening

These skills will be assessed under the following modules:

  • Phonemic awareness—vowels
  • Phonemic awareness—consonants
  • Grammar—un-English expressions
  • Listening for details
  • Stress
  • Intonation
  • Pronunciation
  • Glides and link sounds




The practical aspect of spoken English is often de-emphasized. It is apparent that students in the secondary school level are taught oral English only in theoretical terms. They have an idea of what the phonemes stand for but no one emphasizes use of the right pronunciation, stress and intonation. The Spoken English Certification Assessment sets out to encourage application of theoretical knowledge. And at what better level can we get candidates to speak right and grow with it than at the primary level. This syllabus covers all core areas of spoken English as used globally. The assessment aims to examine the candidate’s ability to

  • Use the right English accent
  • Apply appropriate stress
  • Pronounce words correctly
  • Use the right phonemes when speaking
  • Use right English expressions and not ‘nativised’ ones
  • Understand or comprehend well spoken English
  • Use the English glide and link sounds
  • Comprehend the difference between rapid speech and slow or careful speech
  • Correct un-English expressions






PRACTICAL: Each candidate is expected to record a two-minute presentation on a topic specified by the assessment body. The subject for the presentation will be sent to all registered schools, and also be posted on one month before the assessment date. The video recording must be uploaded two weeks before the assessment date. Any recording that does not get uploaded two weeks before the assessment date will be invalid.

Each candidate should focus on the following aspects when recording their presentations.

  • Pronunciation
  • Grammar
  • Intonation
  • Stress
  • Clarity of speech
  • Use of glides and links
  • Use of weak forms




The assessment is in ten categories represented in ten sections. Each section comprises ten questions.

  • Memory: the candidates’ memory as it relates to the sounds of the letters of the alphabet, and phonemes.
  • Pronunciation: candidates choose the right pronunciation of spelt-out words.
  • Spelling: candidates choose the right spelling for given pronounced words.
  • Stress: various stress patterns are given for each word in this section and candidates are expected to choose the right option.
  • Intonation: candidates are to identify the tone in which a given sentence is said.
  • Vowels/Consonants: candidates are required to identify two words containing the same consonant or vowel sound.
  • Glides: candidates are expected to choose the option with the given glide or link sound.
  • Grammar: candidates are to correct sentences that contain wrong expressions, or are altogether incorrect.
  • Listening: this section tests each candidate’s listening skills as they are expected to choose from the given options the one that corresponds with the sentences spoken.



The SECA Syllabus contains topics must be covered in the scheme for candidates to excel in the examination.Please note that not all teachers are qualified to teach the Diction-in-English course in schools. It is highly recommended that graduates of English Language and Mass Communication or teachers certified by ICCOM or any such organisation handle this aspect of teaching where there are no recommended learning aids. The following topics must be covered:

  1. Sounds: candidates must know how letters of the English alphabet are related to the sounds of the phonemes. They should also be familiar with the terms used to refer to particular phonemes.

  • Short and Long Sounds of Vowels.
  • Short ‘a’—æ pat, mat, bag, hand, black, can
  • Long ‘a’—eI page, gave, name, trade, made
  • Short ‘e’—e pet, met, bread, keg, regret, pen
  • Long ‘e’—i: me, meat, tree, green, she, steam
  • Short ‘i’—I sit, kill, zip, trip, village, captain
  • Long ‘i’—aI kite, buy, sky, ride, cry, pie, die
  • Short ‘o’—ɒ pot, moth, cot, stop, shop, trot
  • Long ‘o’—əƱ cold, pope, soap, know, throat, go
  • Short ‘u’—ʌ cut, shut, rough, stuff, hut, flood
  • Long ‘u’—ju: cube, tune, soup, coup, cool, too


  • Other sounds
  • Little ‘u’—Ʊ hood, stood, pull, put, could
  • Schwa—ə ahead, around, observe, status
  • Soft g—ʤ arrange, George, strange, giant
  • Hard g—g gap, frog, against, ghost, got
  • Soft ch—ʧ church, chance, such, branch
  • Hard ‘ch’—k Christ, chemistry, chrome
  • Soft ‘c’—s cell, cement, rice, ceiling
  • Hard ‘c’—k cat, cock, car, club, carrot 13
  1. Pronunciation

    Candidates must be familiar with the right pronunciations of words. This incorporates phonemic awareness and stress—loud and faint parts of words. Specific words should be itemized each week for the candidates to practice. These words are everyday words found in the candidates’ English texts and newspapers.

  2. Spellings

    Candidates must go through a progressive course in spellings. This spelling goes beyond simply calling letters. The letters are said in a particular pattern and with the right names. Candidates have to know which letters are doubled in certain words, and in which words you do not double them. Consider the following:


Wrong Right











  1. Stress—Loud and Faint Parts of Words

    Candidates should be exposed to the rules of stress. These rules have to do with word endings or suffixes. By the time a candidate is ready for this assessment they should learnt the following rules:


Suffix              Rule                                         Example

-ion                  2nd syllable from the end        plan.TA.tion

-ian                  2nd syllable from the end        ni.GE.rian

-ic                    2nd syllable from the end        i.dio.MAT.ic

-ment               2nd/3rd syllable from the end   ad.VER.tise.ment

-ise                  3rd syllable from the end

-ate                  3rd syllable from the end

-cy                   3rd/4th syllable from the end

-my                  3rd/4th syllable from the end

-ism                 4th/5th syllable from the end

-ical                 3rd syllable from the end

-ial                   2nd syllable from the end        ma.TE.rial

-al                    3rd syllable from the end

-ble                  3rd syllable from the end         en.DU.ra.ble

-ness               3rd syllable from the end


  1. Intonation: Candidates should be able to tell the two basic tones and differentiate between them in speech. At this level candidates are introduced to two types of intonation—the sure (fall) tone and the question (rise) tone. To achieve the question tone, an utterance is made to sound like a question. The following are utterances made in the question tone:

  • Yes/no Questions
    • Is she alright?
    • Is this for me?
    • Does it sing?
    • Did he get to school early?
    • Was the traffic heavy today?
  • Polite Requests
    • May I sit down, please?
    • Please give me a minute.
    • Could you please keep it low?
    • Can you help me?
    • Could you bring your sister along?
  • Listing Items
    • We listen, memorise, mimic, and speak in the diction-in-English class.
    • My favourites are black, red and blue.
    • She likes to play board games like: chess, scrabble, monopoly, draught, to mention a few.
    • Beans, porridge, and pounded yam are meals she can’t stand.
  • Greetings
    • Good day Mr. Cliff.
    • Good morning Your Highness.
    • Hello Francesca.
    • Good afternoon sir.
    • The following utterances are made in the SURE tone;
    • W/h questions
    • Where are you going?
    • What is your name?
    • How old are you?
    • Why are we here?



You can also download SECA Syllabus 2019

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