Computer-implemented systems and methods are provided for automatically generating recitation items. For example, a computer performing the recitation item generation can receive one or more text sets that each includes one or more texts. The computer can determine a value for each text set using one or more metrics, such as a vocabulary difficulty metric, a syntactic complexity metric, a phoneme distribution metric, a phonetic difficulty metric, and a prosody distribution metric. Then the computer can select a final text set based on the value associated with each text set. The selected final text set can be used as the recitation items for a speaking assessment test.