2 Two Major Uses of Language Tests 1. education: as sources of information for making decisions within the context of educational programs.2. research: as indicators of abilities or attributes that are of interest in research on language, language acquisition, language teaching.
3 Education: Assumptions The use of tests as a source of evaluation information requires 3 assumptions.1. Information regarding educational outcomes is essential to effective formal education: accountability and feedback are essential mechanisms for the continued effectiveness of any educational program.2. It is possible to improve learning and teaching through appropriate changes in the program.3. The educational outcomes of the given program are measurable.
4 Education: Considerations The amount and type of testing: depends on the decisions to be made and the type of information for the correct decisions.The quality of the information: reliable and valid, cost effectiveness
5 Types of DecisionsSelection: tests and other measurement devices may be used to help decide who will be accepted or rejected by an institution.Placement: tests are used to identify a particular performance level of the student and to place him or her at an appropriate level of instruction. The test content may be based on either a theory of language proficiency or on the learning objectives of the syllabus to be taken.
6 Types of DecisionsDiagnosis: to determine a person's strengths and weaknesses in order to improve performance. Diagnosis test is either theory or syllabus based.
7 Types of DecisionsProgress and grading: provide information about the effectiveness of programs of instruction.The aptitude test :the aptitude test is conceived as a prognostic measure that indicates whether a student is likely to learn a second language readily. It is generally given before the student begins language study, and may be used to select students for a language course or to place students in sections appropriate to their ability.
8 Types of Tests Objective vs Subjective Tests Direct vs Indirect Tests Discrete-Point vs. Integrative Tests
9 Objective vs Subjective Tests Usually these types of tests are distinguished on the basis of the manner in which they are scored. An objective test is said to be one that may be scored by comparing examinee responses with an established set of acceptable responses or scoring key. A common example would be a multiple-choice recognition test. Conversely a subjective test is said to require scoring by opinionated judgment, hopefully based on insight and expertise, on the part of the scorer. An example might be the scoring of free, written compositions for the presence of creativity in a situation where no operational definitions of creativity are provided and where there is only one rater.
10 Direct vs Indirect Tests It has been said that certain tests, such as ratings of language use in real and uncontrived communication situations, are testing language performance directly; whereas other tests, such as multiple-choice recognition tests, are obliquely or indirectly tapping true language performance and therefore are less valid for measuring language proficiency.
11 Discrete-Point vs. Integrative Tests Discrete-point tests, as a variety of diagnostic tests, are designed to measure knowledge or performance in very restricted areas of the target language. Thus a test of ability to use correctly the perfect tenses of English verbs or to supply correct prepositions in a cloze passage may be termed a discrete-point test. Integrative tests, on the other hand, are said to tap a greater variety of language abilities concurrently and therefore may have less diagnostic and remedial-guidance value and greater value in measuring overall language proficiency. Examples of integrative tests are random cloze, dictation, oral interviews, and oral imitation tasks.
19 Research Uses of Language Test Language proficiencyIdentify and verify various components of language proficiency: sensitivity to cohesive relationships, discourse organization, and differences in register.Language processingIdentify processing errors, elicit information about language processing.Language acquisitionResearch on the nature of language acquisition: indicators or variables of different components of communicative language ability.Language attritionLanguage teaching
20 Features for Types of Language Test Language tests can be classified according to five distinctive features:Purpose & useContentFrame of referenceScoringProcedure technique
21 Purpose & Use In research, tests are used to provide information. In educational settings, tests are classified according to the type of decision to be made:Admission decision: selection, entrance, readinessIdentification of instructive levels: placement, diagnosticObjectives of the program: progress, achievement, attainment, mastery
22 ContentThe content of language tests are either theory based or syllabus based.
23 Frame of ReferenceThe result of language tests can be interpreted in two different ways, depending on the frame of reference.Norm-referenced test: test scores are interpreted in relation to the performance of a particular group of individuals.Criterion-referenced test: with respect to a specific level of domain of ability.
24 Norm-referenced TestFrequently used norms: mean x-, standard deviation sStandardized test: based on a fixed or standard content, standard procedures for administering and scoring the test, and has been thoroughly tried out.NR tests are designed and developed to maximize distinctions among individual test takers. Items of such tests are selected according to how well they discriminate individuals.
26 Criterion-referenced Test The necessary condition: the specification of a level of ability or domain of content.CR tests are designed to be representative of specified levels of ability or domains of content, and the items are selected according to how adequately they represent these ability levels.