Test | Definition of test| Types of test | Assignment | Presentation



In General, Test is a collection of questions, tasks or problems that are designed to see if a person understands a subject or measure their ability to do somethings. But  in ELT, test is a process of measuring learners’ knowledge or skill in a particular issue through some oral or written procedures. It is a means to show both the students and the teacher how much the learners have learnt during a course. It also  used to display the strength and weaknesses of the teaching process and help the teacher to improve. Tests are one form of assessment.

According to Andrew Harrison, 
“A test is seen as a natural extension of classroom work, providing teacher and students with useful information that can serve each as a basis for improvement.” A Language Testing Handbook]

Types of Test: [Purposes]

  • Proficiency tests
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Placement tests
  • Achievement tests
  • Aptitude tests
  • Admission tests
  • Progress tests
  • Language dominance tests

Proficiency tests:

  • Measure general ability in a language
  • Regardless of previous training

Diagnostic tests:

  • Identify students’ strengths and weaknesses
  • To benefit future instruction
  • Difficult to construct.  Lack of good ones.

Placement tests:

  • To assign students to classes/programs appropriate to their level of proficiency
  • Define characteristics of each level of proficiency

Achievement tests:

  • Measure how successful students are in achieving objectives of a lesson/course/curriculum
  • Closely related to the content of a particular lesson/course/ curriculum
  • Syllabus content approach or course objectives approach?
  • Final achievement tests / progress achievement tests (formative assessment)
  • Frequency

Aptitude tests:

  • To predict a person’s future success in learning a (any) foreign language
  • Taken before actual learning
  • Admission tests:
  • to provide information about whether a candidate is likely to succeed 

Progress tests:

  • tests—to assess students’ mastery of the course material (during the course)
  • Language dominance tests:
  • to assess bilingual learners’ relative strength of the 2 languages

Language dominance tests:

to assess bilingual learners’ relative strength of the 2 languages

Direct vs. indirect testing

  • Direct testing:

-Requires Ss to perform the skill to be measured

  • Indirect testing:

-Measures the abilities underlying the skills to be measured

-Ex. A writing test that requires Ss to identify grammatical errors in sentences

  • Semi-direct testing:

-tape recorded speaking test


  • Direct testing: 

-practicality (limited resources)

-small sample of tasks

  • Indirect testing:

-nature of the trait to be measured

-relationship b/w test performance and skills tested

Discrete point vs. integrative tests:

  • Discrete point tests:

-Focus on one linguistic element at a time

-Assumption: language can be broken down into separate element

-tend to be indirect

  • Integrative tests:

-Requires to students to combine many linguistic elements 

-Unitary trait/competence hypothesis (Oller)

-tend to be direct

-Ex. Composition, dictation, cloze tests, note-taking

Norm v.s. Criterion-referenced tests

Objective vs. subjective tests:

  • Scoring of tests
  • Objective tests:

-Requires no judgment from the scorer

-Ex. Multiple choice, T/F tests

  • Subjective tests:

-Requires judgment from the scorer

-Ex. Essay questions, composition

  • Different degrees of subjectivity

History of language testing:

  • Prescientific period (b/f 1950s) GTM, reading-oriented methods.
  • Psychometric-structuralist period (1950s-1960s) structural linguistics, behavioral psychology, discrete point tests.
  • Integrative-sociolinguistic period (a/f 1960s) communicative language ability.

Communicative competence:

  • Grammatical competence
  • Discourse competence
  • Sociolinguistic competence
  • Strategic competence
  • Communicative language testing:
  • Communicative nature of tasks 
  • Authenticity of tasks

Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT):

  • Saves time and effort
  • Start with average level of difficulty, lower/increase levels of difficulty according to test taker’s performance
  • Needs a bank of items graded by difficulty

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