ELT Testing and Assessment
7:30 AM – 11:15 AM
[email protected]
CELL PHONE: 0123 592 42 33
Course Objectives:
By the end of this course, students should:
 comprehend, feel comfortable with, and be able to put to use the terminology and
fundamental concepts of language testing,
 be aware of various test formats in order to select the items, tasks, and test types
that are appropriate for a given situation,
 be able to construct tests for the assessment of linguistic competence
(grammar and vocabulary) and language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and
 understand language proficiency testing and have an awareness of some of the
standardized tests for assessment of proficiency and program placement,
 be able to use alternative forms of assessment in their classroom, in addition
to (or in place of) traditional achievement tests.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
 Lectures will present overviews of key concepts in
the field
 Seminar/workshop discussion will relate these to a
number of directed readings, from which students
will develop their own practical approaches.
Course Evaluation
 Attendance and in-class participation:
 Assignments:
Facilitating one reading discussion 5%
Mid-session test on terminology 10%
Poster presentation 15%
 Final exam:
Syllabus and Readings:
Session 1
29 September
Course overview and
guidelines. Teachers and
Learners: Issues in T&A.
Introduction to basic
concepts, principles and
terminology in language
testing and assessment.
Session 2
30 September
Theoretical foundations of testing.
Types of tests and assessments.
Article: Beghetto, R. (2004) Toward a More
Complete Picture of Student Learning: Assessing
Students’ Motivational Beliefs
Facilitators: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Textbook: Heaton, Writing English Language
Tests, Chapter 10
Facilitating one reading
discussion (5%)
Mid-session test on
terminology (10%)
Poster presentation (15%)
Facilitating one reading discussion (5%)
 Every day, 3-4 students will be assigned to lead small group
discussions on the day’s assigned article reading.
 Facilitators should come prepared with discussion questions and a
thorough analysis of the reading in order to facilitate discussion.
 Minimally, the discussion should answer these questions: Why was
this article assigned? What is its relevance in the Vietnamese ELT
 After small group discussion, the facilitators will report on key
discussion points to the full class.
Mid-session quiz on terminology (10%)
On Monday, 6 October (Session 6), a short quiz will be
administered on key terminology and concepts.
A review of possible items will be conducted on Friday,
October 5.
Poster Presentation (15%)
Every student will do a Poster Presentation, which will
be displayed in class on the final day of the course
(Wednesday, October 6). Students will take turns
describing the key elements of their presentation and
responding to questions from fellow students.
The Presentation will be about a test they have
designed (it can be a test used prior to this course or
a test designed for this presentation).
Final Exam:
 Exam Date: 17 December 2008
 Content:
Discussing key issues in Testing and Assessment with a focus on
practical classroom application
 Analyzing different test samples
Today’s Class:
Getting to know you
2. Attitudes to Testing and Assessment
3. Key concepts and terminology
4. Discussion
Getting to know you:
 Name
 Is he/she teaching now?
 If so, where?
 If not, what is he/she doing?
 Something personal to help Ms. Hull remember
him/her (but not too personal!)
Attitudes to Testing and Assessment
What do teachers think about
testing and assessment?
What do students think about
testing and assessment?
 Assessment: any evaluation of a student’s work
 All tests are assessments – but not all assessments
are tests
 Takes place at identifiable times, under time constraints
 Uses prepared administrative procedures
 Must be able to be measured and evaluated and reported
 A definition: a method of measuring a person’s ability,
knowledge, or performance in a given domain
 Measure
 Individual
 Performance
 Domain
More about non-test Assessment:
 Gives feedback to help students increase competence
 Is an ongoing process
 Informal: e.g. impromptu feedback, marginal comments on
Does not make fixed judgment or record results
Formal: e.g. review of journal writing or student’s portfolio
May result in a recorded score, but it cannot be called a test since
it typically encompasses a wide, open domain and takes place over
an extended period of time
Formative vs. Summative
 Formative assessment aims to evaluate students in
the process of “forming” their competencies and
skills with the goal of helping them to continue that
growth process.
 Summative assessment aims to measure, or
summarize, what a student has grasped, and
typically occurs at the end of a course or unit of
Norm-referenced vs. Criterion-Referenced Tests
 Norm-referenced: each score interpreted in relation
to a mean (average score), median (middle score),
standard deviation (extent of variance in scores),
and/or percentile rank
Especially Standardized Tests, e.g. TOEFL
 Criterion-referenced: designed to give test-takers
feedback, on specific course or lesson objectives
Especially classroom based tests
A pitch for Formative Assessment
 A video about the Formative Assessment Classroom
in Secondary Education
TASK: Watch and think about ways that the principles
discussed are applicable in the ELT classroom.
A Brief History of Testing
 Hot debate in 1970s and 1980s
 Starting point: discrete-point tests
 Assumption: language can be broken down into component parts
and tests (skills (e.g. reading) and units (e.g. morphology,
phonology, discourse)
 Oller (1979) argued that language is a unified set of
interacting abilities that cannot be separated
Goal should be integrative test: e.g. cloze test and dictation
Cloze test – a sample:
The recognition that one’s feelings of (1) ____ and
unhappiness can coexist much like (2) ____ and
hate in a close relationship (3) _____ offer valuable
clues on how to (4) ____ a happier life. It suggests,
for (5) _____, that changing or avoiding things that
(6) _____ you miserable may well make you (7)
____ miserable but probably no happier.
The Communicative Language Model
Canale & Swain (1980s) and Bachman & Palmer (1990s):
Grammatical or formal competence (knowledge of
grammar, lexis, phonology)
2. Sociolinguistic competence (knowledge of rules of
language use, i.e. what is appropriate depending on
speakers, settings, topics)
3. Strategic competence (ability to compensate for
imperfect linguistic resources in 2nd language)
4. Discourse competence (ability to deal with
extended use in context)
New Goal
Communicative Language Testing should
correspond to
non-test situations
(that is, the target criterion or domain of behavior)
Moving toward
 Performance-Based Assessment
 More student centered
 Less paper-and pencil / multiple-choice
 More productive
 More authentic
 More open-ended responses
 More integrated tasks and procedures
New Views on Intelligence
Multiple Intelligences: linguistic; logical-mathematical;
spatial; musical; bodily-kinesthetic; interpersonal;
Sternberg: recognized creative thinking and manipulative
strategies as part of intelligence
Goleman: “EQ” – importance of emotions
 One-shot, standardized
 Continuous long-term
 Timed, multiple choice
 Untimed, free-response
 Decontextualized
 Contextualized
 Scores only
 Individualized feedback
 Norm-referenced
 Criterion-referenced
 Focus on “right” answer
 Open-ended, creative
 Summative
 Formative
 Oriented to product
 Oriented to process
 Non-interactive
 Interactive performance
 Fosters extrinsic
 Fosters intrinsic
Computer-Based Testing
 Standardized testing
 Classroom testing
 Self-testing
 Practice for test-taking
 Some individualization (through CAT)
Discussion #1:
Discussion #2:
Imagine the following scenarios (100 is a perfect
a. You give a test and everyone scores 90-100.
b. You give a test and everyone scores below 50.
c. You give a test and the spread is: 25% above 85;
60% 70-84; 15% below 69.
Discuss among yourselves: What kind of tests do you
think generate these sorts of scores? Is it good or
bad? Why?
Discussion #3:
Your group will be assigned one of Gardner’s seven
intelligences. Brainstorm some teaching activities
that foster that type of intelligence. Then,
brainstorm some assessment.
The seven intelligences are: linguistic; logicalmathematical; spatial; musical; bodily-kinesthetic;
interpersonal; intrapersonal
Placement tests
Whole class discussion
Diagnostic tests
Revising writing
Periodic achievement
Student oral response
to teacher questions
after video
Short pop quizzes
Oral presentations
Final exams
Discussion #5: Review the advantages and
disadvantages of both approaches to assessment.
One-shot, standardized
Timed, multiple choice
Scores only
Focus on “right” answer
Oriented to product
Fosters extrinsic
Continuous long-term
Untimed, free-response
Individualized feedback
Open-ended, creative
Oriented to process
Interactive performance
Fosters intrinsic
Upcoming assignments:
 For Tuesday, September 30:
 Article: Beghetto, R. (2004) Toward a More Complete
Picture of Student Learning: Assessing Students’
Motivational Beliefs at www.italldepends.pbwiki.com
 Facilitators: 1. 2. 3. 4.
 Textbook: Heaton, Writing English Language Tests,
Chapter 10
 For Wednesday, October 1:
 Article: Kwok, L. (2008) Students’ Perceptions of
Peer Evaluation and Teachers’ Role in Seminar
Discussions at www.italldepends.pbwiki.com
 Facilitators: 5. 6. 7. 8.
 Textbook: McNamara, Language Testing, Chapters
1, 2, 3

ELT Testing and Assessment