Fundamental concepts and principles in Language Testing

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Fundamental concepts and principles in language testing

FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES IN LANGUAGE TESTINGSubject: Language TestingInstructor: Nguyn Thanh Tng, Ph.D.Class: TESOL 2014B1. Phm Phc Khnh Minh4. V Th Thanh Th2. Nguyn Trn Hoi Phng 5. Th Bch Vn3. Nguyn Ngc Phng Thnh 6. Ng Tho Vy

1. The importance of testing2. Distinctions among test, evaluation and measurement3. Qualities of a language testCONTENTS1. The importance of testing1.1. The relationship of testing and teachingTesting and teaching are closely interrelated that it is impossible to work in either field without being constantly concerned with the other. (Heaton, J. B. 1988)

4Good communicative tests of language 1.1. The relationship of testing and teaching51.2. The elements of a good classroom testA good test should:enable teachers to increase their effectiveness by making adjustments in their teachinghelp to locate the precise areas of difficulty encountered by the class or by the individual studentenable the teacher to ascertain which parts of the language programme have been found difficult by the classprovide the students with an opportunity to show their ability to perform a certain task

61.3. Aspects to be tested71.4. Testing the language skillsIt is important to concentrate on types of test items which are relevant to the ability to use language for real-life communication, especially in oral interaction. Ways of assessing performance in the four major skills may take the form of tests of:

It is the test constructor's task to assess the relative importance of these skills at the various levels and to devise an accurate means of measuring the student's success in developing these skills. 1.5. Testing language areasIn an attempt to isolate the language areas learnt, a considerable number of tests include sections on:Grammar usageVocabulary (concerned with word meanings, word formation and collocations) Phonology (concerned with phonemes, stress and intonation)

1.6. Language skills and language elementsTesting students' ability to handle the elements of the language or testing the integrated skills depends both the level and the purpose of the test. At all levels but the most elementary, it is generally advisable to include test items which measure the ability to communicate in the target language. 1.7. Main item types of tests141.8. Sampling problems and avoiding trapsThe test must cover an adequate and representative section of those areas and skills which it is desired to test. A good test should never be constructed in such a way as to trap the students into giving an incorrect answer.

152. Distinctions among test, evaluation and measurement

2. Distinctions among test, evaluation and measurement

- Often used synonymously- For example: Giving a test to evaluate students language proficiency- Being essential to the development and use of language tests

2.1. MeasurementThe process of quantifying the characteristics of persons according to explicit procedures and rules

2.1.1. QuantificationAssigning numbersDiffering from qualitative descriptions such as visual presentation, verbal or non-verbal accounts

2.1.1. Quantification

12Scales of measurement: + Assigning numbers+ Non-numerical categories, etc.

2.1.2. Characteristics Whatever attributes or abilities we measure, it is these attributes or abilities and not the people themselves that we are measuring- Both physical and mental characteristicsMental attributes: aptitude, intelligence, motivation, attitude, fluency in speaking, etc.Mental abilities: being able to do something , performance on a set of mental tasks The higher degrees of a given ability, the higher probability of correct performance on tasks of lower difficulty or complexity2.1.3. Rules and procedures222.2. TestA psychological or educational test is a procedure designed to elicit certain behavior from which one can make inferences about certain characteristics of an individual.(Carroll, 1968:46) For example: The Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) oral interview a speaking test: + A set of elicitation procedures (activities, questions & topics) + A measurement scale of language proficiency (0 5)2.2. TestDesigned to obtain a specific sample of behaviorProvide the means for more focusing on the specific language abilities that are of interestViewed as supplemental to other methods of measurementThe best means of assuring the sufficiency of the sample of language obtained

For example: the ILR oral interview, the TOELF, etc.2.3. EvaluationrequiresThe ability of the decision makerThe quality of the information: reliable and relevantThe systematic gathering information for the purpose of making decisionsFor example: + Education decisions will be based on rumor+ Sex and motivation are relevant to learning strategies

2.3. Evaluation- Not be exclusively quantitative information (verbal descriptions, overall impressions, ratings, test scores, etc.)Not necessarily entail testingTests can be for purely descriptive purposes - not evaluative It is important to distinguish the information-providing function of measurement from the decision-making function of evaluation

2.4. Relationship among measurement, tests, and evaluation

2.4. Relationship among measurement, tests, and evaluationAn evaluation excludes tests and measuresEx: Qualitative descriptions of student performance2. A non-test measure for evaluationEx: Teacher ranking used for assigning grades3. A test for purposes of evaluationEx: Using achievement test to determine student progress4. A test not used for evaluationEx: Using proficiency test as a criterion in SLA research5. A non-test measure not used for evaluationEx: Assigning code numbers to school subjects3. Qualities of a language test3. Qualities of language tests303.1. Reliability 313.1. Reliability Example: If the score of for the first student given by 3 examiners is 10/10. However, the score for the second students is just 2/10. The scores is not consistent and would be considered to be unreliable indicators of the ability we want to measure. 3.2. Validity 3.2.1. Content validity 3.2.2. Construct validity 35

363.2.3. Face validity 3.3. Authenticity3.4. Interactiveness3.5. Impact 403.6. PracticalityPracticality is the relationship between the resources that will be required in the design, development, and the use of the test and the resources that will be available for these activities.A practical test is one whose design, development, and use do not require more resources than are available. Types of resources : human resources, material resources, and time. References Heaton, J. B. (1988). Writing English language tests (New ed.). London: Longman.Bachman, L. F. (1997). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bachman, L. F. & Palmer, A. S. (1996). Language testing in Practice: design and developing useful language tests. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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