3 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EVALUATINGLANGUAGE TESTS1. Focus on assessment, not simply tests2. Clarify the intended use of the test3. Evaluate the outcomes of assessment
FOCUS ON ASSESSMENT, NOT ON TESTS Language tests are instruments for gathering information having to do with language abilities Focus on language assessment, not the characteristics of the test First gather information with language testing tools Then make interpretations based on the information Finally, make a decision or take action within the classroom or program
SPECIFY INTENDED TEST USEInterrelationship between four components of the language assessment process:1. Who uses the test2. What information the test should provide3. Why, or for what purpose, is the test being used4. What consequences the test will have (Positive or Negative)
WHO ARE THE TEST USERS AND WHAT IS THEPURPOSE OF THE TEST? Teachers, students, students’ families, school administrators, curriculum planners, funding agencies, future employers, university admissions officers Meet curricular objectives Values of the students
WHAT IS BEING TESTED?Interpretations in language classrooms: students’ global language proficiency, students’ mastery of curricular objectives, students’ grammatical knowledge, students’ productive language abilities, the effectiveness of lessons, and language learning objectives*Interpretations are ALWAYS made about someone or somethingSpecify the amount and type of information needed for the interpretationsMake a purposeful decision about the language testing tools needed
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE TEST?Positive and Negative ConsequencesTeaching practicesMaterials and ActivitiesCurricular ObjectivesEnrollmentsFundingProgram Reputation
EVALUATE THE OUTCOMES OF ASSESSMENTReflect on the specifications of intended use along with the consequences-Were all the actual test users identified?-Did the testing tools provide the appropriate amount and type of information to support these interpretations?-Were the intended classroom, curriculum, and program purposes fulfilled by using the language test?Based on the answers to these questions , are the language tools appropriate for assessment or should they be revised?
SUMMARYLanguage assessment involves specifying the intended use of language tests, selecting the appropriate language testing tools , evaluating the assessment, and keeping in mind the purposeful nature of language assessment.Norris, J. M. (2000). Purposeful language assessment. English Teaching Forum, 38(1), 18-23.
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