Legal Regulation And History Spanish Education System English Language Essay

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Educational policies in Spain have motivated the implementation of different syllabi through years. In the spirit of those changes, however, has been shared the intention of an effective system able to respond all students' needs. To succeed in providing adequate instruction, special attention has been paid to the promotion of communicative competence- Canale and Swain (1980) distinguished grammatical, sociolinguistic and strategic are foster to use oral communications; then Canale added discourse competence (1983) - and the effectiveness of communicative approaches to foreign language teaching. Communication is nowadays placed in an outstanding position in teaching plans, textbooks, and classrooms. Tasks are more interactive and seek students' active participation more than at any time before.

Secondary education fosters oral practice in English lessons at all levels. Thus, students from 1st ESO are able to talk about simple topics as those from 4th ESO or 1st Bachillerato do with higher proficiency. However, a backward step describes performances of students of 2nd Bachillerato. The university-entrance examination battery determines a specific course of action for that stage. Since, a test of English as a foreign language is included in that battery, the methodology applied will be more specific so that teacher will manage to cover the objectives and contents of the course and the preparation of their students for the test. This document aims to set both the subject and test of English as a foreign language in the university-entrance examination battery within historic and legal framework. Besides, a detailed analisys of the different tasks included in the test will make account to the purpose as well as the abilities requested. Finally a brief explanation of the influence of this examination battery on the current Spanish system will be linked to some possible changes aimed to better suit present-day education standards.

Legal Regulation and History: Spanish Education System

As stated in the article 38.1 of the Organic Law of Education (LOE) 2/2006, 3rd May, in order to access university candidates are required to pass written examination. Results will provide objective appraisal of the mental development of students and the achievement of the objectives proposed in the curriculum of 'Bachillerato' [1] so as to continue their academic development through higher education.

The university-entrance examination battery is better known as 'Selectividad' or 'PAU' [2] in Spain and represents the only instance of external form of examination within the education system at the present time. Spanish national government is in charge of setting the basis of 'Selectividad' in accordance with the LOE, but each autonomous region designs its own tests. As far as the Region of Murcia is concerned, the article 7 from the Decree Law 262/2008, 5th September, establishes the subjects available for 'Bachillerato' and of which the PAU is based on. The process consists of a battery tests hold twice a year, in June and September. Until the present academic year, this examination consisted of a minimum of six paper-and-pencil tests, divided into two different stages, namely general and specific. Among the general and compulsory subjects we found, and still do, Spanish Language and Literature, History of Spain or Philosophy and Foreign Language. In the case of English as a foreign language, the test is used as a powerful instrument to measure the quality of both reading comprehension and writing skills of candidates.

As we can notice from the stated above, the predominant role of foreign languages nowadays could make readers think the study and promotion of languages were fostered for all time. Unfortunately, such positives attitudes towards the study of foreign languages, English particularly, have not been always shared and praised, indeed, the implementation of the subject of English as foreign language within the Spanish curriculum showed very unstable well into the 20th century. Moreover, there was not much prospect that the test of English as a foreign language could be integrated within the university-entrance examination battery until 1985 (Fernández and Sanz, 2005). Hence it would be necessary and reasonable to briefly describe some of the Spanish legal regulations that have had an influence on the foreign language teaching-learning process and have determined the current situation of both the whole university-entrance examination battery and the English test.

We could set the starting point at the beginning of the 20th Century. In 1900, the Royal Decree of 20th July introduced important changes in the Spanish syllabus since the crucial relevance of the study of foreign languages was taken into account for the first time. However, the Royal Decree of 6th September 1903 did not have the same opinion and so the study of English in secondary education was vanished completely.

A new syllabus passed by in the Royal Decree of 25th August 1926, commonly referred to as 'Callejo', rectified most of the previous changes by including the study of English again and increasing the number of hours of foreign language lessons a week. Unfortunately, a step backwards meant the Decree of 7th August 1931, since it took the model from 1903 back. Then, most foreign languages, including English, were withdrawn.

As Fernández and Sanz (2005) agrees that the university-entrance procedure experienced a crucial year in1934. The Decree of 29th August led a complete different organization of secondary education and included a fresh sort of final examination involving all the subjects studied and called 'Revalida'. Yet unstable, this test meant the first attempt to develop the 'proper university-entrance examination' model.

Instability continued and in 1953 Spain was witness of new legal proceeds which deeply influenced education once again. The Regulation of Secondary Education Law from 26th February 1953 organised that stage into six years. In addition, another year was introduced and fully developed in 1957 under the label of 'Pre-university'. As far as the foreign language was concerned, this course intended to complete students' knowledge of a foreign language by the study of a literary masterwork in that language in order to be able to express them orally and by writing. Such an organisation stayed invariable for some decades. Despite its apparent consolidation, that arrangement was finally overtaken by another legal action, the General Education Law (LGE) on August, 4th 1970. There, the novelty was found in the creation of a university orientation course (COU) which was intended to prepare students for the exam required to enroll undergraduate studies. The immediate effect of this course produced on teachers and students such great concern for passing the exam that lessons where almost exclusively devoted to the preparation of the exam (influenced on contents and methodology). Despite its implementation in 1970, the exam did not include a foreign language test till many years later in 1985.

Only twenty years later, LOGSE (Organic Law of General Education System Regulation 1/1990, 3rd October) appeared. As far as the 'Selectividad' was concerned, this new law executed a slightly different distribution of secondary education and eventually removed COU in the academic year 2001/02. Examination, however, was still required to enter university. In addition, this law introduced into the education system a proper legal framework for the university-entrance examination battery: on the one hand, it established the number of possible tasks the exam could consist of as well as common correction criteria by the Ministry Order of 9th June, 1993. On the other hand, 'Selectividad' was completely regulated in 1999 by the Royal Decree 1640/1999. Both clarifications were warmly welcomed by education authorities.

Although the exam seemed to have managed to stand in a safer position, there were some attempts to fully delete it. One recent example could be found in the changes referred to within the Organic Law for the Quality of Education 10/2002, 23rd December. There, a relevant change was intended to remove the university-entrance examination battery definitively. This law, though, was repealed and the examination has been maintained up to these days.

The most recent national legal regulation affecting the distribution of secondary school and procedures for accessing to university nowadays is embodied in the Organic Law of education (LOE) 2/2006, 3rd May. Although the measures in relation to the 'Selectividad' partially resemble the established in the LOGSE, the LOE specifically states that education authorities and universities are in charge of the good management of such an exam according to the established in the syllabus of 'Bachillerato' by the Decree 262/2008, 5th September.






Royal Decree, 20th July

The relevance of the study of foreign languages is highlighted.



Royal Decree, 6th Sept.

The study of the English language is abolished in secondary education.


Royal Decree, 25th August "Callejo"

The study of the English is restored.

Increase in the number of hours of foreign language lessons a week.


Decree, 7th August

Similar Arrangements to 1903.


Ministry Order, 13rd July

The subjects of English, German, and Italian are suppressed.


Decree, 29th August

Creation of a Final examination necessary to access to the University.


Regulation of Secondary Education, 26th February

Introduction of a 'Pre-university' course (fully developed in 1957).


LGE,4th August

"Ley Villar"

COU is born in the academic year 1971/1972.


Law 30/1974

'Selectividad' appears for the first time to regulate the access to undergraduate studies after COU.


Foreign language Tests are included in the University-entrance examination battery.


LOGSE (Law 1/1990, 3rd October)

COU is completely removed from Secondary Education.


R.D. 1640/1999

Fully regulation of the exam of Selectividad in 1999.


LOCE (Law 10/2002, 23rd December)

*Never implemented

The University-entrance examination battery is suppressed.


LOE (Law 2/2006)

The model of 'Selectividad' from 1990 is restored.

Opposing ideologies have led to the implementation of different educational policies. Instability, however, concerns and fosters authorities to define a firm legal framework for education. With regard to the teaching of English as a foreign language, important progress has been made up to place the subject in an outstanding position of the Spanish Education System. Undoubtedly, the presence of English in the university-entrance examination battery is also a huge accomplishment and since 1985 the test of English has pursued to provide as much precise information as possible of students' performance in a target language.

Analysis of the test and type of tasks

The pursuit of an adequate test of English in 'Selectividad' has made researchers of testing and test designers some relevant as well as necessary questions such as what that construct is supposed to test. According to the parameters given by law, this test measures the mental development of students and the achievement of the objectives proposed in the curriculum for the second year of Bachillerato LOGSE. There are different types of objectives; some covering all the areas of instruction in 'Bachillerato' (General Stage Objectives [3] ), whereas others focus on foreign language - English in this case (Area Objectives [4] ). If the objectives are those, a new question should be posed demanding how the test is to show that students manage to reach those aims. The expected answer should imply some references to the correct organisation of the test according to the principles of language assessment as well as to the level of accomplishment of tasks. The major concern lies then in the purpose in designing the test and creating tasks capable to measure the skills requested, this particular English test needing reading and writing. Thus, in order to prove the effectiveness and adequacy of the English test in 'Selectividad' as a selective instrument, a detailed analysis of the construct as a whole will be necessary to.

As we mention in the introduction, the construct to analyse corresponds to the test of English included in the university-entrance examination battery held in Murcia in June 2009.The necessity to confirm the effectiveness of the English Test makes us pay attention to some principles of language assessment. As stated by Brown (2004) any actual test can be evaluated by taking into consideration five main standards, namely practicality, reliability, validity, authenticity, and washback. There is no doubt in asserting that many other useful principles may help us to value the quality of a test, but those mentioned above will result highly satisfactory to our analysis.

One of the first goals in the elaboration of a test is to be practical in all means. This concept refers to the viability of a test according to the context of application. We might find useless, for instance, to prepare a test without taking into account the time available for completing it. Brown (2004) poses some interesting questions in a "Practicality checklist" which prompts a reflective analysis of the construct. The checklist is reproduced below:

Practicality checklist

Are administrative details clearly established before the test?

Can students complete the test reasonably within the set time frame?

Can the test be administered smoothly, without procedural "glitches"?

Are all materials and equipment ready?

Is the cost of the test within budgeted limits?

Is the scoring/evaluation system feasible in the teacher's time frame?

Are methods for reporting results determined in advance?

As far as the English test is concerned, its practicality is proved at different stages. Firstly, the legal framework clearly set the requirements to this high stake test in advance. Secondly, it is carried out within reasonable time limits (the test lasts one hour and a half); its management does not result difficult, as does the materials, which are basically paper and pen. In addition, the cost is not high since the test consists of only two sheets printed in black and white. Finally, and despite the fact that many raters complain about the reduced time at their disposal to correct mountains of tests, they appreciate clear correction and scoring criteria provided in advance [5] .

Apart from practical, an effective test is required to be reliable. Fortunately, the test of English can be assumed as consistent and dependable. There are, however, some issues that lead to unreliability and that have to be taken into account when facing the test of English in 'Selectividad'. On the one hand, we could mention how several psychological factors, for instance anxiety and fatigue, influence students' performance. Raters are also crucial here, since inconsistency in the scores given, indefinite criteria, or even tiredness stand an issue. On the other hand, external conditions such as temperature and light of classrooms, arrangement of chairs and desks, noise, and even the quality of the photocopy could cause mistrust (Mousavi, 2002). The test of English in 'PAU' is not free from suffering any of those problems, especially those related to students' feelings, but they are fought tirelessly. For that reason, the test is carried out in big, light and airy classrooms with adequate furniture so that students feel as comfortable as possible when sitting the exam. As for the scoring criteria, we ought to assert its objectivity once again, standing as a key factor in the continuing of this model of test.

A third principle refers to validity. Gronlund defines it as "the extent to which inferences made from assessment results are appropriate, meaningful and useful in terms of purpose of the assessment "(1998). In fact, most authors consider validity to be the main principle of language assessment. This school of thought supports different types of evidence can support validity. The English test we are analysing is valid as it fulfills the objectives related to reading and writing skills and aimed at the second year of 'Bachillerato'. Besides, criterion-related evidence supports its validity too. As Brown (2004) highlights:

"The predictive validity of an assessment becomes important in the case of placement tests, admissions assessment batteries, language aptitude tests, and the like. The assessment criterion in such cases is not to measure concurrent ability but to assess (and predict) a test-taker's likelihood of future success."

The relation between contents developed through the course and those from the test is emphasized when content-related evidence is studied. It is generally assumed that high stake tests rarely have much content-related evidence of validity. They likely tend to focus on certain skills without the requirement of full communicative performance (Bachman, 1990). This is the case of the test of English in 'Selectividad', which is devoted to reading and writing skills.

Another type of evidence could be defined as construct-related. This term questions the validity of a test with regard to its potential objectives and actual performance. According to scholars, construct-related evidence is very difficult to check when validating these types of tests, namely the test of English in 'PAU' because they demand the performance of restricted aspects of the language, and they do not provide the kind of situations likely to happen in real life in favour of practicality In that respect, we can justify an apparent failure of "real life simulation" tasks according to two possibilities: the stated in theory by Oller and a rather simple option grounded in economy(Brown, 2004). For the latter, the justification seems simple but probable and it lies in the high cost oral tests in 'Selectividad' might involve. For the former, Garcia (2005) explains that the test of English lacks oral practice because of a deeply root belief in the Unitary hypothesis by Oller who stated that "there is substantial empirical evidence to suggest that there may be a single unitary factor that accounts for practically all the variance in language tests" (1983). That theory assured that written competence was proportional to oral competence so that the better students wrote, the better they were supposed to speak. Although that formal statement was later proved wrong by the author, Garcia considers most people still believe in that.

Students could also provide some evidence of the validity of a test. They may consider a test to be face valid depending on the format, the familiarity with the tasks, clear instructions and items, adequate time-management, and a challenging level of difficulty. This type of evidence, called faced validity, is rather biased but diagnostic to check the feelings of students when facing the test, and consequently its validity. The test of English in PAU is rarely seemed easy, but, as we well deal with later, there is no doubt on its adequacy of the format, types of activities, and instructions into easy to recognize parameters.

A fourth principle of language assessing is authenticity. Bachman and Palmer (1996) explain that authenticity is "the degree of correspondence of the characteristics of a given language task to the features of a target language task". That is to say, the degree in which a test task resembles the tasks likely to happen in the real world will prove authenticity. The test of English in 'selectividad' seeks to suit authentic parameters as much as circumstances allow it (for instance, by using episodic items, realistic tasks,) though, since the aural and oral practices are not covered, the test is unfortunately an incomplete sample of real life situations.

Last but not least, the fifth principle which has raised specialists' interest in last decades is washback. It is a crucial consequence of this test of English - and testing in general. In regard to this high stake test, washback is referred to the particular instruction given to students during the last year of Bachillerato in order to pass the test. Obviously, although the expected objectives mentioned in the curriculum are to be achieved all along the course, they are dealt differently than in previous years. Since the university-entrance examination battery demonstrates extremely important and necessary for the future of students, teachers are often tempted to devote most time of the lessons in the second year of 'Bachillerato' solely to prepare students for 'Selectividad'. Few of them succumb to the temptation, causing harmful washback .(Garcia, 2005)

Since all the principles mentioned before take place to a certain degree, we could assert that the English test is proven effective. Nevertheless, we should not forget Brown's words when assuring that in large-scale standardized testing - including high stake tests - practicality is preferable to washback and validity stands the supreme principle to achieve. The effectiveness of the whole construct may lead us to consider the different tasks included in it to be equally adequate. However, we should not take anything for granted and then appreciate a detailed analysis of the different tasks so as to better understand the procedure. The concept of tasks is commonly reflected in the works of Bachman and Palmer (1996) and makes account of the different possible ways the test is arranged in order to obtain information of candidates' performance (Alderson, 2000).

The test of English intended for the university-entrance examination battery held in Murcia in June 2009 is a skill-based test consisting of two sheets [6] . The first contains a short text in English titled "Hollywood Looks Overseas for Talent and Profit". The other piece of paper includes all tasks students have to complete. The correction criteria for this specific test is well defined and make reference to the two types of tasks developed as follows:

Tasks of controlled or semi-controlled answer with minimal demand of written production. Correction will be founded on accuracy and comprehension (tasks 1, 2, and 4).

Tasks of free response. Correction will be based on fluency, accuracy, and comprehension (tasks 3, 5, and 6).

It is a traditional paper-and-pen construct where instructions, tasks and expected responses use the target language (English). The whole test is episodically organised, so the subsequent tasks developed from the text aim to provide evidence of successful reading as well as foster written expression. In that way, students face the test by reading the short text first. Certainly, constructors are aware of the importance given to the selection of the piece of reading and so follow specific parameters of type, form, graphic, features, topic, style, length, among others (Hughes, 2003). In that respect, this English Test is considered to be an article which, in a comprehensibly style, explains some facts of the current situation of Hollywood studios and film industry. That topic may sound familiar but not repetitive to the intended audience of non-native students. The range of vocabulary is non- technical at all, and even some specific concepts related to film industry are capable to be inferred. Grammar seems as accessible as vocabulary, and instances of most tenses taught through secondary education are displayed. The length of the text is limited to 277 words by both time and legal constrains. Although most experts' recommendations, the text lacks visual aid in order to gain practicality.

Once the text is set, we might know the way students are expected to read the text will vary according to the purpose of the task, that is to say, summarizing, finding synonyms, justifying a given answer, etc. There is agreement among scholars to refer to reading, writing, listening, and speaking as skills. However, when they refer to the different 'techniques' involving in the performance, a wide range of concepts such as 'subskills', 'strategies', 'operations' appear. Hughes (2003) refers to 'operations' and listed some of them in relation to the purpose. He also clarifies that quick reading applies expeditious operations are, whereas slow reading requires careful reading operations. Throughout the tasks of this test of English the following reading operations will be carried out:

Expeditious reading operations:

- Skimming as candidates will have to get the main ideas of the text to accomplish task 2.

- Searching reading when candidates find the information necessary to face task 3.

- Scanning as candidates will need to find words in the text to succeed in task 1.

Careful reading operations:

- Recognising writer's attitudes will be required in task 5.

- Inferring the meaning of an unknown word from context will be present in most tasks.

After a general view, we would better analyse tasks one by one. We should notice that all tests are graded according to different stages which encompass rather controlled tasks at the beginning and freer and more creative tasks towards the end. In the first task, for instance, no space is left for creativity. This task corresponds to a matching which requires students to group a number of words together, namely synonyms, in a completely controlled way. At such, it is recognition rather than a recall task, focusing on basic word meaning. The main aim of this objective task is to check students' ability to read the text, understand it, and use the language (vocabulary) effectively to infer the meaning of the target words as contextualised in the text. According to the specific score assigned to this task is a maximum of 1mark, 0, 20 marks for every correct matching.

In task 2, on the contrary, candidates show their understanding of the text by copying the correct statement from different options. An integrative approach is used here since the task focuses on checking if students have understood the text in general. The task is divided into 2 parts, but in both the procedure stay invariable. It is considered to be a four-option multiple choice task with three distracters an only one possible answer. Items are carefully selected and so there is little space for ambiguity. This form of task requires candidates' ability to think and the failure in the answer would lie in intellectual linguistic grounds. Despite, the point of view of some researchers differ in the ability required here. Alderson, for instance, states that multiple choice questions can be answered successfully without understanding the text completely as a result of careful reflection of the improbable distracters (2000). Each part is measured 0, 75, the score being 1, 50. Objectivity in the score is due to the technique employed to large extend, and so practicality is encouraged.

Gradually more difficult tasks are presented. The third task, consequently, demands a short answer technique. Here students have to complete the sentences according the information provided in the text but using original words. The writing skill, thus, is hardly developed. The aim here is to check candidates' reading comprehension as well as writing development. Hughes suggests that in tasks of reading comprehension, mistakes related to spelling, grammar, or punctuation should not be taken into account since the goal is reading performance. However, as the English test has to deal with such a large amount of contents in so little space and time, any evidence of productive or receptive skills must be measured. Because its complexity, the task deserve 2 marks (0, 50 each) where both comprehension and accuracy are of equal value in the correction.

On this respect, it worth mentioning that tests designers have seriously taken into account different procedures for writing the items of the reading comprehension tasks. Success can be assured by showing affirmative response to the following questions elaborated by Hughes:




Is the English of the text and item grammatically correct?

Is the English natural and acceptable?

Is the item in accordance with specified parameters?

Is specified reading sub-skill necessary in order to respond correctly?

(a) Multiple choice: Is there just one correct response?

(b) Short answer: Is answer within productive abilities? Can it be scored validly and reliably?

Multiple choice: Are all the distracters likely to distract?

Is the item economical?

Is the key complete and correct?

The different tasks listed so far required great or total comprehension of the test. The fourth task, however, is not as dependent as the previous ones, yet somehow related. This is a gap-filling task in which the input is a short text related to the topic of film industry. Some elements have been deleted and so the task requires completing the blanks with the most suitable word. Test constructors do not use a pseudo-random procedure to identify words for deletion; they decide which function words to delete with the intention of testing mainly lies in to check the knowledge of language. Short elements of the English language such as verbs, articles, and prepositions are expected. This technique of gap-filling differs from cloze filling in that, in the latter, the tester deletes words every a fixed number of words (every five words for instance). This is not under the control of the tester. Consequently, task 4 intends to measure the students' degree of general comprehension as well as proper use of language. In the correction, accuracy will be proven decisive to fully get the 1, 5 marks attached to this task.

The last two tasks are closely related between them as both demand good command of written production. Task 5 asks candidates to express the main problems of the film industry referred in the text but by using original wording. Since candidates must formulate the writing on the text constrains, productive skills are praised here but creativity is not developed completely. Scoring may present problems on the bias of what the main ideas are. Fortunately, constructors have cleverly asked for some textual information which is clearly more important and relevant than the rest. Writing ability is so seriously considered in the test of English in 'Selectividad' that 2 marks are attached to this task (0, 80 for comprehension; 0, 60 for fluency; and 0, 60 for accuracy).

The last and probably most complex task in the whole test requires students' free written expression about the given topic of copying movies illegally. For that task, the text may serve as input. According to Weigle (2002) writing in foreign language could be an extremely difficult and frustrating activity since the interest is almost exclusively devoted to the proper use of language and so the content is not given enough attention. The situation gets still worse if we take into account writing anxiety, or writing apprehension (Daly and Miller, 1975) in such the task influences the final mark of the test, and eventually the grade of 'Selectividad'. Bachman and Palmer (1996) consider that when abilities such as speaking cannot be measured, other powerful productive skill, namely writing, supplies the information required. For the particular case of the test of English as a foreign language, 'inferences' resulting from writing seek to check the achievement of students according to the objectives of 'bachillerato' in order to decide whether they are capable, for example, to access higher education. Those considerations might prove the great value both students and tester give to productive written tasks. Indeed, as in task 5, the scoring stays in 2marks too, both meaning a 40% of the final mark of the test. However, correction parameters stand different. While in task 5, raters take into account fluency, accuracy, and above all, comprehension of the text, in task 6, the latter is not considered pertinent and fluency and accuracy share 2 marks to the same degree.

3. The impact of the test on the Spanish Education System

Although the test follows clear and empirical procedures in its design as well as objective correction criteria, the stated above makes perfectly understandable most negative feelings merely associated with the word 'Selectividad'. It is common sense that passing such examination battery is, rather than difficult, stressful. The impact of this examination battery on the Spanish Education System determines the decisions taken by teachers and students and the school community.

Garcia (2005) openly shocks when notices the test format has not changed in the last 20 years. Moreover, he also states that current technological society demands the implementation of modern instruments to measure students' abilities at any stage, and following this school of thought, the European Communities Commission states:

"Information and communication technologies are understood as devices which make reference to a wide variety of services, applications and technologies, which use different types of computer programmes and which are very often transmitted through telecommunication nets…" (2001)

Different factors, however, may support the maintenance of the tests we know. Garcia alludes to the results obtained so far. On the one hand, he considers that, although incomplete, the test gives the same opportunities to all candidates and it is easily corrected. On the other hand, it is more affordable on financial constrains than other alternatives and so practical. Thus, complaints about the maintenance or change of the test result useless since empirical research demonstrating the advantages of backwards of the current procedure is conducted.

As instance of his persistence and enthusiasm, Garcia proposes a change of the whole examination battery as well as the test of English. And besides, he also suggest some of the guidelines those changes should be based on. Different procedures would bear in mind different objectives, test format, and purposes.

As far as the ideal English test is concerned, the author considers a construct closely linked to ICT and intended to minimise negative washback on students, teachers and development of lessons. However, some tasks would be kept and praised on the grounds that they truly value students' performance positively. On that regard, reading comprehension is approved essential and necessary in any language test. Quian says 'reading is a useful indicator of lexis'. However, this strong advocate of change complains that the linguistic level of the different tasks required in testing reading focused almost exclusively on measuring the achievement of the objectives of the second year of 'Bachillerato' rather than on checking reading comprehension itself. For that reason, he states different tasks which involve using productive skills (for instance, by justifying the answer to a question from a text, the candidate would be expected to work both reading comprehension as well as active production of a piece of writing).

Regarding written expression, Garcia highly recommends its maintenance since it is a major indicator of students' ability to express themselves by writing simple texts (50 words) efficiently with different means, on varied topics, using suitable resources of cohesion and coherence (as established by law). Nevertheless, he would add visual aid in the pursuit of authenticity.

Apart from the use of some tasks already employed in the test, Garcia suggests that an effective English test included in the examination battery of the future would include the division of the construct into three different parts, namely written production, oral production and use of language (reading and listening). As it happened to the TOELF in the past, the current English test lacks oral production. Some possible reasons supporting this decision may correspond to the large amount of students taking the test and the considerable effort and investment an oral test would require by administration.

In addition, the implementation of ICT would result beneficial for the whole examination battery since it would involve new and rather authentic task types (online interviews,). Along with different tasks, ICT would favour minimising anxiety and stress provoked by the test since they could be hold on their high schools (washback), it would save time, space and running costs.