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When we talk about a test being 'appropriate,' the issue is partly whether the test provides us with the information we need to gain about the student we serve. One of the most challenging tasks for language instructors is finding effective ways to determine what and how much their students are actually learning. Instructors need to think carefully about what kinds of knowledge their tests allow students to demonstrate. There are many reasons to construct formal language assessment procedures. In this part we will talk about eight purposes for conducting language assessment and study the labels concerned with those purposes.
One purpose that may indirectly affect teacher or language learners is to determine a language learners' potential talent for learning language. This ability is referred to as aptitude tests. It does not test one's skill in a particular language. In contrast, it intends to assess a person's ability to learn any language.
A kind of language test that is especially related to bilingual students is known as a language dominance test. The aim of this test is to identify language learners' particular existing strengths and weaknesses in order to help teacher tailor instruction to fit language learners' need.
Another important purpose in language test is to determine someone's proficiency in a language. It is a proficiency test. The purpose of proficiency test generally involves the concept of overall language use in a variety of circumstances involving all four skills and all level.
When students admit to a large program, they may be faced with a placement test. It is intended to define a learners' language skill relative to the levels of a particular program they are about to enter. Since the aim of a placement test is to classify students to an appropriate level of a program, then it makes sense that the content of the test should be related to the curricula of those levels.
After a student has been placed in an appropriate level of a program, the teachers in the program may use diagnostic test to identify their students' particular strengths and weakness. This test are very closely relate to the syllabuses of the classes so that the teacher can decide to select the content which appropriate for the students. In addition, this test is also used in learning centers in order to help the student themselves decide where to focus their attention.
During the course of instruction, teacher may assess students by a progress test. The aim of this test is to determine how well the students are doing with the material that has been covered. The purpose of progress test is to assess learners' abilities during a course of study to provide information about language learner's relative mastery of or difficulty with portion of the curriculum.
Finally, at the end of a particular course of instruction, an assessment is required to determine how well learners have mastered the skills or knowledge presented in the course. A test designed to provide this information is referred to as an achievement test. The aim of this test is to assess learners' accomplishments relative to curriculum.
In addition, assessment aids the student by
communicating the teacher's goal.
encouraging good study habit
providing feedback that identifies strengths and weaknesses.
Types of Languages Test
All language tests are not of the same kind. They are different mainly in terms of design (method) and purpose.
In terms of method, we can characterize traditional paper and pencil language test from performance test. Paper-and-pen tests are typically used for the assessment of separate components of language and receptive understanding such as listening and reading comprehension. On the other hand, performance tests language skills are assessed in an act of communication such as tests of speaking and writing. Then I would like to mention the type of test which could be used to test receptive skill, grammar, vocabulary and productive skill. That are Multiple choice, Transformation, Gap-filling, Matching ,Cloze ,True / False,Open questions, Error correction and Other techniques.
The first type of test is multiple choice test . The most important requirement of multiple-choice item is that the 'correct ' answer must be genuinely correct. For example
Which is the odd one out?
The advantages of multiple-choice test are that it is fast, easy to and economical to score. Moreover, it can be scored objectively and thus may give the test the appearance of being fairer and more reliable than subjective scored test. In addition, it reduces the chances of learner guessing the correct answer, in comparison to true-false item. However, if you are going to write multiple-choice items, there are at least two things you need to know. The first is that although multiple-choice items can indeed be objectively scored, a great deal of subjective judgment goes into their development. The second point is that though they may be practical to score, good multiple-choice items are extremely difficult to write. Multiple-choice test is suitable to access receptive skill (reading and listening), grammar and vocabulary.
Multiple choice can be used to test most things such as grammar, vocabulary, reading, listening etc. but you must remember that it is still possible for students to just 'guess' without knowing the correct answer.
The second type is information transfer. It is used most in reading and listening comprehension tasks. Candidates usually have to transfer material from the text on to a chart, table, form or map. However, one of the main problems with transformation question is that the task can be very complicated. Sometimes the candidates spend much time working on it. Another problem is that the task may be culturally biased. For example, the candidate might be asked to listen to description of someone's journey through town and to mark on a map. However, student who are not good at map-reading are at a disadvantage with task of this sort.
The next type is gap filling. It refers to test in which the candidate is given a passage or sentence in which some words or phrases have been deleted. The candidates' task is to restore the missing words. The deletions have been specially selected by the test writer to test chosen aspect of language such as grammar or reading comprehension. In addition, gap filling task are sometimes based on authentic texts and sometimes on specially written passages. In both cases the major difficulty is to make sure that each gap leads students to write the expected word. For example:
Complete the sentence.
It so happened that the man__________I was following turned out to e extremely fit.
Another type is matching. Matching mean items where students are given a list of possible answer which they have to match with some other list of words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs or visual clues. In the following example, the students have to match the four words on the left with those on the right in order to make other English words. For example, car and pet make carpet
1 car A. room
2. cup B. pet
3. bed C. dress
4. night. D. board
The advantage with this item is that once three of the item have been accurately matched, the fourth pair is correct by default. It is good practice, therefore, to give more alternatives than the matching task requires. The above example would be improved if the student were given choice of six or seven words in the right hand column. It is important in such tasks to make sure that each item in the first column only matches on item in the second. Matching exercises are most often used to test vocabulary.
The next type of test is cloze test. Cloze refers only to tests in which words are deleted mechanically. Each word is deleted regardless of what the function of that word is. So, for example, every sixth word might be removed. The disadvantage of this test is that word deletion cloze test is no easily amended. If, when it is pretested, some gaps are impossible to complete. Moreover, marking cloze tests can be difficult since there may be many possible answers for any one gap, and there is often agreement as to what answers are acceptable. For example:
Complete the text by adding a word to each gap.
Language learning and teaching can be anâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. and refreshing intervalâ€¦â€¦â€¦.the day for student and teacher. There are so many possibleâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦ of stimulatingâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦interaction, yet all over the world, one still fins classroom where language learning is a tedious, dry-as-dust process, devoid of contact with the real word in which languageâ€¦â€¦ is natural as breathing.
This kind of test is effective to assess vocabulary and grammar.
Another type of test is true/false items. It is generally unsatisfactory, as there is a 50% possibility of getting any item right by chance alone. In order to learn anything about a student's ability, it is necessary to have a large number of such items in order to discount the effect of chance. This test is effective to assess reading skill
The next type of test is error correction. Error correction is useful for testing grammar and vocabulary as well as readings and listening.
Find the mistakes in the sentence and correct them.
Thailand is the most better country in the world..
For assessing productive skill such as writing and speaking, we can assess by writing essay and we can assess speaking by showing some picture and let them describe orally.
In term of purpose, the same form of test may be use in different purpose. The information about each purpose, I have already mentioned above.
The principles of assessment
Assessments should facilitate learning, looking at both the process and the product of the assignment. (Broadfoot: 1991).
Assessments should refer to criteria that are explicit.(Fair Test: 2007).
Assessments should provide more than one opportunity for students to meet requirements and should be predominantly informal. The(Groundwater-Smith, Ewing & Le Cornu: 2007).
Assessments should enable self and collaborative assessment.(Board of Studies NSW: 2006).
Assessments should provide opportunities to work together and negotiate required tasks. (2008).
Assessments should be sensitive to gender, culture, linguistic, physical disability, socioeconomic status and geographical locations by using a range of assessment strategies addressing different learning methods. (NSW Department of Education & Training: 2008).
Assessments should be formative, continuous and diagnostic. (Victorian Curriculum & Assessment Authority: 2007).
Monitoring and assessing learning in one of the important process of teaching. Therefore, I gain a lot of knowledge about the assessing language leaning and I also apply this knowledge to my classroom as followings.
First, I learn about developing a test by doing this assignment. Now, I know that there are many aspects of professional test development that will not be covered in the brief volume. I will concentrate on those aspects of test development that are typically under a teacher's control.
Then, I apply a new idea about assessing my student's reading and listening skill. I explore some important concepts that under lie reading and listening comprehension. In addition, I believe that understanding these concepts will help me assess learner's comprehension more accurately and fairly. Moreover, I will also examine a variety of techniques that can be used to assess reading comprehension in a classroom and promote learning
Finally, I apply new ideas about assessing my student's writing skill. I compare three historically important approaches to scoring students' writing and look at each approach in terms of the information it provides. I will also try to square the notion of writing assessment with the "process approach"