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Exploring Language Assessment and Testing

Routledge Introductions to Applied Linguistics is a series of introductory level textbooks covering the core topics in Applied Linguistics, primarily designed for those beginning postgraduate studies, or taking an introductory MA course as well as advanced undergraduates. Titles in the series are also ideal for language professionals returning to academic study.

The books take an innovative 'practice to theory' approach, with a 'back-to-front' structure. This leads the reader from real-world problems and issues, through a discussion of intervention and how to engage with these concerns, before finally relating these practical issues to theoretical foundations. Additional features include tasks with commentaries, a glossary of key terms, and an annotated further reading section.

Exploring Language Assessment and Testing is a straightforward introduction to the field that provides an inclusive and impartial survey of both classroom based assessment by teachers and larger scale testing, using concrete examples to guide students to the relevant literature.

Ranging from theory to classroom based scenarios, the author provides practical guidance on designing, developing and using assessments, with flexible, step by step processes for improving the quality of tests and assessment systems to make them fairer and more accurate.

This book is an indispensable introduction to the areas of language assessment and testing, and will be of interest to language teachers as well as postgraduate and advanced undergraduate students studying Language Education, Applied Linguistics and Language Assessment.

Book Information

Complimentary Exam Copy

Exploring Exploring Language Assessment and Testing Cover


Illustrative Assessment Cycles


Useful Links

A great deal of information on language assessment can be found on the internet. I will suggest just a few resources as a starting point for exploration.

If you only visit one site…

The essential site for the language assessment enthusiast is the Language Testing Resources web site maintained by Professor Glenn Fulcher of the University of Leicester.

The site has news feeds, articles, features, videos and podcasts on language assessment issues as well as a comprehensive collection of links to practical resources, information sources, associations, test providers, government sites and a wealth of other material. When setting out to look for language assessment information on the internet, this is the best place to begin the journey.


Software for building your own assessments

It is becoming increasingly easy for teachers to set up their own assessments and there are many commercial products available. Secure systems for large-scale testing can be very expensive, but fairly simple exercises and quizzes can be made using free resources that are reasonably easy to use. Here are two well-established examples:

Google forms is a Free online application from Google for preparing questionnaires and tests. Google forms currently offers six different question formats and automatically saves the results of the assessment to a spreadsheet. Step by step guides on setting up quizzes can be found on the internet: www.google.com/drive/start/apps.html

Hot Potatoes is downloadable software that allows you to set up assessments that can then be delivered over the internet: http://hotpot.uvic.ca   

An electronic portfolio

Linked to the Common European Framework of Reference, the The EAQUALS/ALTE Electronic Language Portfolio (eELP) application provides a way of systematically recording and communicating language learning achievements. It can be downloaded free-of-charge from www.eELP.org

Statistical resources

A useful tool for those who wish to explore statistics for language assessment or who work with small data sets is the free software package, CITAS. This can be downloaded if you register your details at www.assess.com

Language assessment communities

The International Language Testing Association is the global association for language testing and assessment scholars and practitioners.  www.iltaonline.com

Statistical Tools for language assessment


Task types for language assessment