3 Kinds of tests and testing

Jun 18th, 2015
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This chapter begins by considering the purposes for which language testing is carried out. It goes on to make a number of distinctions: between direct and indirect testing, between discrete point and integrative testing, between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced testing, and between objective and subjective testing.

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3 Kinds of tests and testingThis chapter begins by considering the purposes for which language testing is carried out. It goes on to make a number of distinctions: between direct and indirect testing, between discrete point and integrative testing, between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced testing, and between objective and subjective testing. Tests can be categorised according to the types of information they provide. This categorisation will prove useful both in deciding whether an existing test is suitable for a particular purpose and in writing appropriate new tests where these are necessary. The four types of test which we will discuss in the following sections are: proficiency tests, achievement tests, diagnostic tests, and placement tests. Proficiency testsProficiency tests are designed to measure people's ability in a language, regardless of any training they may have had in that language. The content of a proficiency test, therefore, is not based on the content or objectives of language courses that people taking the test may have followed. Rather, it is based on a specification of what candidates have to be able to do in the language in order to be considered proficient. This raises the question of what we mean by the word 'proficient'.In the case of some proficiency tests, 'proficient' means having sufficient command of the language for a particular purpose. An example of this would be a test designed to discover whether someone can function success

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