Kinds of tests
kind of tests efl
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Kinds of tests
Kinds of tests
We use tests to obtain information. The information we hope to obtain will of course vary from situation to situation. It is possible, nevertheless, to categorize tests according to a
small number of kinds of information being sought. This categorization 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 we will discuss next are the proficiency tests, achievement tests, diagnostic tests, and placement tests.
Proficiency tests Achievement tests
They are designed to measure people`s ability in a language regardless of
any training they may have had in that language. It is based on the
specification of what candidates have to be able to do in the language in
order to be considered proficient.
Proficient means having sufficient command of the language for a particular
For example, to discover if someone can function successfully as a United
Oxford EFL examinations
The purpose of these tests is to show whether candidates have reached a
certain standard with respect to certain specified abilities.
They are directly related to language courses. Their purpose is to establish how successful
individual Ss, group of Ss, or the courses themselves have been in achieving objectives.
There are two kinds: Final achievement tests and progress achievement tests.
Final achievement tests are those administered at the end of the course of study. They may
be written and administered by ministries of education, official examining boards, or by
members of teaching institutions.
The content of a final achievement test should be based directly on a detailed course
syllabus and its long term competency or on the books and other materials used.
Progress achievement tests are intended to measure the progress that Ss are making.
These tests should be related to the syllabus short term achievement indicators.
Diagnostic tests Placement tests
They are used to identify students`strengths and weaknesses. They are also
intended primarily to ascertain what further teaching is necessary.
They are intended to provide information which will help to place students at the stage ( or in the
part) of the teaching program most appropriate to their abilities. Typically they are used to assign
Ss to classes at different levels.
The placement tests which are most successful are those constructed for particular situations.
They depend on the identification of the key features at different levels of teaching in the
institution. They should be produced by the institutions itself.
Direct testing Indirect testing
Testing is said to be direct when it requires the candidate to perform precisely the skill
which we wish to measure.
If we want to know how well candidates can write compositions, we get them to write
If we want to know how well they pronounce the language, we get them to speak.
Direct testing is intended to measure the productive skills ( speaking and writing)
It attempts to measure the abilities which underlie the skills in which we are interested.
One example of indirect testing is Lado`s (1996) who proposed a method of testing
pronunciation ability by a paper and pencil test in which the candidate has to identify
pairs of words which rhyme with each other.
Discrete point testing Integrative testing
It refers to the testing of one element at a time, item by item. This might involve, for
example, a series of items each testing a particular grammatical structure.
It requires the candidate to combine many language elements in the completion of a
task. This might involve writing a composition, making notes while listening to a lecture,
taking a dictation, or completing a cloze passage.
Discrete point tests will almost always be indirect, while integrative tests will tend to be direct. However,
some integrative testing methods, such as cloze procedure (fill in the blanks) are indirect.
Norm-referenced testing Criterion-referenced testing
It relates one candidate`s performance to that of other candidates (only with the
purpose of comparing). We are not told directly what the student is capable of doing in
There isn`t a specific criteria to evaluate the results.
The purpose of these tests is to classify people according to whether or not they are
able to perform some task or set of tasks satisfactorily. The results are not used to
compare with other candidates.
Students are encouraged to measure their progress in relation to meaningful and
Objective testing Subjective testing
If no judgment is required on the part of the scorer, then the scoring is objective. Like a
multiple choice test.
If judgment is called for, the scoring is said to be subjective. Like a composition.
The distinction here is between methods of scoring, and nothing else.
Objectiv ity in scoring is sought after by many testers, not for itself, but for the greater reliability it brings. In
general, the less subjective the scoring, the greater agreement there will be between two different scorers.