I look on language testing in schools and university departments as basically a matter of problem solving. The school, administration, parents and, of course, the students themselves need information to find out how everyone is doing.
But effective testing has to be based on curriculum objectives.
Without a clear description of what you are trying to achieve, it is not possible to know whether or not your have got there.
In the absence of clear curriculum objectives, testing becomes a hit and miss affair. Most often, tests are constructed from an unsystematic selection of some of the structures, words and topics which have been used in teaching throughout the previous weeks, months, or over the whole academic year.
Exam content is selected according to a feeling that, “Yes, they should be able to do this. It’s about their level” or “They did this in class. Let’s see if they can still do it” rather than any commonly accepted information gathering principles.
My aim, as a testing consultant, is to help you avoid this chaos and produce tests you can be sure of.
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