Overview: This class focuses on second language assessment, teaching and learning. Whether we like it or not, assessment is often at the center of teaching and learning. Tests have a huge impact on what and how teachers teach and what and how learners learn. Indeed, communicative approaches to language teaching can only be fully realized when high-stakes testing is also communicative in nature. To understand how to assess a person’s language knowledge and skills, we first must understand precisely what this knowledge and these skills are. In other words, language assessment is predicated on a precise understanding of constructs of language ability. For postgraduate students of applied linguistics and second language acquisition, the subject of language assessment is central to understanding learning, teaching, materials design, test design, curriculum development and language policy. This course aims to provide a practical and comprehensive introduction to language assessment: Students will develop a clearer perspective on classroom learning and teaching, as well as become familiar with a range of research methods and tools for their own investigations of language learning, teaching and testing.
- Familiarize students with the concepts of validity in both language assessment and language research
- Familiarize students with the properties and design features of effective language assessment tools (tests) for use in educational settings and research settings
- Familiarize students with the methods involved in investigating and reporting the features of language assessment tools
Class 1: Introduction to language assessment
Class 2: The socio-cognitive approach to test validity
Class 3: General-specific texts
Class 4: Context validity
Class 5: Theory-based (cognitive) validity
Class 6: Task evaluation: Receptive: Cognitive and Context validity
Class 7: Theory-based (cognitive) validity
Class 8: Task evaluation: Productive: Cognitive and Context validity
Class 9: Scoring validity
Class 10: Consequential Validity
Class 11: Consequential Validity
Class 12: Test analysis and small-group presentations
Class 13: Test analysis and small-group presentations
The course will involve active participation from students at all times. The course will involve lectures and small group work. Students will analyze language tests and present their findings in small groups and then write up their findings in a report submitted after the end of the course written form (report).
Participation in class activities 70%; Report 30%
Weir, C.J. (2005). Language Testing and Validation: An Evidence-based Approach. London: Palgrave-Macmillan. (Paperback)
This is an intensive course held at the end of January. The tentative dates are as follows: January 24th (Periods 2,3,4), 25th (2,3,4), 26th (2,3,4) and 29th (2,3,4,5).
Homework will involve reading the reference text to support the students’ learning. Students will need to work on an analysis of a language test and submit a short written report by email following the completion of the course.