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Concourse 2

Module Three ELT specialism: testing


This guide assumes that you have already followed the one on testing, assessment and evaluation and/or know about testing formats and purposes.  If you would like to open that guide in a new window or tab, click here.
For the purposes of Module Three, three types of test concern us:

  1. Diagnostic: to discover people's strengths and weaknesses
  2. Proficiency: to discover people's current abilities and level
  3. Achievement: to discover and evaluate how well a course has met its learning targets for the students


Which test, when?

Testing happens more than once for the Module Three course:

  1. It forms an integral part of the needs analysis (diagnostic assessment) but the testing must come after the needs analysis or you won't be able to target the test properly.
  2. It is central to the evaluation of the course itself both during the course (formative assessment) and at the end (summative assessment).

That means that Part 2 (the Needs Analysis) and Part 4 (the Assessment) are both impacted by the ways you test and your understanding of the guiding principles.  That's nearly half the whole of Module Three.  There are four areas:

  1. As part of but not instead of the needs analysis process you need a test which will perform a dual function.  It will be a dual diagnostic and proficiency test.
    1. it will tell you how well people have already mastered the language and skills they need before the course begins.
    2. it will tell you where their strengths and weaknesses lie to inform the course design.
  2. During and at the end of the course, part of your evaluation of its success must involve tests to see how well the learning objectives are being or have been addressed.  These are achievement tests.
  3. Additionally, you will want to include some type of formative assessment and evaluation while the course progresses.  That, too, will be a form of achievement testing and may also include elements of diagnostic testing to help you plan where to go next and know whether you need to tweak the course programme to take account of the learning process.
  4. Finally, at the end of the course, you need to evaluate its success and comment on its suitability for future use.

The principles set out below apply to all of these.


The three essentials to discuss

Three fundamental characteristics of a test were established in the general guide to this area.  What were they?
Click here when you have an answer: