Criteria for selecting language tests


To develop a set of criteria for selecting language tests

Approx. 10 minutes

Activity title

OK, so it’s time to apply what we’ve been learning to critically evaluate some language tests.

TASK: Think back over the things covered so far in the unit. What criteria would you include if you wrote a list for evaluating language tests? 

Write a list of 6-10 questions you would want to know the answers to if you were choosing a test. Once you have written your list, compare it with ours below.

Example: What type of assessment is needed?

Example questions to select a language test

  • What type of assessment is needed? 
  • What type of test is it? (e.g. direct, performance)
  • How is it marked? (e.g. criterion referenced, norm referenced)
  • Does the test have validity? (Does it test what it claims to test?)
  • Does the test have reliability? (Are the results dependable and trustworthy?)
  • How practical would it be to administer this test in your context?
  • What backwash might the test create? 
  • What role would technology play in the test?
  • Does the test have any biases or make any assumptions about language and/or language learning? (e.g. does it impose a particular model of English)

The set of questions you have now put together will help you to make decisions when selecting assessments for your learners.