Practical Language Testing

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2010-03-26
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Practical Language Testing equips you with the skills, knowledge, and principles necessary to understand and construct language tests. This intensely practical book gives guidelines on the design of assessments within the classroom, and provides the necessary tools to analyze and improve assessments, as well as deal with alignment to externally imposed standards. Testing is situated both within the classroom and within the larger social context, and readers are provided the knowledge necessary to make realistic and fair decisions about the use and implemnetation of tests. The book explains the normative role of large scale testing and provides alternatives that the reader can adapt to their own context. This fulfills the dual purpose of providing the reader with the knowledge they need to prepare learners for tests, and the practical skills for using assessment for learning. Practical Language Testing is the ideal introduction for students of applied linguistics, TESOL, and modern foreign language teaching as well as practicing teachers required to design or implement language testing programs.

Author Biography

Glenn Fulcher is Reader in Education (TESOL), University of Leicester, U.K.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vii
List of figuresp. ix
List of tablesp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Testing and assessment in contextp. 1
Test purposep. 1
Tests in educational systemsp. 4
Testing ritualsp. 5
Unintended consequencesp. 6
Testing and societyp. 8
Historical interlude Ip. 11
The politics of language testingp. 12
Historical interlude IIp. 15
Professionalising language education and testingp. 17
Validityp. 19
Activitiesp. 21
Standardised testingp. 31
Two paradigmsp. 31
Testing as sciencep. 32
What's in a curve?p. 35
The curve and score meaningp. 36
Putting it into practicep. 37
Test scores in a consumer agep. 42
Testing the testp. 44
Introducing reliabilityp. 46
Calculating reliabilityp. 47
Living with uncertaintyp. 54
Reliability and test lengthp. 57
Relationships with other measuresp. 57
Measurementp. 59
Activitiesp. 60
Classroom assessmentp. 67
Life at the chalk-facep. 67
Assessment for Learningp. 68
Self- and peer-assessmentp. 70
Dynamic Assessmentp. 72
Understanding changep. 75
Assessment and second language acquisitionp. 77
Criterion-referenced testingp. 79
Dependabilityp. 81
Some thoughts on theoryp. 87
Activitiesp. 90
Deciding what to testp. 93
The test design cyclep. 93
Construct definitionp. 96
Where do constructs come from?p. 102
Models of communicative competencep. 105
From definition to designp. 118
Activitiesp. 120
Designing test specificationsp. 127
What are test specifications?p. 127
Specifications for testing and teachingp. 134
A sample detailed specification for a reading testp. 139
Granularityp. 147
Performance conditionsp. 148
Target language use domain analysisp. 149
Moving back and forthp. 154
Activitiesp. 155
Evaluating, prototyping and pilotingp. 159
Investigating usefulness and usabilityp. 159
Evaluating items, tasks and specificationsp. 159
Guidelines for multiple-choice itemsp. 172
Prototypingp. 173
Pilotingp. 179
Field testingp. 185
Item shellsp. 186
Operational item review and pre-testingp. 188
Activitiesp. 190
Scoring language testsp. 197
Scoring itemsp. 197
Scorabilityp. 201
Scoring constructed response tasksp. 208
Automated scoringp. 216
Corrections for guessingp. 218
Avoiding own goalsp. 219
Activitiesp. 220
Aligning tests to standardsp. 225
It's as old as the hillsp. 225
The definition of'standards'p. 225
The uses of standardsp. 226
Unintended consequences revisitedp. 228
Using standards for harmonisation and identityp. 229
How many standards can we afford?p. 231
Performance level descriptors (PLDs) and test scoresp. 233
Some initial decisionsp. 234
Standard-setting methodologiesp. 236
Evaluating standard settingp. 241
Trainingp. 243
The special case of the CEFRp. 244
You can always count on uncertaintyp. 248
Activitiesp. 250
Test administrationp. 253
No, no. Not me!p. 253
Controlling extraneous variablesp. 254
Rituals revisitedp. 258
Standardised conditions and trainingp. 259
Planned variation: accommodationsp. 262
Unplanned variation: cheatingp. 264
Scoring and moderationp. 267
Data handling and policyp. 268
Reporting outcomes to stakeholdersp. 269
The expense of it allp. 272
Activitiesp. 274
Testing and teachingp. 277
The things we do for testsp. 277
Washbackp. 277
Washback and content alignmentp. 282
Preparing learners for testsp. 288
Selecting and using testsp. 292
The gold standardp. 295
Activitiesp. 298
Epiloguep. 300
Appendicesp. 301
Glossaryp. 319
Referencesp. 325
Indexp. 343
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