Principles of Language Assessment

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Thornbury (2001:18) defines assessment as “different ways of collecting information about learner’s progress and achievement”. In other words it is the process of gathering, describing or quantifying information about performance (Coombe & Hubley: 2007). Assessment is not only gauging learner’s ability but also about measuring the quality or success of a teaching course, etc. (Richards & Platt: 1992). However, assessment is mistakenly restricted to testing which is, in fact, a component as are interviews, and observations. Assessment can be informal such as based on teachers’ observation of learners in pair/group work or it can be ongoing that can be done anytime during the course. Brown (2004) considers assessment a process rather than a product with the prime objective of ensuring if the course objectives have been met. 2. Basic Concepts 2.1. Informal Assessment Informal assessment can be prompted or unprompted comments, verbal feedback to students, observing students working in pairs or groups, and so on. 2.2. Formal assessment Formal assessment is based on activities or procedures which are systematic and provide a measurement of students’ achievement, for example, on a progress test. 2.3. Traditional Assessment Traditional assessment includes multiple-choice, true-false, and matching items as well as norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests. 2.3.1. Multiple-choice (MCQs) The examinee receives a question followed by three to five choices to pick at least on as a correct answer. MCQs have a stem which is usually a question or an incomplete statement, alternatives which are the possible answers, and distracters that are incorrect answers. 2.3.2. True-false It is an item on a language test where students are ask... ... middle of paper ... ...ls-of-language-assessment-manual-by-coombe-and-hubley. Reterieved: 20/1/2014. Fullan, M. (2004 ). The new meaning of educational change (4th ed.). New York and London:: Teacher's College Press. Henning, G. (1996). Accounting for nonsystematic error in performance ratings. Language Testing, 13(1), 53-61 Huerta-Macias, A. (1995). Alternative assessment: Responses to commonly asked questions. TESOL Journal, 5(1): 8-11 O’Malley, J.M. & Valdez L.P. (1996). Authentic assessment for English language learners: Practical approaches for teachers. White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley, Longman. Rea-Dickins, P. (2004). Understanding teachers as agents of assessment. Language Testing, 21(3), 249-258. Richards, J.C., Platt, J, & Platt, H. (1992). Dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics. Essesx, Longman. Thornbury, S. (2001). An A-Z of ELT. London, MacMillan
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