Testing is a universal feature of social life.
Throughout history people have been put to
the test to prove their capability.
In modern societies such tests have rapidly
developed. (to establish identity)
-sport (drugs testing)
-Law (DNA tests)
lie detection tests
-medicine (blood tests)
cancer screening tests
hearing and listening tests
Testing is an important area in different
fields of pure and especially applied
-Testing is a delicate and complex
responsibility as well.
Why is it a delicate responsibility?
It is delicate because decisions are going to
be made on the test results.
Why is it a complex responsibility?
Testing is complex because it involves
different fields of study.
It is impossible to have accurate
measurement if the test designer
is not aware of the psychological
sociological, methodological and
Psychology: is the responsible
science to define learning and
investigate various variables that
Sociology: is the science , which
determines and defines the
community of class.
Methodology: determines the
frameworks for both teaching and
Philosophy defines learning
strategies and cognitive styles.
Experts believe that teaching and
testing are the two sides of the
same coin; that is, they are very
-Testing itself can be a teaching
device, it is another step forward.
A good testing is followed by re-
teachings and re-learnings
Backwash effect (washback effect)
The effect of the nature of a test on
teaching and learning.
-It could be a beneficial effect (positive
effect) to teaching. When?
when the test helps teaching and
-It could be a harmful effect (negative
when the test content is at variance with
-A Test refers to any procedure used
to measure a factor or assess some
- measurement is an instrument
designed to elicit a specific sample of
an individual’s behavior.
-A test is a tool or an instrument for
collecting numerical information
(data) on an attribute.
A psychological or educational test is a procedure
designed to elicit certain behavior from which one
makes inferences about certain characteristics of
-Test is the only procedure for measuring ability,
knowledge or performance.
-In general, what distinguishes a test from other
types of measurement is that it is designed to
obtain a specific sample of behavior.
-Tests are often used for pedagogical purposes,
either as a means of motivating students to study,
or as a means of reviewing the material taught
A distinction between
examination and test
*Sometimes the distinction is made in terms
of time allowed:
-A typical “examination” lasts for two,
three, or more hours.
-A typical “test’ lasts for one half to one
* the distinction may be hierarchical.
-A university professor “examines” his
-A primary school teacher “tests” her nine-
*The distinction may depend on whether
assessment is “subjective" (examination)
or “objective” (test)
(also called battery of test)
A group of several tests of a homogeneous
sort given together to a student or a group
of students to test their general
-The results of such tests can be combined to
produce a single score.
-Such batteries are used on assumption that
the errors inherent in each separate test will
cancel each other out and the single score
obtained will be maximally valid.
-The best example could be a TOEFL
-TOEFL :an abbreviation for TEST OF
ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
According to Baker, a test is a way of
arriving at a meaningful decision,
therefore, testing is almost always
associated with the making of
. Traditional tests
-Such tests are useful in early stages of
language learning (Grammar-Translation
-Students memorize many language rules
and lists of words.
-Such framework contains a great deal of
writing (composition) and reading
-Test type was mostly in essay format and
the evaluation of the measurement was
The multiple-choice format
Multiple-choice item (MCI)
-A test item in which the examinee is presented
with a stem (not necessarily a question) along with
3 to 5 possible answers (options) from which one
must be selected.
-The alternatives other than the correct one are
referred to as DISTRACTORS.
-The construction of MCI is difficult and time
-But MCI test format can measure four traditional
The following is a n example of a multiple-
choice item in which only one option is
There wasn’t………………..in the box.
A. any things =OPTIONS/
D. Anything =ANSWER/ CORRECT
A technique used in both
language teaching and language
testing in which a passage of
connected discourse is read
aloud to the students, with
pauses during which they must
try to write what they heard as
accurately as possible.
-A technique for measuring reading
- In a cloze test, words are removed from a
reading passage at a regular intervals
(usually every 7th word), leaving blanks of a
standard length. The reader must then read
the passage and try to guess the missing
-Providing the deleted words requires
perceptive and productive skills, knowledge
of lexical and grammatical systems
Screening test (readiness test)
A type of selection test of which the
purpose is to determine whether or not
students are ready for instruction.
-Measure the extent to which an individual
has achieved a certain degree of maturity or
acquired certain skills or information
needed for undertaking some successful
new learning activities.
a process of quantifying the
characteristics of persons according
to explicit procedure and rules.
It includes three distinguishing
1-Quantification involves assigning
numbers, and this distinguishes measures
from qualitative descriptions. Non-
numerical categories or rankings such as
LETTER GRADES(A,B.C…)or labels (for
example, excellent, good, average…) may
also have the characteristics of
2-Characteristics are mental
attributes and abilities,
sometimes called TRAITS, or
CONSTRUCTS. These mental
abilities, which can only be
observed indirectly, include
characteristics such as aptitude,
intelligence, motivation, fluency in
speaking, and achieving reading
3-Rules and procedures this
means that the “blind” or
haphazard assignment of
numbers to characteristics of
individuals cannot be
regarded as measurement.
Therefore , quantification
must be done according to
explicit rules and procedures.
* Evaluation is the systematic gathering
of information for the purposes of
Evaluation comprises essentially two
2- value judgment or decisions.
The information relevant to evaluation
can be qualitative (non-measurement,
e.g., observations, ratings) or
quantitative (measurement, e.g.,
The importance of testing
Why do we test?
1-We test in order to give the learners a
sense of achievement.
2-to end their dissatisfactions and
3-to foster learning through diagnosing the
4-to enhance learning by making the
learners aware of the course objectives
5-to adjust the learner’s personal
6-to give promotion.
7-to show the effectiveness and
efficiency of instruction, etc.
Tests may gauge the teacher’s ability
and, in general, they serve a two-fold
instructional purpose: as a guide to
the learners, and a guide to the
The use of testing
Testing is helpful in two ways:
1- Encouraging and motivating learning
by our self-made exams,
2-Students prepare themselves and
learn the materials.
Repeated preparations enable students
to master the language parts and for
the teacher the analysis of test results
shows weaknesses and strengths
Standardized tests vs.
-the teacher determines the content.
-the content is decided by the
How much to teach and how much to
test is decided by the syllabus.
-the directions are given by the
teacher, so his/ her students totally
understand what is asked, but the
students in other classes, schools,
etc., may not understand what s/he
-the directions follow a uniform
procedure and are culture free.
Different examinees, from different
schools and nationalities, can
3-Norms or standards
-The norms are local; they are
determined by the school or a
department in the school and may
be influenced by the teacher’s
taste as well.
The norms are closely described
by the experts, to be neither too
low nor too high
-the standards should be
uniform and clearly defined.
-What expectations and which
objectives should be achieved,
and what level of proficiency
the learners should attain is
among the factors determined
by the standards.
- the tests are usually hurriedly
constructed by a single teacher.
-they are too much dependent on the
teacher’s intuition, knowledge,
-the tests are constructed by a panel of
experts in testing after pre-planning and
The application range is very narrow (they
have intra-class usage)
The application range of these tests have a
The history of language
Three eras may be traced:
1- INTUITIVE ERA OR TRADITIONAL TIME
2- SCIENTIFIC ERA
In this era the norms were the teacher’s
-the method of teaching like the method
of testing was determined by the
-teachers were authorities in this era,
therefore tests were subjective.
-composition and translation tests
were common and the teachers’ tastes
were greatly influential on the scoring
system on these tests.
-teachers were different, therefore
tests had different forms and different
responses were possible for the same
-different teachers did not agree a
definite or clear-cut response.
-more objective tests appeared in this era
-there were some criteria established and
the teachers had to observe the standards
in test constructing and test scoring.
-the common method of teaching was the
-linguists were structuralists, so they
believe in the divisibility of language and
the tests were discrete-point (i.e. different
components were tested in isolation).
-multiple-choice items appeared in this
Tests are supposed to be communicative
language tests are supposed to test the
functions and the use of language to see
whether the examinees are able to apply
language as a means of communication.
-communicative tests assess language content
rather than form.