Language Testing and Assessment

Module code: ED7007

Module co-ordinator:
Professor Glenn Fulcher

The teaching and learning of language testing and assessment at Leicester is based on a clearly articulated model of language assessment literacy for teachers and assessment professionals. This was first published by tProfessor Fulcher, in the journal Language Assessment Quarterly.

Based upon this model, Professsor Fulcher has created innovative internet-based multimedia materials and interactive tasks, many supported by automatically updated news and research information. These include videos, regular podcasts, study scenarios, and support features. Many of these materials are open access through the languagetesting.info website, which has become the primary resource for teaching language testing around the world. These resources are complemented by the many books that Professor Fulcher has written over the years, including 'Language Testing and Assessment: An Advanced Coursebook' (2007), 'Practical Language Testing' (2010), 'The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing' (2012), and 'Re-examining Language Testing: A Philosophical and Social Inquiry' (2015). Additional materials (not open access) are available through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.

The learning package designed at Leicester is unique, which is why our resources are used around the world. And we don’t mind sharing what we do so well. The content, learner activities, and delivery methods are integrated and coherent, informed by a theoretical model of what it means to be assessment literate. The study of language testing at Leicester is rapidly growing in popularity, opening employment opportunities beyond the teaching profession. This is because students on this module acquire transferable research and analytic skills that are highly valued by employers of social scientists.

What professors say about the learning resources designed at Leicester: 'I always recommend languagetesting.info to my students because it contains an ever increasing array of videos, features, articles, links, podcasts, scenarios, statistics, and a bookstore. It is so pedagogically useful that I assign tasks to students in my language testing course that require them to use the website to complete the task. As my students become more involved in the field they find other features useful, such as links to journals and employment opportunities. These students will continue to use these tools as they develop professionally, and indeed, will recommend this website to their students and colleagues'.

The modules are also fun, as they are designed to induct all participants into 'a community of inquirers', to create the conditions for all to acquire the skill set to become expert inquirers, and to address questions not only of technical processes, but also of the ethics and social uses of tests. The vision is an outcome of a pedagogical view that Dewey is correct in placing growth at the centre of learning, and that to 'protect, sustain, and direct growth is the chief ideal of education'. This is combined with commitment to an agenda that prioritises empirical research, theory building, and a concern for social consequences. Students who complete the language testing modules are critical, caring, and employable.

Do you find language testing a potentially interesting subject to study? Listen to the following podcast, in which Professor Fulcher explains what language testing is about. While you are listening to the podcast, you may wish to read the definitions of language testing and examples to which the podcast refers.

Topics covered

  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • Classroom assessment
  • Theoretical models of language ability
  • Test design and specifications
  • Writing test items and tasks
  • Prototyping and field testing (including data analysis)
  • Scoring tests
  • Ethics and test use in society
  • Arguments and evidence

Learning

  • 7 one-hour seminars
  • 7 one-hour tutorials
  • Group presentations

Assessment

  • Assignment, 3,000 words (100%)