Language Assessment in the Classroom

An online space about assessment procedures and issues of concern for language teachers

This site is intended to familiarize language teachers with various approaches to assessing language development and to introduce some important considerations regarding assessment of advanced language learners.

The forms of assessment described here are not particular to any given language but can be used with learners of any language, including Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, and Korean as well as more commonly taught languages like Spanish, French, and German and English as a Second Language.

Furthermore, although the emphasis here is on advanced language learners, the assessment principles outlined are relevant to learners at all levels of study.
Although a great deal of research has gone into the development of standardized language tests that can be used on a large scale, their relevance to the language classroom is not clear.

Some assessment specialists, such as Pamela Moss (2003, 2005), have even suggested that the principles and assumptions behind standardized testing may be irrelevant (or worse, detrimental) to teachers' efforts to support student learning.

What is needed, then, is an approach to understanding learners' language knowledge and abilities that is intimately tied to the day-to-day instructional activities that characterize advanced language classrooms.

By aligning teaching and assessment, classroom instructors can move beyond the one-off sampling approach associated with traditional testing and can instead engage in an ongoing effort to profile and interpret students' abilities as these emerge during the learning process.

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