Types of Testing in ELT
Achievement testing. It is used to determine whether or not students have mastered the course content and how they should proceed. The content of achievement tests, which are commonly given at the end of the course, is generally based on the course syllabus or the course textbook.
Proficiency testing. It is used to measure learners’ general linguistic knowledge, abilities or skills without reference to any specific course.
Some proficiency tests are intended to show whether students or people outside the formal educational system have reached a given level of general language ability.
Others are designed to show whether candidates have sufficient ability to be able to use a language in some specific area such as medicine, tourism etc. Such tests are often called Specific Purposes tests.
Diagnostic testing which seeks to identify those areas in which a student needs further help. These tests can be fairly general, and show, for example, whether a student needs particular help with one of the four language skills; or they can be more specific, seeking to identify weaknesses in a student’s use of grammar.
Progress testing: It is used at various stages throughout a language course to determine learners’ progress up to that point and to see what they have learnt.
Psychometric testing which is aimed at measuring psychological traits such as personality, intelligence, aptitude, ability, knowledge, skills which makes specific assumptions about the nature of the ability tested (e.g. that it is unidimensional and normally distributed). It includes a lot of discrete point items.
Competence testing which is used to measure candidates’ acquired capability to understand and produce a certain level of foreign language, defined by phonological, lexical grammatical, sociolinguistic and discourse constituents. In order to make test-takers’ competence measurable and visible, testers turn of necessity to their actual performance which may indicate their competence.
Performance testing which includes direct, systematic observation of an actual student performance or examples of student performances and rating of that performance according to pre-established performance criteria. Students are assessed on the result as well as the process engaged in a complex task or creation of a product. / A performance test measures performance on tasks requiring the application of learning in an actual or simulated setting. Either the test stimulus, the desired response, or both are intended to lend a high degree of realism to the test situation.
Integrative tests which include activities that assess skills and knowledge in an integrated manner (e.g., reading and writing, listening and speaking). Less attention is paid to specific lexicogrammatical points.
Discrete point tests, which contain items that ideally reveal the candidate’s ability to handle one level of language and one element of receptive or productive skills.