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Goal

: Writing assessment from the point of view of language testing, which has traditionally
concerned itself with defining what is meant by language ability in general, as an
underlying cognitive ability and as manifested through the traditional skills of speaking,
listening, reading, and writing.

Parts of Discussion: Various test purpose, relationship between actual language use, abilities and
personal characteristics that underlie actual language use, the idea of assessing
actual language use, a model of test usefulness

Various Test Purpose
first purpose - to make inference about language ability; the second purpose - to make decisions based
on those inferences.
Three types of inferences on the basis of a language test – proficiency, diagnosis, and achievement
Inference on proficiency – make decision for admission to academic program, placement into
different levels of language program, exemption from certain coursework, selection of particular job
Inference on diagnosis – strenghts and weaknesses of a student to tailor the teacher’s instruction to
meet their student’s needs
Inference on achievement – make decision about grading and promotion on the individual level,
modification of instruction on the classroom level, modification of instruction on the classroom level,
curriculum and funding for progams.
Decision based on inferences about language ability to know whether they are high-stakes or low
stakes.
High-stakes decision – significant effect on the lives of individuals or on programs, not easily
reversed, errors in these decision can be difficult to correct.
Example high stake decision – college admission and awarding of funding to schools based on the test
result.
Low stakes decision – minor impact on individual and program, error is less drastic consequences as
compared to high stakes
Example low stake – placement into a series of intensive english program language course. Why?
Student can be moved to different level after few days of class if such student are not suitable in the
class they are joining.

Conclusion – the first consideration of assessing writing is the purpose of assessing the participant’s writing. Is it for school admission? Scholarship? Placement into a serie of intensive class? Improving classroom instruction? .