Defining ELTSociety and Testing During COVID-19
- Assessment Literacy: There are a number of definitions of ‘assessment literacy’(or the more specific, ‘language assessment literacy’) available. One that is comprehensive (i.e. covering large-scale proficiency testing as well as classroom assessment) yet succinct, is the gloss used by the New Zealand Ministry of Education.
- Assessment: the broadest testing term and category, it covers everything, from a three-hour proficiency test, to classroom quizzes. It is defined as, “an ongoing process of collecting information about a given performance according to systematic and substantively grounded procedures” (Brown & Abeywickrama, 2019)*
- Testing: refers to specific instruments or procedures used to examine and make judgments about particular English skills or knowledge (including presentations, essays, etc., as well as more traditional tests, both inside or outside the classroom). It typically includes grades/scores reflecting performance. Another definition of test is “a method or procedure for measuring a person’s ability, knowledge or performance in a given domain” (Brown & Abeywickrama, 2019).
- Proficiency testing: large-scale tests of English skills like TOEFL, IELTS etc. that have no connections to particular programs or courses of study. Such assessments typically test multiple skills with the same instrument. A proficiency test is also defined as “a test that is not limited to any one course, curriculum, or single skill in the language, it tests overall global ability” (Brown & Abeywickrama, 2019).
- Achievement testing – aka, classroom assessment: including teacher-made tests, tests provided with course books, weekly quizzes, etc. These are (or should be) connected to course learning outcomes that are expected to be achieved. Achievement test is also defined as “an instrument used to determine whether course objectives have been met- and appropriate knowledge and skills acquired- by the end of a given period of instruction” (Brown & Abeywickrama, 2019)
*Source: Abeywickrama, P., & Brown, H. D. (2019). Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices, 3rd Edition. NY: Pearson Longman.
This section presents a collection of views and perspectives on English Language Testing in the age of the COVID 19 worldwide pandemic. Contributors were asked for a few paragraphs describing how things looked from their end of the telescope.
Tetsuya Yasukochi - High School English Teacher (Japan)
Yong-Hoon Lee - Chairman In-Times-In Co. Ltd, South Korea)
Moroni Flake - CEO, English 3 (USA)
Jim Brosam - President, iTEP International (USA)
I believe that the greatest challenges language assessment as a field faces are not in the cerebral fields of validity theory . . . , nor in sophisticated statistical or measurement models . . . . Rather, the challenges that we, as language testers, face are in the “real world” arenas where language tests are being used to make decisions about individuals and institutions. (Lyle Bachman, 2014, Ongoing Issues in Language Assessment)
Designing communicative, performance-based assessment rubrics continues to challenge assessment experts and classroom teachers alike. (Brown & Abeywickrama, 2019, Language Assessment: Principles & Classroom Practices)
There is a pressing need for a shift in attitudes towards assessment in language education: a shift that is only beginning to happen. Assessment is an indispensable ingredient in effective teaching and learning. Anthony Green, Exploring Language Assessment & Testing, 2015