module specification

LN7055 - Language Testing and Assessment (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Language Testing and Assessment
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
164 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay-type course work
Oral Examination 50%   Oral Presentation (weeks 7-8): analysis and evaluation of a language test
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester LMET Distance Learning Thursday Afternoon
Spring semester North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

This module examines the core concepts and common theoretical approaches to language testing and introduces the new approaches to test design and assessment processes. The module encourages students to evaluate their own language testing and assessment practices more reflexively and to consider the tests that are commonly used more critically. It will discuss the common debates in the field of language testing and assessment and will explore a wide range of English language tests in terms of their practicality, reliability, validity, authenticity and ethicality. Evaluating and examining a variety of local and international language tests will allow the students to become familiar with the different types, purposes and objectives of language tests. By engaging students in a variety of practical and interactive tasks, the module provides opportunities for designing and developing English language tests that are useful in teachers’ everyday practices. The module also provides a global perspective towards the role and power of language tests by combining the introduction of the underlying principles of language testing with participants' personal and professional experience of language tests at local, national and global levels.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

 This module aims to broaden teachers’ perspectives to and deepen their understanding of language tests and assessment processes. By exploring the global context of language testing and language teaching, the module aims to highlight the intricate and direct interrelationship between language testing and teaching, and the significant impact language tests have on teaching, education, employment and immigration in modern life. One of the primary aims of the module is to increase teachers’ awareness of the importance of revisiting the traditional concepts of language testing and to encourage them to develop the insight and knowledge that support language teachers in their classroom-based assessments. The module specifically aims to:

1) Introduce, analyse and evaluate the main theoretical issues and current debates on matters of testing English as a second/foreign language, and specially the differences between testing and assessment, formative and summative assessment
2) Relate current theories and debates to students own national/professional language testing situation and every-day practices
3) Provide students with opportunities to critically analyze language tests and their application in their own contexts
4) Provide them with opportunities to begin to develop language tests that are appropriate, applicable and suitable for their teaching and assessment. 


The module will cover areas such as

Primary concepts in language assessment
Paradigms in language testing
Major concerns in language testing (1)
Major concerns in language testing (2)
Summative/Formative/Alternative Assessment
Guided Independent study
Assessment of/for learning and teacher-based assessment
Test specifications, design & development
Benchmarks in language testing & Common European Framework
Computerized language tests
Language testing in TESOL

Learning and teaching

The module uses a combination of lectures, seminars, test analysis and development activities and formal and informal students’ presentations. A range of individual, pair or group activities are used while test design is practiced.
Active use of Weblearn for lectures, seminars, readings, seminar tasks, important links to resources, and discussion board is practiced.
Learning occurs in dependent, semi-dependent and independent modes as students receive fully guided advice on these.

Distance Learning students will receive the same theoretical input through bespoke on-line module materials with access to an allocated tutor who is available to support them either face-to-face, by e-mail or by telephone.


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1 identify and comment upon the theoretical debates within language testing;
2 demonstrate an enhanced understanding of theory in language testing and a critical awareness of how language tests are used in their practice
3 provide a critical analysis of, and/or a theoretical rationale for language tests and assessment methods in a variety of local, national and international contexts;
4    apply this knowledge at a practical level in evaluating and analyzing tests, and in designing language tests in their teaching practice

Assessment strategy

There are two assessed components in this module, a 20-minute individual presentation and a 2000-2500 word coursework/essay. The presentation component encourages students to learn more about different language tests and to develop skills in evaluating and analyzing tests from both a practitioner and researcher point of view. The second component (coursework/essay/test) aims to provide the students with an opportunity to either explore a theoretical area of language testing to deepen their knowledge and understanding of it, or to develop their skills in designing and developing a test for their local practices.

Distance Learning students will submit their work via email and present via Skype or recording.


Alderson, J. C. and J. Banerjee (2003). "State of the art: Language testing and assessment, part I." Language Teaching 34: 213-236.
Alderson, J. C. and J. Banerjee (2003). "State of the art: Language testing and assessment, part II." Language Teaching 35: 79-113.
Bachman, L. F. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Davies, A. (2003). "Three heresies of language testing research." Language Testing 20(4): 355-368.
Douglas, D. (2010). Understanding Language Testing. London : Hodder Education.
Fulcher, G. (2003). Testing second language speaking. Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Fulcher, G. & Davidson, C. (2007) Language Testing and Assessment: And Advance Resourcebook. London: Routeledge
Leung, C. (2004). Developing Formative Teacher Assessment: Knowledge, Practice, and Change. Language Assessment Quarterly. 1(1): 19-41.

Selected Journals (available on LMU online resources)
Language Testing
Language Assessment Quarterly
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education

Websites: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR) Clearing House on Assessment & Evaluation  Cambridge Exams