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Testing & Assessment in English Language Teaching - EDU00066M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Bill Soden
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module summary

Language teaching is often indirectly influenced by formal testing and more directly influenced by classroom-based assessment, while knowledge of testing is often necessary to understand and carry out research into language teaching. This module provides an introduction to key concepts and principles in language testing and assessment. It covers theoretical approaches to assessment and testing of language skills in the contexts of General English and English for Specific / Academic Purposes (ESP/EAP).

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

  • To provide an overview of ELT assessment ranging from informal classroom assessment to the theory and practice relating to more formal standardised tests.

  • To develop understanding of key concepts and debates in language testing with reference to communicative language testing and testing languages for specific purposes.

  • To explore recent trends in testing, with reference to technology.

  • To provide opportunities for students to review and critique aspects of internationally recognised tests.

  • To develop an understanding of the issues involved in designing test items and creating tasks for performance tests.

  • To demonstrate the role of testing in research by reference to relevant research studies.

Module learning outcomes

Subject Content:

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Understand the difference between formative and summative assessment, and the different types of tests and assessment approaches available according to purposes and contexts.

  • Understand key concepts of such as validity, reliability, washback and authenticity and how to apply them when evaluating or critiquing tests.

  • Be more familiar with debates and issues surrounding integrated language testing and testing Language for Specific Skills (LSP) with reference to approaches used in established internationally recognised tests.

  • Be able to adapt or design tests for specific teaching contexts.

  • Be more familiar with current and emerging trends in language testing and research into testing.

Academic and Graduate Skills:

  • Formulate arguments and contribute to discussion
  • Develop academic writing skills
  • Participate in individual and group work, presentations and peer-teaching activities
  • Demonstrate effective planning and time management
  • Word process, manage files, use e-mail, VLE and the Web
  • Undertake empirical and literature search

Module content

Module Outline

Week 2: Testing – assessment - teaching: Key concepts and terminology
Week 3: Exploring validity and washback
Week 4: Creating tests-indirect tests and item writing
Week 5: Subjective testing-speaking
Week 6: Testing reading and listening
Week 7: Testing writing
Week 8: Technology and online testing
Week 9: Classroom assessment issues
Week 10: Testing for specific purposes


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback in a range of ways throughout this module. This will include oral feedback in class, responses to posts on the VLE discussion board and written comments on work. You will have the chance to obtain feedback on your writing during the module, and you will have a short one-to-one meeting with a module tutor to discuss assessments.

You will be provided physical written feedback on assignment report sheets as well as them being readily available on the VLE. Feedback in the department will take 4 to 6 weeks.

Indicative reading

Brown, D. (2004). Language Assessment. White Plains: Pearson Education.

Brown, H,D,. & Abeywickrama,P. (2010). Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices.  New Jersey. Pearson.

Chapelle, C.A., & Douglas, D. (2006). Assessing Language through Computer Technology. Cambridge: CUP.

Douglas, D. (2000). Assessing Languages for Specific Purposes. Cambridge: CUP.

Green, A. (2014). Exploring language assessment and testing. Abingdon, Routledge.

Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for Language Teachers. 2nd Ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fulcher, G. (2010). Practical Language Testing. London: Hodder Education.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.