Assessment is vital to the education process considering that it allows teachers diagnose students’ difficulties, strengths and provide positive, supportive and useful feedback to learners since it measures not only the students’ performance, but also, the progress they are making (Lennon, 2012, p.4). In the same token, an article about classroom assessment states that “assessment is a systematic process of gathering information about what a student knows, is able to do, and is learning to do”. Moreover, the information gathered in the assessment process offers the foundation for decision-making and planning for instruction and learning. To sum up, assessment is an integral part of instruction that enhances, empowers, and celebrates student learning (Classroom Assessment, n.d. p.3).
Regarding the important role that assessment plays in the language classroom, the aim of the paper is to devise a formal progress test for assessing the communicative use of language of a target group. Therefore, to justify the test in relation to its theoretical basis, firstly, the type of test according to purpose will be presented. Secondly it will be discussed whether the test could be considered second, or third generation. Thirdly, the principles of language testing will be outlined in relation to the test designed. Fourthly, relevant scales. Fifthly test description and instructions for marking the test will be described and finally the conclusion will be given.
II. Test Type According to its Purpose
The test type is a progress test, according to Bachman (1990), progress tests supplies relevant information to make adjustments or modifications to the programme. This test was designed for a pre-intermediate class and it was chosen since its aim is to provide learners with supportive feedback on the effectiveness of their communicative skills development, reading, listening, speaking and writing. Therefore, the teacher can implement all the necessary changes to help learners overcome their difficulties reinforcing on the needed skills. Besides, this test was designed and will be administered by the English teacher with the purpose of looking back over the last week work which was about environmental problems intending to go in pursuit of the principles of communicative language testing that promotes real language use.
As it was mentioned previously, the theme to assess is related to environmental issues and solutions and the test aims at measure the development of the productive and receptive skills and it was designed taking into account the principles of communicative language teaching and testing which regards to the use of the language in communicative situations. Moreover, as authentic and meaningful communication should be the goal in language learning, as well as fluency and accuracy must be both important goals in language learning and communication must concern the integration of different language skills (Richards, 2002), this...