Communicative Language Testing Essay

1173 Words Jan 14th, 2011 5 Pages
Teaching and testing are so closely interrelated. It is obvious that the development of different theories and approaches of language learning and teaching also affects the history of language testing. Therefore, it is common to see evolution of both language teaching and language testing.

There has been a shift from analytical to integrative approach in both language teaching and language testing falling into three stages:

❖ Grammar –translation ❖ Structural ❖ Communicative Approach

These three generations of language teaching are seen parallel to three generations of language testing. Through this shift, new ideas about language testing and new ways of evaluating the performance of
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Little attention has been given to create unique test designs for testing grammar within a communicative curriculum. Looking at commercially produced tests and available practice materials for tests, there has not much changed in them as there is not much that provides practice for testing communicative grammar communicatively.

There is a common practice to test grammatical competence through decontextualised, isolated sentence formats and discrete-point items, which still seems to hold firm in the testing practice although various models of language proficiency have been proposed which advocate the measurement of the constituent parts of language proficiency communicatively. According to some experts, such type of test is non-communicative and context independent.

As a reaction against the traditional assessment of using grammatical items divorced from the context, an alternative approach for the assessment of grammar with the notion of contextualizing items in a grammar test was introduced since testers pointed out that with isolated format there is a danger of testing an ability to do particular type of test rather than an ability to use the language. Other attempts to move away from discrete-point, decontextualised test items assessing grammatical competence include a variety of test formats. These tests measure grammatical competence within the framework of testing global language skills like speaking and writing, and listening and

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