ERIC Number: ED206165
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Jun
Psycholinguistic Foundations of Language Assessment.
A review of literature on foreign language testing indicates that the earliest approaches to language assessment were generally uninformed by contemporaneous linguistic and psychological theories and were characterized by a lack of psychometric sophistication. This trend was followed by the development of test instruments that were heavily influenced by structural linguistics and behavioral psychology. Accordingly, such tests contained multiple-choice items pertaining to discrete linguistic structures and skills. This type of test prevailed for some time and is still widely used. The theoretical basis argued that they failed to reflect the integrative, communicative aspects of real language use. The early criticism of the sociolinguists was reinforced by that of theoretical linguists, psycholinguists, and educators who are adopting communicative approaches to the study of language within their respective domains. The field of communicative competence testing is relatively embryonic and faces formidable challenges to its development, the principal one being the lack of a widely accepted model of communicative competence. Notwithstanding theoretical and psychometric problems, the notion of communicative competence provides a necessary next step in the evolution of language assessment techniques. (Author/AMH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Language Assessment Institute, National College of Education (Evanston, IL, June 17, 1981).