ERIC Number: ED365145
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Language Testing in the 1990s: How Far Have We Come? How Much Further Have We to Go?
Alderson, J. Charles
A discussion of trends and progress in language testing looks at movement in the field since 1980, based on the themes and content of national and international conferences; trends in test content, method, and analysis; and work on the nature of proficiency and of language learning. It is proposed that movement evidenced by conferences is largely sideways and backward; that while improvements have been made in test content, method, and analysis, there is little evidence that these improvements represent real advancements; and that research on the nature of proficiency and of language learning is still in its early stages. Four main reasons are given for the lack of progress: the relative youth of the discipline; dearth of replication, teamwork, and agenda in research; inadequacy of funding; and lack of a coherent framework or model. Areas in which attention will be important in the next decade are outlined, including: research on language learning; the washback effect of testing; validity of test content; knowledge of the structure of language proficiency; computer- based language testing and the impact of technology on testing; learner-centered testing; the role of judgment in language testing; and traditional concerns about test validity and reliability. (MSE)
Descriptors: Computer Assisted Testing, Conferences, Educational Trends, Financial Support, Futures (of Society), Intellectual Disciplines, Language Proficiency, Language Tests, Research Needs, Second Language Learning, Second Languages, Test Reliability, Test Validity, Testing, Testing Problems, Trend Analysis
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: In: Sarinee, Anivan, Ed. Current Developments in Language Testing. Anthology Series 25. Paper presented at the Regional Language Centre Seminar on Language Testing and Language Programme Evaluation (April 9-12, 1990); see FL 021 757.