Relevance of EFL standardized tests to modern EFL classrooms and to teaching and learning environments

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Abstract

The “unhappy” relationships between standardized tests and classroom teaching
and learning, aired by critics of standardized tests and advocates of classroom-based assessment from educational, political and social perspectives, can often be found in the mass media. However, standardized tests and classroom teaching and learning are not really irreconcilable. In many cases, I, as a language testing professional, will argue that standardized tests and classroom teaching and learning are, in fact, inseparable. Their connection can be compared to a marriage – it is never a particularly easy relationship, but they share a common interest in improving the processes and products of education and compromises often have to be made on both sides if this is to be achieved. Arriving at a healthy, happy harmonious relationship between standardized tests, teaching and learning, requires real effort on the part of both the assessment and teaching communities to enhance better understanding and mutual dialogue. In this short paper, I suggest two areas where this kind of effort is needed:
(1) test design and
(2) integrating standardized performance test tasks into classroom instruction.
I will also argue that we can foster a healthier and happier relationship by working together to improve both the assessment literacy of language teachers and the classroom experiences of test designers as part of their respective professional development.
Original languageEnglish
TypeOxford Test of English B
Media of outputPDF
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2012

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