language testing

Musings on amusing test answers (for amazing item writing)

No matter how much we love our profession, there will always be that mind-numbing task we have to carry out. To me, that’s marking a seemingly endless pile of multiple-choice/short answer tests, the kind even a computer could grade. However, there is always that outside-the-box answer that will cheer me up. The web has no...Read More

What is language proficiency after all? (Part 2)

Most language teachers have an operating definition of proficiency, even if it is not a very conscious one. In the first part of this post, three different views of the term came to light. Proficiency can be the last stage in a language acquisition journey, hence “certificate of proficiency”. It can also be a set of...Read More

What is language proficiency after all? (Part 1)

“Proficiency” is a concept that is very dear to us language teachers. As dear as hard to define, perhaps. After all, the term “proficiency” is ambiguous at best. If we consider common uses of the word, there are at least three competing definitions. 1.       PROFICIENCY = A HIGHLY ADVANCED LEVEL Some international exams offer certificates...Read More

How’s opinion polling like classroom testing? Reflections on election day

It’s election day in Brazil, and polls have featured extensively both in the traditional and social media. Some voters seem to work out their candidates based on the polling results; others doubt them. Either way, I don’t see much questioning of the importance of polling. And that kind of reminds me of classroom tests. (I…Read More
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