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on 21 July 2016

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Quick questions:
Why does your teacher test you?

When does he do it?

Is there more than one reason to testing?
Achievement tests:
It shows how well the learner is keeping up with the contents.
It should reflect the nature and content of the course itself by:

Proper assessment methods become part of the cornerstones in ESP teaching, since accurate testing results enable teachers and students to decide whether and how much language tuition is required.
Money and time factors in ESP courses demand from teachers to
give learners actual competences they can put into use in
their work setting. Effective proficiency assessment
is then a mandatory rule.
So, what's this testing about?
What should be evaluated?
Making sure the course is meeting the learner's needs as both learners and users:
If some of these needs are not being met then:
- Were they identified?
- How can they be solved?
- Whose fault is it? the materials', syllabus', the testing procedures or
the teaching methods?

course evaluation:
Learning (or learners) can be evaluated using placement, proficiency and achievement tests, but how can we assess the effectiveness of the course itself?
How can the course be assessed?
A course can be evaluated using one or more of the following methods:
interviews (to students, teachers, employees and employers) questionnaires, test results, data collection.
Who should be involved in the evaluation?
the bodies who are mostly concerned will be the ESP teaching institution, teachers, current and former learners and course sponsors (employers).

As with any language course there is a need to assess student performance at strategic points in the course. But since ESP is concerned with fulfilling demands and requirements, evaluation takes on a greater importance.
Both student and course must be effectively assessed.

In ESP, there are 3 basic types of test:
Placement Tests:
Determines the learner's state of knowledge before the course begins, i.e., whether he needs it and what form the course should take.
The Placement is first a proficiency test:
If the learner is already proficient in the skills required, no further tuition is required.

It also becomes diagnostic,
since it would indicate how far and in what ways the learner falls short of the proficiency level so as to design the nature and content of the course.
Testing what can be reasonably assumed the learners have learnt.

Testing what we want it to test: Avoid testing listening skills through speaking or writing or, demanding subject knowledge to assess language skills.
Proficiency Tests:
These assess whether or not the student can cope with
the demands (language tasks) of a particular situation, for example, studying at a university or reading
technical texts.

The rule of thumb in testing proficiency:

Test results are needed to be seen less as an end in themselves and more as a starting point for negotiation and interaction between teachers and students.
Evaluation fulfills two functions: assessment (make sure what the learners already know) and feedback (know what is still not known).
Since the course is to satisfy a particular educational need, evaluation helps showing how well it is fulfilling the requirement.
Key indicator: when a course regularly demonstrates that we don't need to makes changes to it, then we can be sure the course is effective.
There are four main questions to be asked:
It is difficult to prescribe how often course evaluation should be done. However, experience has shown the most important times occur:
- The first week of the course: establishing the tone will have a greater overall effect on the success of the course (first impressions last longer than latter ones).
- At regular intervals during the course.
- At the end of the course.
- After the course: this is potentially the most valuable since learners will be in the position to judge how well the course tutored them for the target situation they are now in.

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