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  Home > TEFL Clinic > Teaching Knowledge > Glossary


Achievement test: see test.

Assessment noun, assess verb

Continuous assessment: A type of testing which is different from a final examination. Some or all of the work that students do during a course is part of the final mark.

Formal assessment, evaluation: When a teacher judges students’ work through a test and then gives a formal report or grade to students, to say how successful or unsuccessful they have been.

Formative assessment, evaluation: When a teacher gives students feedback on their progress during a course, rather than at the end of it so that they can learn from the feedback. See summative test.

Informal assessment, evaluation: When a teacher decides whether a student is doing well or not, or whether a course is successful or not, but without a test or an official report or grade.

Peer assessment, evaluation: When students give feedback on each other’s language.

Self-assessment, evaluation: When students decide for themselves if they think their progress or language use is good or not.

Assessment criteria: The qualities against which a students performance is judged for assessment. For example, assessment criteria for judging students writing may be: accuracy of grammar, use of vocabulary, spelling and punctuation; organisation of ideas.

Cloze test: A type of task in which students read a text with words missing and try to work out the missing words. The missing words are removed regularly from the text, e.g. every seventh word. A cloze test is used for testing reading ability or general language use. This is different to a gap-fill activity which can focus on testing a specific language point. See gap-fill.

Continuous assessment: see assessment.

Diagnostic test noun, diagnose verb: see test.

Evaluation: When a teacher collects information about students performance and abilities. See assessment.

Formal assessment: see assessment.

Formative assessment: see assessment.

Informal assessment: see assessment.

Item: A piece of language, e.g. a vocabulary or a grammar item.  2) The parts of a test to which a student has to respond.

Learner profile: A description of a student, including their ability and their needs.

Matching task: A type of task in which students are asked to pair related things together, for example, match two halves of a sentence, or a word with a picture.

Multiple-choice questions: A type of task in which students are given a question and have three or four possible answers. They choose the correct answer.

Objective test: see test.

Open comprehension questions: A type of task in which students read or listen to a text and answer questions using their own words.

Oral test: A test of speaking ability.

Peer assessment: see assessment.

Placement test: see test.

Portfolio: A collection of work that a student uses to show what they have done in preparation for a particular course or exam.

Proficiency test: see test.

Progress test: see test.

Self-assessment: see assessment.

Sentence completion: A type of task in which students are given parts of a sentence and are asked to complete the sentence, using specific target language.

Sentence transformation: A type of task in which students are given a sentence and have to complete a second sentence so that it means the same as the first, e.g.

Its too cold to play tennis.

It ____________ to play tennis. (enough)

It isnt warm enough to play tennis.

Subjective test: see test.

Summative test: see test.

Test: A formal assessment of a students language.

  1. An achievement test is used to see how well students have learnt the language taught in class. Achievement tests are often at the end of term or end of the year and test the main points of what has been taught in that time.
  2. A diagnostic test is used to identify problems that students have with language. The teacher diagnoses the language problems students have. It helps the teacher to plan what to teach in future.
  3. An objective test is marked without using the examiners opinion, e.g. true/false questions, multiple choice questions. There is a clear right answer.
  4. A placement test is used at the beginning of a course to identify a students level of language and find the best class for them.
  5. A proficiency test is used to see how good students are at language, or use of the language. The contents of a proficiency test are not chosen according to what has been taught, but according to what is needed for a particular purpose, e.g. English for hotel receptionists, English for studying at university. Cambridge ESOL First Certificate in English (FCE) and IELTS are examples of proficiency tests.
  6. A progress test is used during a course in order to assess the learning up to that point.
  7. A subjective test is marked using the examiners opinion about the quality of the answer. The answer is not simply right or wrong, e.g. marking written stories, compositions, interviews, conversations, story-telling.
  8. A summative test is used at the end of a course. See formative assessment/evaluation.

True/false questions: A type of task in which students read or listen to a text and decide whether statements are correct (true) or not correct (false).

Tutorial: When a teacher talks to a student individually or a small group of students to give feedback on their progress in the class.


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