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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

EDUC5927M Assessing Language Learning

15 creditsClass Size: 90

Module manager: Dr Martin Lamb

Taught: 1 Mar to 31 May View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Module replaces


This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The assessment of language skills is often a high-stakes endeavour, with lasting consequences on people's future lives. For this reason, it is essential that professionals involved in such assessment, whether classroom teachers, college administrators or Education Ministry officials, share an understanding of what is to be assessed, have skills in appropriate techniques for assessing it in particular circumstances, and know what to do with the results. This module covers all three areas, and we examine them with close reference to the usually broad range of backgrounds which participants bring to the course. We also consider how language courses can be evaluated more generally, beyond the measurement of learners' language skills. In the module assignment students are encouraged to develop their thinking further through exploring the literature on language assessment and reflection on their past/future context of work.


By the end of this module, participants should be able to critically examine a range of issues concerning evaluation and testing in the context of TESOL. In particular they should:

- have an understanding of the functions of and the relationship between evaluation, assessment and testing;

- have an awareness of a number of issues relating to the evaluation of TESOL activity;

- have an understanding of the principles underlying communicative language testing and features of good practice in test design and evaluation;

- have an awareness of recent research in language assessment;

- be able to take appropriate professional action in the light of their understanding and awareness of language assessment.

Skills outcomes
Students will have had the opportunity to acquire the following abilities:
-Skills necessary to undertake a higher research degree and for employment in a higher capacity in an area of the TESOL profession.
-Evaluating their own achievement and that of others.
-Self-direction and effective decision making in complex and unpredictable situations.
-Independent learning and the ability to work in a way which ensures continuing professional development.
-Critically to engage in the development of TESOL professional/disciplinary boundaries and norms.


The content will include most of the following, depending on participants' interests and needs:-
- Purposes and means of language assessment.
- Learner self-evaluation.
- Programme and project evaluation.
- Evaluation of one's own language programme.
- Alternative forms of language assessment.
- Assessment of young learners' language.
- The functions of language tests.
- Categories of tests.
- Basic criteria in test design (validity, reliability, practicability, impact).
- Evaluating language tests.
- The theoretical foundations of communicative language testing.
- Criterion- and norm-referenced testing.
- Communicative language testing in practice.
- Designing language tests.
- Designing band scales.
- Testing the language skills.
- Testing grammar and vocabulary.
- Test validation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours138.00
Total Contact hours12.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

4 hours preparation per seminar = 24 hours
2 hours follow up per seminar = 12 hours
102 hours research and assignment preparation and writing

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Preparation and follow-up tasks before/after each seminar, discussed at the beginning of each seminar. Tasks carried out during seminar with immediate feedback given.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment3,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/09/2021


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