12 Characteristics of a Good Language Test

A good language test should be:

1- Valid:

It means that it measures what it is supposed to measure. It tests what it ought to test. E.g. the test which measures control of grammar should have no difficult lexical items.

2- Reliable:

If it is taken again by the same students under the same conditions, the score will be almost the same regarding that the time between the test and the retest is of reasonable length. If it is given twice to the same students under the same circumstances, it will produce almost the same results. In this case, it is said that the test provides consistency in measuring the items being evaluated.

3- Practical:

It is easy to be conducted, easy to score without wasting too much time or effort.

4- Comprehensive:

It covers all the items that have been taught or studied. It includes items from different areas of the material assigned for the test so as to check accurately the amount of students’ knowledge.

5- Relevant:

It measures reasonably well the achievement of the desired objectives.

6- Balanced:

It tests linguistic as well as communicative competence and it reflects the real command of the language. It tests also appropriateness and accuracy.

7- Appropriate in difficulty:

It is neither too hard nor too easy. Questions should be progressive in difficulty to reduce stress and tension.

8- Clear:

Questions and instructions should be clear. Students should know what to do exactly.

9- Authentic:

The language of the test should reflect everyday discourse.

10- Appropriate for time:

A good language test should be appropriate in length for the allotted time.

11- Objective:

If it is marked by different teachers, the score will be the same. The marking process should not be affected by the teacher’s personality. Questions and answers are so clear and definite that the marker would give the students the score he/she deserves.

12- Economical:

It makes the best use of the teacher’s limited time for preparing and grading and it makes the best use of the students’ assigned time for answering all items. So, we can say that oral exams in classes of +30 students are not economical as it requires too much time and effort to be conducted.

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14 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. well written article

  2. Awesome information.

  3. You are good and clere on this matter

    1. Good points but need more explanation.

  4. good but too short

  5. Mwebaza senyonga

    Quite good but very summarized

  6. Sameer Awaisheh

    Very helpful especially for teachers

  7. Please send me on my email

  8. Needs more explanation

  9. short and precise needs relevant example thnx

  10. good points tho lacking pregnant exp..n.

  11. good points tho lacking pregnant explanation

  12. helpful. still more explanation is needed

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