Communicative Language Testing

Topics: Linguistics, Universal grammar, Communicative language teaching Pages: 4 (1187 words) Published: December 29, 2010
Teaching and testing are so closely interrelated. It is obvious that the development of different theories and approaches of language learning and teaching also affects the history of language testing. Therefore, it is common to see evolution of both language teaching and language testing.

There has been a shift from analytical to integrative approach in both language teaching and language testing falling into three stages:

❖ Grammar –translation
❖ Structural
❖ Communicative Approach

These three generations of language teaching are seen parallel to three generations of language testing. Through this shift, new ideas about language testing and new ways of evaluating the performance of language learners have emerged.

The traditional description led to the teaching and learning of formal patterns of the language and the testing of language structures and vocabulary within a discrete – point single sentence format while the elaboration of communicative competence has had a considerable impact on language testing.

Applied linguistics claimed that communicative language testing means not communicative testing of language, but the testing of communicative language. Thus, what distinguishes communicative language testing is the introduction of real – language input rather than new methodology of testing.

As far as testing grammar is concerned, grammar has always been regarded as an important area for testing learner's language proficiency. It still occupies a major position and is still present in many school examinations and even with commercially available proficiency tests. There is no doubt that this is a category to be measured when investigating an individual's performance in a language. Thus, a better understanding of the construct of grammar is needed in order to improve the ways in which grammar is tested. However, what is of great importance is the extent to which the role of grammar...

References: CANALE, M., SWAIN, M. 1980. Theoretical Basis of Communicative Approaches to Second
Language Teaching and Testing
O 'SHANESSY, C. 1995. Testing Grammar. In Guidelines: A Periodical for Classroom Language
Teachers, 1995, Vol.17/2, pp
REA-DICKINS, P. 1987. The Relationship Between Grammatical Abilities and Aspects of
Communicative Competence: with Special Reference to the testing of Grammar
REA-DICKINS, P. 1991. What Makes a Grammar Test Communicative? In ALDERSON, J.C.,
Rita Rafajlovičová. The Status of Grammar within the Process of Teaching and Testing. Accessed on December 23, 2010. Accessed at
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