Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Description Of Characteristics Of Test Takers English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 4703 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

Reference this

Through the forum, I understood more about purpose of testing and why is testing important, which contribute to make a good test. Firstly, some excerpts from forum help me draw out the usefulness in using knowledge which concerned to testing language. For example, with poster of Mr. Thanh Bui about “Purpose of Testing-Assessment various Evaluation”. Following him, the last purpose of language teaching is the way in which learners are given the issues (a rich, supportive, challenging and engaging environment) so that they can improve their abilities, can identify the different issues accurately. From then, learners will be helped to develop in their process. Moreover, the two terms (assessment and evaluation) supply the data for teachers and learners to gauge their performance and the effectiveness with the course objectives; he also helps me understand more detail about the difference between assessment and evaluation.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

Secondly, through posting of Mr Duy Tran with”Top down and bottom up in designing tests”. This makes me stimulated to find out this issue dealing much more with discriminating about them in my practices. At the moment, I have changed my thoughts because compared with Bottom- up I preferred before, Top down approach is more useful for design because each step is improved from abstract to concrete and at last is more refined and the design can be implemented directly. For example, I can bring this above into my designing test with both Top-down and Bottom-up.

Thirdly, I and my classmates can comment on posting together in “Problems in designing a Test” by Mai Tran on Friday, 16 March 2012. With the final test of Mai Tran for the part that focused on vocabulary and grammar including variability, reliability, impact, practicality and quality: Duy Tran thinks that the issue is not enough to valuate, he suggested adding more details. Also, Mr. Bui Thanh suggested solving with three points including: reflected the purpose, authenticity, impact. All of these opinions enlightened my thoughts about designing a test, the test must be instructed clearly so that as not to confuse the examinees.

Fourth, posters give some purposes of designing a test. I can apply into my teaching. For instance, I can use the tests to measure the abilities of my students. I will consider whether my lesson plans and my tests fit students’ levels so that I can have the suitable adjustments.

Fifth, from this forum, I’ll enlighten my knowledge not only by using wikipedia but also reading books and journal articles from the library as the recommend of Dr Darren.

In short, from the things above, I myself find out that: I should focus on the aim and the content of the test when designing a test. This means I want to evaluate the knowledge students achieve, the competences students need to master. So there will be the criteria for marking different levels of students’ abilities, and especially a test must be popular with examinees. And Test task types become familiar with me, which I have a little care before.

Following are some my comments on this forum:

1/ The issue of Bui Thanh:

I like much the way which you discriminate assessment and evaluation, and the purpose of the test; Here, I only add some more:

a/ A purpose of testing:

For more information, please read on web page: tmcpfs.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/cfprojects/uploaded_files/Final Q&A.pdf

The purpose of testing varies from situation to situation. When searching for a test that matches your aim, ask yourself, “Why am I testing? Do you want to know about students’ mastery of a specific curriculum, course or unit, or do I want to know about their general language skills?”

b/ The evaluation and assessment:

I think evaluation and assessment are to help students to learn more effectively and also help teachers to adjust the lesson plans and methods. But I consider it would be pleasant to think about the student prospect. I also find your topic is in advocate of testing procedures and evaluative tools which can offer learners an objective general view of their performance and language levels.

2 / The issue of Duy Tran:

First of all, “Top-down and bottom-up are strategies of information processing and knowledge ordering, mostly involving software, but also other humanistic and scientific theories. In practice, they can be seen as a style of thinking and teaching. In many cases top-down is used as a synonym of analysis, and bottom-up of synthesis.”

You can look for more reference at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top-down_and_bottom-up_design

I think, with Top-Down, it’s harder to test early b/c parts needed may not have been designed yet; with Bottom-Up, you may end up necessary things different from how you built them.

As I understand, Top-Down design is refining the abstract high level concept into smaller concrete and comprehensible parts, until the smallest building block is defined. On the other hand, bottom up defines low level parts, then gradually build up higher level blocks until the whole system is formed.

In practice, it is said best to combine the two methods: starts with high level specification to fully specify the domain knowledge, its relationship and constraints. Once the problem is well understood, smallest building blocks are created to build up the system.

Personally, I used to prefer bottom-up development. It makes perfect sense to my students to identify discrete functionality, implement each one independently of the next and then linking them together to deliver greatness to the end-user. But at the moment, I think I should combine both of them because of the strengths of Top-down

3/ The issue of Mai Tran:

To me, in the test there should be a passage to check students’ comprehension because if not, the test is not reliability and practicality; you also need the details of the oral test: is it a conversation or each pair work containing different content?

Moreover, I find out the writing practice is also necessary. The remainder include: validity, quality. How about impact? In my school, I give a test with the purpose to check students about vocabulary (reading), grammar (multiple choice), speaking (conversation), listening (stress, pronunciation), and writing. How about the test in your opinion?

Part B: My Test

Table of contents

Part A: Discussion board postings 1

1/ The issue of Bui Thanh: 2

2 / The issue of Duy Tran: 2

3/ The issue of Mai Tran: 3

Part B: My Test 3


1. Introduction 6

a/ Definition of testing: 6

b/ Why test? 6

2. Purpose of the Test: 7

a/ Purpose of test takers: 7

b/ Purpose of test developers: 7


1. Description of characteristics of test takers 8

a/ Personal characteristics: 8

b/ Knowledge: 8

2. Description of the target language use task types: 8

3. Description of the test task types 9


1. Content: 12

2. Structure: 12

3. Scoring procedure: 13

2. Answer keys 15


1. Required resources: 16

2. Test administration – Procedure: 17

a/ Before the test: 17

b/ On the day of the test: 17

c/ After the test: 17

d/ Describing the scoring methods: 17





1. Introduction

a/ Definition of testing:

“Testing is evaluation of student performance for purposes of comparison or selection” (J.B Heaton (1988), p. 6)

Besides, testing is important because it valuates the end of the progressive period of the program, and sets up the criteria as well as the start of ensuring stage.

b/ Why test?

Because teachers want to know how their students are learning. Teachers used various kinds of tests to find out how well students are doing and if their instructions have been successful or not. The test helps the teachers to ensure which parts of the lesson the students find difficult, the methods and materials being used (J. B Heaton 1988),. Also, to testing experts and researchers, testing are used with many purposes, such as: diagnosing strengths and weaknesses of individual student, focusing instruction to state standards and main concepts motivating the improvement of students, the performance of teachers, evaluating quality of program in school and helping teachers clarify their instructional effectiveness. So, test is a very useful way when combined results from school assignments and teacher observations to inform the teacher and students’ parents whether the students are improving or failing.

The Listening test is designed to measure the listening competence for four hundreds freshmen HCM city at Economics University. They have different English knowledge because of coming from many high schools from different towns and cities with various levels. Some only need to improve their proficiency; some learn to supply more knowledge, others learn English as the beginners; especially, their listening ability is weak. So, listening skill is required so as to place them into the proper classes.

2. Purpose of the Test:

a/ Purpose of test takers:

To enhance students’ learning, to get information in the target language use to what extent they can use their listening competence. So, test is an opportunity for students to revise what they have learned.

b/ Purpose of test developers:

Through the results of test, teachers have reflected on methods of their teaching to judge and identify the areas of language difficulty’s students encounter in listening skills, teachers can choose suitable materials for the test, as well as create their teaching methods to contribute to school’s achievements.

In short, there are three things when talking about the purpose of the test: Firstly, the test determines the English language proficiency level of students. This helps teachers to understand how their students are progressing. Secondly, through the results of students’ tests, teachers, students and their parents are informed about student s’ strengths and weaknesses. From then, teachers can work out ways of helping students as well as adjust their teaching. Thirdly, the results also provided with data for school improvement.


1. Description of characteristics of test takers

a/ Personal characteristics:

This test is designed for all of freshmen students. The test takers are about between eighteen and twenty two years old. All of them are Vietnamese students; some of them are working, their English listening must be different and the majority of students finds English is a difficult subject; most of them lack the basic knowledge; A few are interested in learning English. Most of them try to obtain the average scores so as to continue the next level. Some of them are not keen on listening test because they are influenced by their main majors which they address and they think learning English is only extra issue (most of them study subjects related to technique and economics).

b/ Knowledge:

A general description of students’ knowledge helps to ensure that the test will be at an appropriate level. The test takers have just finished high schools, most of them have an intermediate level, and only some of them are advanced level, and small part students are at elementary level, with mainly grammar, most of students have studied English for seven years (from grade 6 of secondary school) with the curriculum of Ministry of Education and Training; it means, they studied mainly from the text book so they can’t catch up with others.

For listening skill, students can listen to the conversations about request, application, and invitation.

In general, students are expected to reach the required standard in University.

Commonly, personal characteristics and knowledge are referred by Lyle F. Bachman, Adrian S. Palmer, 1996 including two components of test tasks: Target language use task types and setting.

2. Description of the target language use task types:

“Not all target language use tasks will be appropriate for use as a basis for developing test tasks. This is because they may not meet all our criteria for usefulness and hence are not likely to be useful as test tasks.” (F Bachman and Palmer, 1996). In VN, the target language use task types are proceed from common the test task types of the Ministry of Education and Training used for testing listening; For example, multiple choice, phonetics discrimination, tests of stress and annotation, statements and dialogues, testing comprehension through visual material, true/false test.

3. Description of the test task types

The test task types corresponding with target language will gain reliability and validity of testing. The curriculum includes: learning activities, concepts and skills, and task types (p.12), (Hugh Burkhart, 2009), it means teachers must know what the test will be; while in VN, teachers always follow the curriculum of the Ministry of Education and Training , and in addition to the time pressure, the students will not be conducted perfectly. So, test will be have reliable and valid when teachers combine the curriculum of high school and the common test task types,

In the test, we use many types of test task which is shown out clearly as follow:


Task types/ number of test items



I. Listening

A. Gap- filling/ 5 test items

B. True/ False statement/ 5 test items

Listen and fill in the missing words. You will hear the passage 3 times.

Listen and decide whether the statements are True (T) or False (F). You will hear the passage 3 times.


II. Phonetics

A. pronunciation

recognition/ 2 test items

B. Stress recognition/ 3 test items

Pick out the word that has the stress differently from that of the other words

Pick out the word whose underlined and bold part is pronounced differently from that of the other words.


III. Vocabulary and structure.

A. Multiple choice/ 10 test items

B. error- recognition/ 5 test items

C. word formation/ 5

test items

Choose the best among A, B, C or D that best completes each sentence.

Choose the underlined part among A, B, C or D that needs correcting

Supply the correct form of the word in the brackets.


IV. Reading

A. Reading comprehension: multiple choice/ 5

test items

B. Cloze test:

Multiple choice/ 5

test items

Choose the item among A, B, C or D that best answers the question about the passage:

Choose the word or phrase among A, B, C or D that best fits the blank space in the following passage:


V. Writing

1. You will be asked to write a short composition.

2. Choose only one of the two following tasks.

3. You will be provided with sets of words and phrases from with to construct sentences to make a complete composition.

4. You can add endings, small words, and punctuation.

5. Be sure to include all of the information supplies. Write your responses in grammatical correct English. Punctuate your sentences correctly. Remember that you must create only one sentence per set of words.

6. Write your sentences in the space provided

7. You have 15 minutes to complete this.


VI. Speaking


short talk

– You are going to be asked some questions about yourselves, your family, school/ work and your interests

– Choose one of the four pieces of paper. You have five minutes to prepare before making the presentation.




1. Content:

– Operations: observing the pictures to guess the correct sentence, predicting missing words, scanning and skimming ability.

– Types of text: pictures, passage, statements

– Topics: Social life, and nature.

– Structure range

A wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy

A mix of simple and complex sentence sentences, if clause, relative clause.

Simple present tense

– Vocabulary range

A simple range of vocabulary with natural features

– Dialect and style

a mixture of English, American, and Australian

informal style

– Length of texts: 2 pages

– Timing: 40 minutes

– Medium/channel: pen, pencil, CD player, test paper and answer sheet.

– Technique: visual method, true-false, gap filling.

– Criteria levels of performances: maximum is 10 marks, equal and more 50% pass, less than 50% fail.

The reason for choosing it is that it is accepted by most of Universities due to its validity and reliability..

2. Structure:

Task types of items


Time allotment

A/ Seeing on the pictures choose the best describes

Listen carefully and choose

10 minutes

B/ Gap filling / 5 test items

Listen and fill in the missing words. You will hear the passage 3 times

20 minutes

C/ True-false statement/ 5 test items

Listen and choose

10 minutes

Task 1: (10′) Examinees look at the pictures to guess the correct answers.

Task 2:(20′) Examinees are asked to fill in the blanks with the appropriate words in the text.

Task 3: (10′) Examinees recognize the correct sentences depend on their knowledge or experiences

3. Scoring procedure:

All of the test papers are hand-scored with fifteen examiners from English Faculty, And the results will be delivered to clerical staff and after that statistical and qualitative will be classified and carried out depending on examinees’ results Scoring and administration will be noted.

Task 2 (5ms)

Listen and fill in the missing words.

In the home, a dad is very important. He is the (1)__________ who provides us with money to feed and clothe ourselves. He can decorate your bedroom, mend your radio, make cages for your pets, repair a puncture in your bicycle tyre and help you with maths homework. A dad can be very useful for (2) _________ you in the car to and from parties, music and dancing lessons.

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

A dad is the person whom you ask for pocket money. He is the one who (3) _________ about the time you spend talking on the phone, as he has to pay for the bills. Dad is someone who will support you in a(n) (4) _________, if he believes you to be right. He is someone who reads your school (5) _________ and treats if it is good. A dad likes to come into a nice happy home evening, and settle back in his chair with a newspaper. He likes to recall his National Service days.

Task 3 (2,5 ms)

Listen and decide whether the statements are True (T) or False (F):

1. Nobody can predict how long we will be able to live in the 21st century.

2. People’s general health will improve because they eat a lot of mushrooms.

3. Nowadays, if people look after themselves, they can live to be 90.

4 Within 30 years, 80% of cancers will be curable.

5. Eternal life isn’t impossible.




Listening Answer sheet

Full name :…………………………………………………….

Candidate’s Number : ……………………….

Date: …………………….

Time : 40 minutes

Numbered scores


Supervisor 2

Choice of key:

Select deselect reselect

Task 1






Task 2






Task 3


































































2. Answer keys

Task 1: 1. C (this is a picture of a wheelchair)

2. D (the man is checking his eyesight)

3. B (she has an injured knee)

4. D (she is putting medicine in her eye)

5. D (the man in white is a doctor)

Task 2: 1. person 2. taking 3. complains 4. argument 5. report

Task 3: 1. False 2. False 3. False 4. True 5. True


1. Required resources:

To develop this test, many resources are required.

Firstly, about human resources, with four hundreds examinees, we need: one administrator to examine the procedure, twenty proctors to invigilate, twenty teachers of English Faculty to administer the test, two secretaries to deliver, collect test papers, and it’s necessary to have two technicians to operate devices and instrument for the test and enter candidates’ results.

Secondly, space and equipment are very necessary. We need a room for test designers, a room for test administrations and a room for test grading (after testing); inside each room, facilities must be prepared for examinees, there are also clocks in each room to balance the time. We also need the printer and the photocopier to photo answer sheets. Besides, with four hundreds examinees, we need ten rooms for forty examinees in each. In listening section, we need ten CD players, one for each room.

Thirdly, we need finance to administrate the test with the cost following:

– Space, computer, photocopier, CD players, printer: no charge.

– Paper: 400,000 VND

– CD : 5,000 x 12 = 60,000 VND

– Administrator: 400,000 VND

– Secretaries: 100,000 x 2 = 200,000 VND

– Test designers: 100,000 x 20 = 2,000,000 VND

– Supervisors: 100,000 x 20 = 2,000,000 VND

– Technicians : 100,000 x 2 = 200,000 VND

– Graders, paper-based test: 5,000 x 400 = 2,000,000 VND

Total: 7,260,000 VND

Besides, we need a lot of time for test designing, test administration, test grading and feed back collection for evaluation:

– Test design: three days

– Test administration: one day

– Test grading: one day

– Feedback collection for evaluation: one day (two days after the test administration)

2. Test administration – Procedure:

a/ Before the test:

Dean and teachers at the faculty will check the mistakes in content of listening test, and print four hundreds twenty the test papers (twenty extra copies), and then putting them into envelopes with seals and store them in security area to use after that.

Next are selecting testing room in good conditions (noise, lighting, and clocks) and selecting supervisors with experience in listening test.

b/ On the day of the test:

Supervisors have to check the presence and other papers of examinees. After that, they will arrange the seat for examinees follow diagram, then instruct the regulations in testing, such as:

All test takers are not allow to use related materials, mobile phone, listening devices, highlighters, etc…. in the testing room.

Examinees are only permitted to go out of room by the supervisors

At last, supervisors distribute the test materials for examinees

c/ After the test:

Supervisors collect the test papers individually, count answer sheets, and make a final check with the supervisor in the same testing room.

d/ Describing the scoring methods:

These tests can be scored and checked by examiners. The results will be announced one week after the examination.


The test in which I have focused on listening consists of three tasks. These three tasks do not require creativity, except for experiences and language (vocabulary, tense, structure of sentences), observation from examinees.

The first task is a real task as it has been seen in daily activity, is really near to examinees. So, they can perform it well without difficulties. The difficulty of the test is in the task 2. We should not set the tasks which measure intelligence and general knowledge to insure the validity (Hughes (2003, p.90). So, task 2 is just based on images of the figures provided in real life. Students do not have to imagine, they only brainstorm to remember the proper words. Thus, most of students will probably carry out the task. The third task of the test, aims at helping the students who are not good at task one and task two, they can do it well. This is also a way to increase the validity of the test. Each task presents students a specific situation and context to listen. So, it is possible to have a degree of validity in scoring. By the way, scoring criteria focus on the simple tense, conditional and complex sentence, relative clause, the vocabulary which students have already learnt. In fact, these tasks ensure the degree of validity; they are also high in reliability because we will have the answers scored objectively with a scoring key. It is also high in practicality because the resource demands of the test specifications do not exceed the available sources at any stage in test development. The test setting is equally conductive to all test takers’ performing. Therefore, the authenticity quality is satisfied. In this test, interactiveness is at high level because we involve many fields of language competence. However, there are some limitations in the test. It’s less objective and consistent about grading because the marking criteria are up to the test maker. Besides, as the university is near the street, the noise is also a limitation; it can disturb the supervisors and can influence examinees’ results, especially to listening test.

In short, to make a good test, the test designers have to consider a lot of things. However, the most important thing is its usefulness. Bachman and Palmer (1996) stated that “test usefulness provides a kind of metric by which we can evaluate not only the test that we develop and use, but also all aspects of test development and use”; and six test qualities (reliability, construct validity, authenticity, interactiveness, impact and practicality) are essential in test designed with different levels. I find out myself I should focus on the objectives, the purpose and the content of the test when designing the test.


Task 1, task 2, task 3 (there are 3 recording script attached file to illustrate for Listening Test of section VII)


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: