Computer Assisted Testing In Language Learning

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Assessment of learners’ language ability is an important part of language education, which has been affected by computer technology at least as significantly as language learning has. Computer-assisted testing is an assessment model in which candidates or test takers answer questions or complete exercises that are part of a computer program. In many cases, computer tests also include automatic scoring. This occurs when there are a finite number of correct answers, such as in multiple choice testing models. When short answer and essay questions are included in computer-assisted testing, a grader normally reads answers and enters grades into a database. Computer-assisted testing is used for standardized tests, for psychological and skill assessment,…show more content…
Efficiency is achieved through computer-adaptive testing and analysis-based assessment that utilizes automated writing evaluation (AWE) or automated speech evaluation (ASE) systems. Equivalence refers to research on making computerized tests equivalent to paper and pencil tests that are considered to be “the gold standard” in language testing. Innovation—where technology can create a true transformation of language testing—is revealed in the reconceptualization of the L2 ability construct in CALT as “the ability to select and deploy appropriate language through the technologies that are appropriate for a situation” (Chapelle & Douglas, 2006, p.…show more content…
Green (1988) outlines some of the problems that might be encountered in using IRT in general, and Henning (1991) discusses specific problems that may be encountered with the validity of item banking techniques in language testing settings. Another serious limitation of IRT is the large number of students that must be tested before it can responsibly be applied. Typically, IRT is only applicable for full item analysis (that is, for analysis of two or three parameters) when the numbers of students being tested are very large by the standards of most language programs, that is to say, in excess of one thousand. Smaller samples in the hundreds can be used only if the item difficulty parameter is studied. Minimal item banking can be done without computers by using file cards, and, of course, the traditional item analysis statistics can be done (using the sizes of groups typically found in language programs) with no more sophisticated equipment than a hand-held calculator. Naturally, a personal computer can make both item banking and item analysis procedures much easier and much faster. For example, standard database software can be used to do the item banking, (e.g., Microsoft Access, 1996; or Corel Paradox,

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