Importance Of Language Assessment

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1.1 Language Assessment Language assessment serves dual purpose in applied linguistics, first it operationalizes the theories of applied linguistics and, secondly, it provides applied linguistics with data for analyzing language knowledge as well as language use (Clapham, 2000). 1.1.1 Testing and Assessment Language testing and assessment are commonly misunderstood in the field of education as being synonymous terms but they are quite different constructs. A test is defined by Brown (2003) as a method to measure an individual’s ability, knowledge and performance. This definition outlines three components of a test. First, it is a tool that requires the test-taker to perform in a given domain. Secondly, it is used to measures general language ability as well as specific competencies. Thirdly, it results in either a letter grade or a numerical score, sometimes accompanied with examiner’s feedback. Brown states if a test does not specify explicit measurement criteria then it cannot be defined as a test. In the field of linguistics, tests measure language learners’ ability to perform language-related tasks: reading, writing, listening or speaking. Apart from the performance, the learners are sometimes tested for their knowledge about the language as well. Assessment, on the other hand, is an on-going process encompassing a broader domain. The teachers subconsciously assess their students in class activities which require individuals to produce language. This peripheral process
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