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Unit information: Testing and Assessment in Language Learning in 2021/22

Unit name Testing and Assessment in Language Learning
Unit code EDUCD0099
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Yu
Open unit status Not open

Understanding Educational Research



School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides an overview of current developments in theories and practices of language testing and assessment. We explore approaches and the processes of language test construction and validation as well as classroom-based assessment, and review current developments in the field through consideration of the principles underlying best practice in language testing and assessment. We focus on the development and validation of tests and other procedures used to assess the language development, achievement and proficiency of speakers of English as a foreign or additional language, and the research methods relevant to these tasks. Indicative content areas include language assessment as socially situated practice, assessment for learning, the Common European Framework of Reference, assessment of different language skills (e.g., the development and validation of rating scales, integrated writing tasks, observation driven approaches to classroom/teacher assessment, self-/peer-assessment), washback, and power, and ethics and fairness in language testing as social practice.


The unit will provide students with the opportunity:

  • to access and critique recent major developments in the field of language testing and assessment
  • to understand conceptual and methodological aspects of test development and validation processes and procedures
  • to understand test impact and ethicality and fairness issues in language testing.
  • to adopt a critical orientation (through illustrative case studies) to the interpretation of a range of language testing procedures and assessment practices and to the relevance of these for their professional practice

Intended Learning Outcomes

By participating in this unit, students will understand

  • the theoretical bases of language test validation and assessment;
  • the principles which underpin good assessment practice;
  • the potential of assessment for language development;
  • current and emerging of trends in language testing research.

Teaching Information

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Blackboard online support

Assessment Information

There are two options, each of 4,000 words. Students will either:

Critically analyse a published testing and assessment study, with reference to relevant theoretical / conceptual frameworks, the methods, the claims and findings of the research.


Outline a proposal for an empirical research study addressing a current theoretical or curricular issue in language testing and assessment, which includes a focussed literature review, research questions and procedures for data collection and data analysis.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUCD0099).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.