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Tibor Vígh: Theoretical principles of communicative language testing

This paper attempts to highlight central themes and issues in communicative language testing theory. It is structured into six parts. Part 1 interprets the terms of language measurement, evaluation and testing. Parts 2 and 3 deal with the question what we have to test, give an overview of the development of models of communicative competence and introduce the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). A further section of the paper deals with the methods of communicative language testing and discusses the problem of quantifying language ability. Part 4 describes the evaluation criteria of communicative language tests, the notion of test usefulness developed by Bachman and Palmer (1996) with its interlocking elements of reliability, construct validity, authenticity, interactivity, test impact and practicality. Part 5 presents relevant test types, and deals with norm- and criterion-referenced tests, performance and system-referenced tests and with problems of direct and indirect testing. This part focuses on the relationship between the models of communicative language ability, evaluation criteria and test types. Finally, the paper discusses the practice of communicative language testing and describes the procedure of relating language examinations to CEFR levels.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 105. Number 4. 381-407. (2005)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Vígh Tibor, SZTE Neveléstudományi Tanszék, H-6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30-34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia