Eaquals Events

The fit between English language exams and ‘real’ English: How have things changed over the years

In this talk, I examine the link between the English language exams that school students take nowadays (and tests that they have had inflicted upon them over the past half century). I look at how the different exams match up (or otherwise) with what we might see as ‘real’ English, and how the exams help prepare students for using English in the real world.  

I present a picture of what English language tests have consisted of over the past half century and how English language exams have moved and developed with the times. Given my background, my examples are drawn from my long association with assessment in Hong Kong. While the context is Hong Kong, participants may reflect against how what I present resonates (or otherwise) with their own experience.  

As a point of reference, I frame issues within the context of some standard test quality ‘concepts’. I present some snapshots of what the testing scene in Hong Kong looked like one decade at a time, framing the snapshots where I can against a test quality concept.    

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