This book is designed to introduce teachers and students to the practice of language testing, so that they will be able to design, build, and evaluate their own tests. There is a strong focus on classroom assessment, as well as providing an introduction to standardized and standards-based testing. The themes of the book also integrate with material on this website. Each chapter also has extensive discussion, practice and writing activities, providing an ideal introductory course in language testing and assessment. Read the blurb for more detailed information.
As it says on the cover, this is an advanced resource book. Its focus is on test and assessment validation set within a new approach that draws on the philosophy of pragmatism to relate test design to intended effects and consequences. Written for people working with language tests and assessments in their professional lives, and graduate students at masters and doctoral levels, it also provides key readings from the field as well ideas for projects and research. Read the blurb for more detailed information.
The first and most extensive treatment of testing second language speaking. After a brief historical account of the evolution of speaking tests, the book discusses how we can define speaking, and describes the range of tasks that we can use to elicit speech. It also deals with the process of test design with a special focus on designing rating scales to score speaking performances, and the writing of test specifications. Other chapters look at rater and interlocutor training, test administration, speaking test evaluation, and the tools and techniques we can use in researching speaking tests. Examples and illustrations are used throughout.
INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE TESTING ASSOCIATION BEST ARTICLE AWARD
The award committee found the paper by Fulcher and Davidson an excellent conceptual paper that emphasizes the centrality of test purpose in test design decisions, and proposes a systematic approach to evaluating test revisions and test retrofit. The paper is very well-written and the authors guide the reader step by step through the processes of careful decision-making that language testers should undergo when changing tests or test purposes. The use of the architecture metaphor is well-chosen and makes the argument compelling and accessible to a broad audience including practitioners. Test retrofit has been heatedly debated in public forums but has never seen such a systematic treatment in the scientific literature as in this paper. The authors make a strong and timely contribution to the field of language testing in a period where tests are being used for purposes they were not originally intended for, or misused entirely, but the consequences of test change or change of test purpose for the validation process can hardly be found in the literature. Fulcher and Davidson provide the language testing field with the appropriate terminology and guidance for this important and timely topic.
The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing offers a critical and comprehensive discussion of language testing and assessment within the fields of applied linguistics and language study.
An understanding of language testing is essential for applied linguistic research, language education, and a growing range of public policy issues. This handbook is an indispensable introduction and reference to the study of the subject. Specially commissioned chapters by leading academics and researchers of language testing address the most important topics facing researchers and practitioners, including:
* An overview of the key issues in language testing
* Key research methods and techniques in language test validation
* The social and ethical aspects of language testing
* The philosophical and historical underpinnings of assessment practices
* The key literature in the field
* Test design and development practices through use of practical examples
The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing is the ideal resource for postgraduate students, language teachers, and those working in the field of applied linguistics.
I am Professor of Education and Language Assessment in the
School of Education at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. My main interests lie in the field of language testing and the
philosophy of educational assessment. I have extensive experience of working on test design (paper and computer based) and development projects, including the design and creation of test specifications, item/task design and prototyping, item/task review procedures, pre-testing, test analysis and assembly. I have specific expertise in the design and development of rating instruments for performance assessments, particularly for L2 speaking and communication. I developed the first data-based rating scales between 1987 and 1993, and continue to conduct research in this area. I have worked for a number of major testing companies in a research or consultancy capacity on test development projects, alignment studies, and conducting item writer/rater training. I have published widely in the field, and you can see (and download) some of my work below. Finally, I am interested in teaching language testing. I offer two modules each year, both on campus and by distance learning, supported by innovative electronic materials to enhance the student experience.
I served on the Executive Board of the
International Language Testing Association (ILTA) from 1998 - 2000. In 2005 I was elected Vice President, served as President in 2006, and then as ex-officio Immediate Past President from 2007 - 2008. During 2009 I was a Leverhulme Research Fellow. I am grateful to the Leverhulme Trust which awarded me a substantial grant to pursue research in language testing literacy, leading to the publication of a model of language testing literacy in Language Assessment Quarterly, the upgrading of this website, and Practical Language Testing.
In 2014 I was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship for excellence in teaching language testing, based on my work in assessment literacy funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This video is a short clip from the 2014 Graduation Ceremony at which my Fellowship was awarded.
Latest Education News
When I'm not working, reading, walking, swimming or practising guitar, I enjoy listening to the radio, usually while cooking! My favourite programmes include comedy from the BBC, philosophy, history, statistics, and world news. Here is a selection of good stuff. Why not listen while you explore this page?
MoreOrLess: Magic Numbers 18 Apr 14
Do you have a favourite number - one you love, one you think stands out from all the others? Author Alex Bellos joins us to talk about his quest to find the world's favourite number and discuss whether numbers really can be magical, mystical and memorable, or whether it's all mumbo jumbo. Why are odd numbers so appealing? Which number strikes fear into some people's hearts? And why do lists of questions like these always come in threes? This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.
IOT: The Domesday Book 17 Apr 14
The Domesday Book of 1086 was a vast survey of much of the land and property of England and Wales. Twenty years after the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror sent officials to gather information about settlements, the people who lived there, their land holdings and even their farm animals. The resulting document was of immense importance for many centuries, and remains a central source for medieval historians. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Stephen Baxter, Reader in Medieval History at Kings College London; Elisabeth van Houts, Honorary Professor of Medieval European History at the University of Cambridge and David Bates, Professorial Fellow in Medieval History at the University of East Anglia.
Michael Ignatieff on Political Theory and Political Practice
Michael Ignatieff was an academic with a keen inerest in political theory before he learnt the hard way about politics in practice. He was an academic who became leader of the opposition in Canada then lost heavily in the 2011 Prime Ministerial election. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast he discusses the relationship between theory and practice in politics with Nigel Warburton.
The research for this book has kindly been supported by the The Leverhulme Trust, which awarded me a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to fund the research and study leave. I am also grateful to the University of Leicester, which granted me study leave.
'This thorough and comprehensive introduction to the practical and theoretical dimensions of language testing and assessment is set to become a standard reference. With chapters by leading international authorities in the field, it is both intellectually stimulating and practically useful, and is a must-read for those involved in language testing as test developers, test users, policy makers and researchers.'
Tim McNamara, The University of Melbourne, Australia
'I found this book to be the finest collection of cogent articles on language testing to date. The Handbook solidifies language testing as a discipline in its own right - one that has real-world impacts on society at large. Stimulating and clear, the articles will be a valuable resource for decades to come.'
Paula Winke, Michigan State University, USA
Fulcher, G. (forthcoming). Research timeline: Assessing Second Language Speaking. Language Teaching.
Kemp, J. and Fulcher, G. (2013). Performance Decision Trees: Developing domain-specific criteria for teaching and assessment. In J. Wrigglesworth (Ed.) EAP within the higher education garden: Cross-pollination between disciplines, departments and research. (pp. 159 - 170). Reading: Garnet.
Fulcher, G. (2012). "Scoring Performance Tests." In Fulcher, G. and Davidson, F. (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing. London and New York: Routledge, 378 - 392.
Fulcher, G., Davidson, F. & Kemp, J. (2011). "Effective rating scale development for speaking tests: Performance Decision Trees." Language Testing 28, 1, 5 - 29.
Fulcher, G. (2008). "Assessing Language Quality".
In Shohamy, E. (Ed.) Language Testing and Assessment. Vol. 7, Encyclopedia of Language and Education. New York: Springer Publishers, 157 - 176.
Fulcher, G. (2007). "Evaluating quality in second language performance tests." English Language Assessment 1, 3 - 19.
Fulcher, G. (1998). "Testing Speaking". In Clapham, C. (Ed). Language Testing and Assessment. Vol. 7. of the Encyclopaedia of Language and Education, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 75 - 86.
Fulcher, G. (1997). "Assessing Writing". In Fulcher, G. (Ed) Writing in the English Language Classroom. Phoenix ELT/Prentice Hall Macmillan.
Fulcher, G. (1996). "Testing tasks: issues in task design and the group oral." Language Testing 13, 1, 23 - 51.
Fulcher, G. (1996). "Does thick description lead to smart tests? A data-based approach to rating scale construction". Language Testing 13, 2, 208 - 238.
Fulcher, G. (1994). "Some priority areas in oral language testing research." Language Testing Update 15, 39 - 47.
Fulcher, G. (1993).The Construction and Validation of Rating Scales for Oral Tests in English as a Foreign Langauge. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of Lancaster, UK. This is a very large file. Once you've clicked, just wait for it to download in a new window. If you're impatient, you'll crash your browser.
Fulcher, G. (1989). Lexis and reality in oral evaluation. US Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, and the Centre for Applied Linguistics. ERIC document number: ED 298759.
Fulcher, G. (1987). "Tests of Oral Performance: the need for data-based criteria." English Language Teaching Journal 41, 4, 287 - 291.
Test and Task Design
Fulcher, G. (2013). "Test Design and Retrofit." In Chapelle, C. A. (Ed.) The Encyclopeidia of Applied Linguistics (pp. 5809 - 5817). Malden MA: Wiley Blackwell
Davidson, F. and Fulcher, G. (2012). "Developing Test Specifications for Language Assessment." In Coombe, C., Stoynoff, S., O'Sullivan, B., & Davidson,P. (Eds.) The Cambridge Guide to Second Language Assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 59 - 65.
Fulcher, G. (2009). The commercialization of language provision at University. In Alderson, J. C. (Ed.) The Politics of Language Education: Individuals and Institutions. London: Multilingual Matters, 125 - 146.
Fulcher, G. (2007). "Universities undermine their own foundations." Guardian Education, 13 April.
Marquez Reiter, R., Rainey, I. and Fulcher, G. (2005). "A comparative study of conventional indirectness in British English and Peninsular Spanish." Applied Linguistics 26, 1, 1 - 31
Fulcher, G. and Locke, D. (1999). "Distance Education: The future of library and information services requirements." Distance Education 20, 2, 313 - 329.
Fulcher, G. (1999). "Library and Information Services Requirements: A Course Developer's Perspective." In D. A. Lock (ed.)
Library Services for Distance Learners. Surrey: Proceedings of the first Conference on Library Services for Distance Education. 3 - 8.
Fulcher, G. (1997). "Text difficulty and accessibility: Reading formulae and expert judgement." System 25, 4, 497 - 513
Fulcher, G. (1991). "Conditionals Revisited." English Language Teaching Journal 45, 2, 164 - 168.
Fulcher, G. (1989). "Cohesion and coherence in theory and reading research." Journal of Research in Reading 12, 2, 146 - 163.
Fulcher, G. (1988). "The EFL Classroom as a place for research." Education Today 38, 4, 44 - 52.
Fulcher, G. (1988). "Teaching vocabulary for writing." Modern English Teacher 15, 1, 25 - 30.
Fulcher, G. (1987). "Contextual Hyponymy: a communicative approach to teaching lexis in context." Modern English Teacher 14, 3, 14 - 17.
On this website I periodically publish short articles on subjects that are topical or relevant to what is going on in my language testing classes. You can access a selection from the Features Page.
Fulcher, G. (2012). "Assessment literacy for the language classroom." Language Assessment Quarterly 9, 2, 113 - 132.
Fulcher, G. (2010). "Assessment Literacy for the English Language Classroom." Testing, Evaluation and Assessment Newsletter, IATEFL, September, 6 - 8.
Fulcher, G. (2003). "Scaling the peak of writing assignments/dissertations." Guardian Education, November 21.
Fulcher, G. (2002). "Managers face the tests." Invited editorial for the EFL Gazette, April, Issue 267.
Fulcher, G. (2001). "Communicative Language Testing." In Coombe, C., Riley, S. and Troudi, S. (Eds.) Bridging the Gap between Teacher and Learner. TESOL Arabia, 52 - 68.
Fulcher, G. (2000). "The 'communicative' legacy in language testing." System 28, 4, 483 - 497
Fulcher, G. (2000). "Assessment in Independent Language Learning." In the Curriculum and Independence for the Learner Network Handbook (CIEL)
Fulcher, G. (1996). "Writing in the Classroom" Modern English Teacher, 5, 3, 45 - 48.
Fulcher, G. (1991). "The role of assessment by teachers in schools." In Caudery, T. (ed) New Thinking in TEFL. (The Dolphin Series No. 21), Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 138 - 158.
Fulcher, G. (1990). A GCE O Level Workbook. Mavromatis Books, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Book and Software Reviews
Fulcher, G. (2005). "Educational Test Analysis." Language Testing Update,36, 152 - 154.
Fulcher, G. (2000). Review of Chalhoub-Deville, M (Ed.) 1999. Issues in computer-adaptive testing of reading proficiency: selected papers. Studies in Language Testing Vol. 10. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Language Testing 17, 3, 361 - 367.
Fulcher, G. (1999). Review of Barnwell, D. P. 1996: A History of Foreign Language Testing in the United States: from its beginnings to
the present. Tempe, Arizona: Bilingual Press. Language Testing 16, 3, 389 - 394.
Fulcher, G. (1997). "QM Web: A World Wide Web Test Delivery Program." Language Testing Update 21, 45 - 49.
Fulcher, G. (1996). "Brief report on the Language Testing Forum 1995". Language Testing Update, 19, 79 - 80.
Fulcher, G. (1996). "Cyberspace revisited". Language Testing Update, 19, 43 - 51.
Fulcher, G. (1995). "The Language Tester's Guide to Cyberspace." Language Testing Update 17, 62 - 65.
Fulcher, G. (1990). "Review of Testing Spoken Language by Nic Underhill, CUP 1987. English Language Teaching Journal 41, 1, 80 - 82.
Oddities from the Past
Fulcher, G. (1993). "Synonymy RIP." I came across this in a dusty drawer recently. Strange how we sometimes do stuff and forget about it. Anyway, I thought it was worth resurrecting ;-)
Fulcher, G. (1983). "Structuralism." Before Applied Linguistics and Language Testing I studied philosophy and theology. Here's an early publication from my previous life!
This is a newspaper article from The Cyprus Weekly in 1991 - and they couldn't spell my name correctly. Mainly of interst to teachers in Cyprus! I was Director of Studies at the English Institute in Nicosia from 1988 - 1993. Everyone in Cyprus is now familiar with the IGCSE. Most schools use it. But back then no one would touch it. Everyone was frightened that if they didn't use the old GCE, students wouldn't go to their school. It was a market driven thing. So I spoke at a conference and the Cyprus Weekly published THIS STORY. Later that year we introduced IGCSE and it was a great success. The research on which the decisions were taken was published as: Fulcher, G. (1991). "The role of assessment by teachers in schools." In Caudery, T. (ed) New Thinking in TEFL. Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 138 - 158. Probably no one remembers that I was the person who introduced the IGCSE to Cyprus in the early 1990s in order to enrich the curriculum at the English Institute and ensure that we spent more time teaching speaking!
I enjoy playing guitar, particularly blues and prog rock, with a little jazz thrown in. I'd never be able to make a living out of it, but it's a great way to switch off from the world for a while. I also listen to a wide range of guitar music. My favourites? Joe Bonamassa, Jeff Beck, Garry Moore, Peter Green, David Gilmour, Steve Howe, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, Martin Taylor, Derek Trucks. And many more. Why not try these great blues podcasts from around the web?
Roadhouse 477 (19 April, 2014)
Nothing But The Blues #292 (19 April, 2014)
So here's a track of me playing a piece adapted from a favourite prog band of mine, YES. Done on a virtual 32 track recorder, the lead is played on a Les Paul and the backing track on my Ibanez Artcore AWD102. Wonderful guitar, not now in production. Steve Howe would have used a Gibson ES-175. Drums courtesy of the on-board percussion computer, effects from a Boss Phaser.
Most guitar players learn major key pieces by the Shadows at some stage. Here's my version of Wonderful Land. To get the Shadows sound I use a Boss ME50 with a fair amount of sustain, delay, and lots of feedback. On top of that I use a Dava nickel silver tipped pick. Very punchy.
I've always been addicted to Gibson guitars, the Les Paul in particular. I prefer the '59 neck with jumbo frets, and my favourite is a VOS iced tea burst like the one in this image. I also have a custom shop David Gilmour signature strat, which is equally wonderful to play.
Jack White?s Record Breaking ?Lazaretto? Recording
Jack White has a new item for his resume: Making the world?s fastest record. White accomplished the feat during Record Store Day (April 19). At 10 a.m. he took the stage in the Blue Room at his Third Man Records headquarters in Nashville. A few hundred fans got to hear White and his band lay down a live recording of the song ?Lazaretto,? which will appear on his upcoming second solo album. Jack also recorded the Elvis Presley song ?Power of My Love? as a B-side for the single before sending t...
Billie Joe Armstrong Helps Out the Replacements At Coachella
Fans who came to see the Replacements second set at Coachella this past Friday (April 18) got a surprise. Green Day mainman Billie Joe Armstrong joined the group on stage as a backup guitarist to Replacements singer Paul Westerberg. The singer was having back problems and was forced to play guitar while lying down (!), so Armstrong helped fill out the band?s sound and make things easier on Westerberg.
Like everyone else I have a number of favourite internet sites that aren't about language testing! They cover language, art, history, travel, free e-books for my kindle - and more. You may like to take a look at what I currently like on the net in my favourite links.