Communicative Language Testing
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Tests may be the bane of our students’ lives but they are a necessary part of language learning. They are necessary in order for our students to be able to assess their knowledge and comprehension of a particular topic. They are necessary for teachers to identify which aspects of their courses need more attention. They are necessary for external bodies to ascertain the level of a particular student. This blogs discusses communicative language testing.
What is the problem with traditional testing?
However, testing in language learning classrooms usually leaves a lot to be desired. There are reasons students don’t enjoy traditional tests. In fact, sometimes even teachers don’t enjoy tests. The problem with tests is that they are often dry, uninspiring and boring. They are generally written tests of random sentences which the students need to complete, correct or respond to.
When you think about it, there is no need for this. The goal of all of our English as a Foreign Language classrooms is communication. Testing our students’ grammatical and vocabulary knowledge out of context does not adequately test their communicative competence. What is needed is a truly communicative test.
What is a communicative test?
A communicative test is one which requires the students to complete an authentic task – in other words, a task which is a realistic reflection of a learner’s experiences in the outside world. As a result, the test may include a reading task, a writing task, and a speaking task. This will mean it will be a test of both receptive skills and productive skills, both recognition of language and production of language.
Unlike traditional tests, there is no particular focus on any grammar point or vocabulary item. The aim of the test is the successful completion of the task, irrespective of how that is achieved. The students’ language is still assessed but rather on intelligibility than on grammatical accuracy.
The major benefit of a communicative test is that they are adaptable to any age and level. Students will be able to see the relevance of a test like this because they can see themselves carrying out similar tasks in the real world. Plus, teachers will have a better idea of their students’ overall communicative ability.
Examples of communicative language tests
- Deciding with a friend which movie to watch
- Ordering food at a restaurant
- Giving suggestions to a friend who has asked for advice
- Giving a PowerPoint presentation in a business meeting
- Asking for information over the phone
Why doesn’t everyone use communicative tests?
Of course there are drawbacks to carrying out communicative tests, just as there are to carrying out traditional tests. Communicative tests may be more difficult for teachers to assess as there are no clear correct or incorrect answers as there are with True/False questions, for example. Instead the teacher will need to use their experience and common sense to assess each student on the extent to which they have achieved their communicative aim.
They can also be more difficult to set up as the teacher will need to come up with a relevant test for their students. Plus, there are time constraints as the teacher will need to witness each student carrying out the task in order to be able to assess each individual.
However, though these tests may have their own set of challenges, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. The next time you need to do a test with your students, why not try out a communicative test and see what the washback is.
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- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.