Language Learning & Technology
Vol. 5, No. 2, May 2001, pp. 4-7
ON THE NET
Language Testing Resources
Paginated PDF version
Jean W. LeLoup
The Resources in Language Testing WWW Page,*NOTE* first published 1 May 1995 and maintained by Glenn Fulcher (University of Surrey), is a very comprehensive site for issues related to all aspects of foreign language testing. This page provides "one-stop shopping" for those searching for information on language testing topics ranging from types of tests available to conferences and organizations dealing with testing to numerous research studies online detailing their findings. The site is extremely well-organized and aims to be of much assistance to the user who not only needs to know what and where but also how, how well, and why. For example, numerous online resources are given and they are also reviewed for content and usefulness, something that is all too often missing from online resource collections.
This initial page provides a link to the content area of the site that is optimized for Internet Explorer but that works on Netscape too. It is also the page to which others should link, as it is the stable homepage URL of the site.
Be careful to follow the correct capitalization for this case sensitive Web server.
The author places any helpful and important information here, such as timeliness of updates to the site. This site is generally updated every two to three months, making it extremely reliable in terms of availability and up-to-date information, at least in WWW page terms and lifetimes. The site has recently been redesigned, March 26, 2001, and our review is based on this update. Given the number of monthly hits incurred by this site, the author has recognized its increasing importance in the language testing field and has kindly supplied citation information. Once the initial page has loaded, the Main Menu offers a number of options, explored below.
This choice provides a wealth of direction to sites under the following rubrics:
Pages with Assessment and Evaluation Links
Educational Resources Information Center
Associations, Centers, and Councils
Ethics and Fairness in Testing
Resource links are followed by a link to the relevant review in the Site Reviews section, providing useful information about the linked site. This connection between the links and the reviews is a powerful, time saving tool for the language professional.
This area of the site, titled "The Language Tester's Guide to Cyberspace," follows the previous section with reviews of many of the sites found in the sections under Links. Typical comments on different sites are informative and very helpful. A portion of one review follows as an example, a review of the Test Locator site of ERIC:The most important ERIC/AE offering is the Test Locator. This service is a collaborative effort between ERIC, ETS, the Buros Institute, and Pro-Ed Publishers, and contains descriptions of over 10,000 tests, including many language tests. You can search this database, and along with the description, retrieve the address of the publisher. >From late 1995 there has been a WWW interface for the test locator, but the locator itself is still operated on the gopher server.
The other major contribution of ERIC is the ability to search for articles/papers/digests by keyword, author, topic (you name it) using the ERIC database search facility.
The portion of this site with the most "bells and whistles" is this series of video clips on topics of language testing. To view these clips, you will need either RealPlayer or VivoActive (links to download this freeware are provided on the page). Choices are given depending on the technology used to view the clips: Real Player 28k modems, Vivo for 33k modems, Real Player for 56k modems. These are short video clips (8-10 minutes in length) of recognized experts in the field giving good definitions of testing topics. Each video clip is accompanied by a reference reading list. The topics addressed (one video clip per topic) are:
Writing Test Items
Testing for Specific Purposes
Because of the size of video files, even compressed files such as these, the time required to download them remains significant. As Internet speeds continue to improve, so will our ability to quickly and esily access high quality multimedia resources such as these. This part of the site is indeed ahead of its time and is poised to take advantage of the coming improvements in technology.
This link gives you access to a search engine that combs the database of articles in the journal, Language Testing, using Boolean logic. The results yield a clickable code for an issue of the journal. Clicking on this code reveals the table of contents for that particular volume of the journal. On-line instructions for using the database search engine are also provided.
In addition to collections and reviews, this portion provides an alphabetical listing by author of language testing articles, working papers, research reports, and the like that are available online.
Under the "Interactive" menu item, you can even try your hand at language testing trivia. Well, maybe not trivia but jeopardy-like tidbits related to language testing terms, people, and materials.
You can add your name, address, and particulars to a database of colleagues with similar research interests and pursuits. This is also where you can search for others who share your interests or who are experts in a particular area.
Conference news provides links to homepages for future as well as past conferences on language assessment.
An additional News section informs readers of items of current interest.
The ILTA homepage is linked here with all of its associated sites. Included in the latter are the Language Testing Research Colloquia for the past 20 years. These are also reachable through a direct link from the menu of Resources in Language Testing WWW page.
For an online discussion with colleagues interested in language testing topics, this section includes a description of LTEST-L, the discussion list of ILTA. It provides succinct directions for subscribing to and leaving the list, vital information for any electronic discussionist.
Overall, the Language Testing Resources site represents a high quality, comprehensive, professional online reference for a wide range of language testing issues of interest to foreign language professionals.
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