Essays and Related Writing Tasks for Language Testing


For many reasons writing is one of the foundational skills of educated persons. Tests of writing skills are therefore needed. The intent of this paper is to discuss and explore traditional essay techniques and suggests both objective and subjective scoring methods. It is recognized that the problem of quantifying essay tasks is a crucial difficulty in school applications. A method of interpreting learner protocols with a view toward helping learners to overcome language difficulties is focused. Though essay testing may require more work of the teacher and of the students than many other testing procedures, it is considered to be a profitable assessment technique. Certainly it affords a rich yield of diagnostic information concerning the learner’s developing expectancy grammar. One of the most often used and perhaps least understood methods of testing language skills is the traditional essay or composition. The freedom allowed by essay tasks may both their greatest strength and weakness- a strength because they require a lot of the examinee, and a weakness because of the judgement required of the examiner. Except for the greater accessibility of the written protocols of learners, the evaluation of writing performances is similar to the evaluation of spoken protocols. The fundamental problem in using essay tasks as tests is the difficulty of quantification - converting performances in scores.

Author Information
Rosanna Tammaro, University of Salerno, Italy
Anna D'Alessio, University of Salerno, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2015
Stream: Primary and secondary education

This paper is part of the IICE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon