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A Foundation in Test Writing

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This tutor-led course is delivered online and is for experienced teachers and ELT materials writers who want to acquire a foundational knowledge of test writing.

About the course

Our assessment experts have designed this course to give participants a good understanding of the background to assessment as well as the theory and practice of item writing. The course covers the fundamentals of item writing, such as test purposes and the qualities of a good test, as well as exploring how to write different task types, identifying appropriate source material, and targeting relevant assessment criteria.

Throughout the course, your learning will be facilitated by your course tutor, including two live online sessions. You will work closely with colleagues in your tutor group to build the collaborative skills required in the item production process.

In each unit, you will be given suggestions for further study, reading and practice to guide you in your continued development of your item writing skills.

Course outcomes

After completing the course, you will have a good understanding of both theory and best practice in English language assessment today. You will have a greater awareness of the issues to be considered when item writing and how to address them, and have had practice in writing and editing your own items.
All participants who complete at least 80% of the course will receive a Certificate of Participation. Those who opt to complete an additional assignment will receive a Certificate of Successful Achievement.

Language Level: C1 

Minimum age: 21

Location: online course with tutor mediation and hosted on a secure learning platform

Course dates: tbc

Course length: 40 – 45 hours over 7 weeks (5-7 hours a week)

Course fees

+ tax where applicable

Course content

Unit 0

Orientation (around 1 hour)
  • Introductions
  • Familiarisation with the learning environment

Unit 1

Quality assessment (around 5 ½ to 6 hours)
  • Test development process
  • Test purposes
  • Item production cycle
  • Item writer guidelines

Unit 2

Standards and tasks (around 5 ½ to 6 hours, including a 45-minute live online session)
  • Assessment task types
  • Setting the standards
  • Fairness and sensitivity

Unit 3

Testing receptive skills: Reading (around 7 to 7 ½ hours)
  • Introduction to testing Reading
  • Texts for Reading tasks
  • Items for Reading tasks

Unit 4

Testing receptive skills: Listening (around 7 hours)
  • Authenticity in Listening texts and tasks
  • Writing scripts for Listening tasks
  • Writing items for Listening tasks

Unit 5

Testing productive skills: Writing (around 6 hours)
  • Introduction to the assessment of Writing
  • Designing a Writing test
  • Practice in preparing Writing tasks
  • Assessment of candidates’ written work

Unit 6

Testing productive skills: Speaking (around 7 to 7 ½ hours)
  • Why and how we speak
  • Speaking test formats and tasks
  • Task design
  • Multi-level-based tests and issues

Unit 7

Testing integrated skills (around 6 ½ to 7 hours, including a 45-minute live online session)
  • Issues in assessing integrated skills
  • Evaluating integrated skills tasks
  • The assessment scale
  • Designing an integrated skills assessment task

Contact details for further information: 


Learn about other Courses

Introduction to Test Writing

Who the course is for

This self-access test writing course is ideal for English language teachers and materials writers who want to start learning how to create CEFR-aligned English language assessment tasks.

About the course

Our English language assessment specialists have designed this course to introduce you to the fundamental skills needed to produce quality reading, writing, listening and speaking test items.

Learn how to create various materials that are fair, inclusive, and aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference using test writing tools.

LT123 Test Editing Course

Who the course is for

This self-access course introduces new test materials writers and editors to the fundamentals of editing English language assessment materials.

About the course

English language assessment specialists have developed this introductory self-access course to teach you how to prepare for and undertake the editing of reading and listening tasks.

Learn what successful editors must consider when evaluating test material and giving feedback to item writers, before testing your new skills with practical activities.

We can help

Talk to us today to discover how we can help with your assessment needs.