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A Foundation in Test Writing

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: Coming Soon

Registration closing date: N/A 

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: 


Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions are answered below.

Register for the course

Please fill out the registration form to register your interest.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the course aimed at?

The course is designed for experienced teachers and ELT materials writers who want to acquire a foundational knowledge of test writing.
The course would be beneficial to teachers / materials writers with at least 2 years experience.

How is the course delivered?

The course runs in a virtual learning environment (VLE) called Brightspace, with complementary live sessions via Google Meet. Both platforms are highly interactive and collaborative. You will work with a variety of media and content, and learn as you interact with your tutor, the materials, and your fellow course participants.

Who are the tutors and participants?

LT123 online courses have a minimum of 6 participants and a maximum of 10 participants so individual tutor support and a strong sense of group identity is guaranteed.

Our team of assessment specialists and the profiles of our online course tutors can be viewed here.

How much tutor support will I get?

Throughout the course, your learning will be facilitated by your course tutor, including two live online sessions. They will also moderate and contribute to discussions, answer questions, give group or individual feedback on some tasks and summarise the group’s contributions at the end of each unit.

Why should I take an LT123 Course?

LT123 has been established since 2011 and has a reputation for excellence in assessment solutions and has worked with leading publishers and awarding bodies. See our website here for examples of recent clients.

The courses are run by skilled test training specialists who are passionate about supporting learners. Feedback has been excellent and comments include:

‘This is a very practical course and I really learnt a lot from it. Thank you for the learning experience!’

‘I would recommend the course because the content is comprehensive and well-staged.’

‘The course covers all practical aspects of item writing. It provides some useful tips on task developing given by seasoned item writers.’

How long does the course last?

The course is between 40-45 hours over 7 weeks (5-7 hours per week), with an additional period at the end to complete an optional end of course assignment.

What happens if I am unavailable to attend for one week or get behind schedule?

The weekly programme is designed to help you plan and manage your study time, and to get the most out of working collaboratively with your peers.

When do I have to be online to do my coursework?

Most of the course work is done asynchronously (i.e. not through real-time interaction); you will be able to choose when and where you study. The course will also feature synchronous sessions such as live webinars, and these will be scheduled at a time when the majority of participants and the course tutor can attend (Units 2 and 7).

What sort of equipment do I need?

Technical requirements for participation are an internet-connected device, with headphones, microphone and webcam.  You can do much of the course on a mobile device, but will sometimes need a computer.

Will I get a certificate?

If you achieve the required 80% participation you will receive a certificate of participation and be eligible to complete an end-of-course assignment.

If you successfully pass the assignment, your certificate will reflect which overall grade you receive: a certificate of successful achievement (60% to 79%) or a certificate of successful achievement with distinction (80%+).

Can I obtain a digital badge?

Yes, participants may be given a digital badge on request.

Can I access the course and the materials after the taught part of the programme is over?

Yes, participants will have full access to the course materials during the optional assignment period and for a limited time after the final submission date.

Are there any entry requirements?

You need to be over 21, have a language level C1 or above on the CEFR and be able to demonstrate you have the required basic level of material writer / teaching experience (2 years).

How do I register?

To apply for a place on the Foundation in Test Writing course, applicants should complete the online registration form or make a formal request by writing to us at An LT123 representative will be in contact with you to provide further details and how to pay.

Learn about other Courses

Introduction to Test Writing

On Demand

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

On Demand

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.