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Introduction to Test Writing

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.

Course outcomes

After completing the course, you will understand the fundamental components and theory required to create quality English language test questions for the four main language skills.

How the course is taught

Throughout the course, you will analyse texts and items and write your own texts and items, according to given guidelines.

Language Level: C1 

Minimum age: 21

Location: online course hosted on a secure learning platform

Course dates: on-demand

Course length: up to 20 hours in total – accessible for 3 months

Course fees

+ tax where applicable

Course Sections

  1. Key terminology used in language assessment – includes a glossary and explanations of key language and concepts in language assessment
  2. Dealing with sensitive subjects – how to ensure tests are fair and inclusive
  3. How the Common European Framework of Reference and language levels relate to assessment
  4. An introduction to useful tools for test writers that ensure test questions are at the right level and fulfil the testing focus
  5. How to write multiple-choice tasks for receptive skills
  6. How to write cloze tasks for receptive skills
  7. How to write matching tasks for receptive skills
  8. How to write note-taking tasks for receptive skills
  9. How to write guided writing questions to assess writing skills
  10. How to write interview questions for assessing speaking skills

Course content

Unit 1

Being an item writer and key terminology (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • The test development process
  • Self-assessment
  • Key terminology

Unit 2

Sensitivity and world knowledge (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • What is sensitivity?
  • Taboo topics in assessment
  • Identifying suitable topics

Unit 3

The CEFR and language levels (3 – 4 hours)
  • The purpose of the CEFR
  • CEFR and language assessment
  • Useful tools for test writers

Unit 4

Multiple-choice tasks (3 – 4 hours)
  • Key concepts for reading and listening multiple-choice tasks
  • Writing scripted texts for reading and listening
  • Listening multiple-choice tasks

Unit 5

Cloze tasks (3 hours)
  • Key concepts for cloze tasks
  • Grammatical and lexico-grammatical cloze
  • Lexical cloze
  • Multiple-choice sentence gaps – Reading
  • Open cloze – Reading

Unit 6

Matching tasks (2 hours)
  • Key concepts for matching tasks
  • Listening
  • Reading

Unit 7

Note-taking tasks (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Key concepts and practice for Listening tasks

Unit 8

Guided writing (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Key features of guided writing tasks
  • Writing prompts
  • Writing a sample answer

Unit 9

Interview questions (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Key concepts for interview questions
  • Analysing topics and tasks
  • Identifying common issues

Contact details for further information: 


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Learn about other Courses

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.

A Foundation in Test Writing

Next Course: coming soon

Who the course is for

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

The course is designed to give participants a solid grounding in assessment theory as well as practice in writing test items for Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking skills, as well as integrated skills. Participants will undertake practice activities in item writing, receive tutor feedback and learn how to peer- and self-edit.

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