Writing is often challenging for learners for a variety of reasons. These include a lack of vocabulary or grammar, a lack of knowledge of the genre and a lack of background knowledge to respond effectively to the task. However, the way a writing task is presented can also have an impact on the difficulty of a task and can elicit very different types of language, which can be problematic when trying to maintain standards across different assessments.
In this workshop, participants will consider the ways in which writing tasks can affect task difficulty and will discuss the implications of this with regard to test fairness across groups of test-takers. We will consider the importance of using test specifications to maintain consistency of assessment across groups. Workshop participants will then work together in designing two tasks of approximately equivalent difficulty.