Thursday 1 July 2021

Providing effective assessment across an entire department or school is a stumbling block for a lot of educational institutions. To address this problem, the workshop aims to introduce teachers to item writing for classroom-based assessment. The workshop will provide practical suggestions on standardizing item writing for classroom assessment, so that the results of tests administered by different teachers or with different test versions are comparable. The focus is on designing productive skills tasks as these are notoriously susceptible to variation: standardizing speaking/writing task production will in less variation thus making assessment more reliable.

To that end, participants will be introduced to task specifications and discuss effective speaking/writing task characteristics. Practical activities will include reflection on what needs to be included in task specifications and comparison with existing samples. The processes involved in large-scale test production will be explained and suggestions on how such processes can be adapted for classroom use will be made, including peer review, task revision and task trialing. The characteristics of effective speaking/writing tasks will be analyzed, and participants will also work with examples of faulty tasks and suggest ways for their improvement. Finally, participants will engage in developing tasks from specifications by following suggested task production processes: creating a first draft, having it reviewed, and revising the task based upon reviewer comments.


Philip Horne

Workshop Presenter - Test Quality Assurance Manager, British Council Global Assessments

Philip is Test Quality Assurance Manager at for British Council Global Assessments, where he manages item development and trains the global pool of item writers. He has a Cambridge diploma in English teaching and an MA in Language Testing from Lancaster University. His thesis was on rater interpretation of pronunciation descriptors in holistic rating scales. He is currently pursuing a PhD (also in the field of testing), focusing on pragmatics and computer-based tests.

Olena Rossi

Workshop Presenter - PhD student / Associate Lecturer , University of Lancaster

Olena Rossi is a doctoral student at Lancaster University, UK, focused in language testing. She has an MA in Language Testing, and her main research interests are item-writing, item-writer training, and assessment literacy for test stakeholders. Her PhD research study investigates item-writer training with the aim of proposing a framework of item-writing skills development. Prior to starting her PhD studies, Olena worked as a language teacher and teacher trainer in Ukraine, Malaysia, and China.