The Influence Of Language Assessment On Language Teaching Methods
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This paper examines the influences of language assessment on language teaching. The paper was written in response to the assessment procedures recommended in the new English syllabus for senior secondary schools in Botswana. The main argument in the paper is that unless the assessment procedures are also changed to become communicative, like the recommended teaching approach, the teaching will remain unchanged. It is further argued that changing a test is possibly the most powerful means to bring about improvements in the learning experiences that go before it. The main shortcoming in the new syllabus, it is argued, is that there is no assessment of oral skills recommended for the short term, and therefore the 'washback effect’ of the English examination syllabus would be negative: most likely it will lead to the neglect of the teaching and learning of oral skills. The paper goes on to suggest a number of tasks that could be used to test oral skills in the examination of the new syllabus and how these would engender the teaching and learning of oral skills. Expertise for the construction of tests of oral skills, it is further argued, can be found locally; all the responsible authorities have to do is consult it.