A teacher education workshop on the construction of EFL tests and materials

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The purpose of this paper is to describe a workshop designed to raise teachers' awareness of potential obstacles to student comprehension of test questions. Such an awareness is essential to the process of test writing or the construction of teaching materials. Although this workshop focuses specifically on the EFL reading comprehension test, it has broader implications, as the construction of tests and class assignments necessitates a constant reassessment and clarification of course objectives and the fulfillment of these goals. Because we propose that any test or classroom material constitutes a communicative interchange between the teacher and the student, alerting the teacher to the nature of this interchange and possible impediments to such communication may positively affect the teacher's performance in the classroom. We first present the practical problems among the staff of the Division of Foreign Languages at Tel Aviv University that created the need for a test-writing workshop. Subsequently we describe the workshop, which includes a presentation of theoretically motivated criteria for writing test items, a description of the stages in the test-writing procedure, and hands-on experience in the construction of a reading comprehension test. Finally, we present limitations and advantages of the workshop as well as broader implications for such issues as teacher observation and curriculum development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-111
Number of pages27
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


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