The Procedural Requirements of Language Examination
Ten chronologically successive phases may be separated within the examination procedure:
- Task design; preparing drafts.
- A special committee consisting of staff from the examination centre assess the tasks. The assessors discuss task design at various meetings (moderation). The test developers carry out the suggested modifications and elaborate the test or, if the committee rejects it, prepare new ones. If needed, the committee is called together again in order to assess the modified tasks.
- The committee checks whether the tasks are improved.
- Experimental trials of the tasks and analysis of the results.
- Decision of the specialized committee on modifying the tasks further on the basis of the results of the trial. Checking whether the modifications are implemented. Revealing and correcting the editing, linguistic and typographic deficiencies.
- Reproduction and encryption of the final test material. Preparation of examiners and assessors to assess the given tasks.
- Operation of the exam, assessment of the tasks
- Monitoring the operation of the exam: the analysis of the results (data, solutions, partial results) treated together to determine whether the exam tasks worked from a professional point of view and whether they assessed the knowledge of the candidates as expected. Analysis and assessment of the feedback received from candidates and examiners.
- Summary of the results, preparation to make a decision concerning the exam results. The possible modification of those tasks that worked poorly for the sake of using them in the future.
- Corporate decision of the examining body on the exam results and on the possible modification of the instruments and examination procedure.
Owing to the fact that the procedural requirements form a framework, the actual content of the various phases may differ in the case of different language exams and languages (e.g. less frequently learned languages), especially regarding points 4 and 8 above.