Although exams are traditional tools for tracking students' language development processes, increasing knowledge and insights into testing and assessment have led to a variety of changes both in assessment and evaluation formats and in the goals attached to them.
Assessment is not just about exams as we know them. Rather, it consists of methods that span the entire teaching process. Classroom performance evaluations, assignments and feedback given to them, projects, portfolios, creation of online content, and tests are some of these methods.
We think that exams are teaching materials. The effects of test contents on learning processes (washback) and how exams affect the decisions taken about teaching are also important components of the assessment development and implementation process.
Exams and other evaluation activities implemented in our department aim to provide our students with the language skills they will need in their departments and other academic environments. Therefore, the validity framework established by Weir (2005) is taken into account in the development of tests and other evaluation tools. Accordingly, each of the validity components listed below is carefully examined while our assessment and evaluation tools are created:
• Test takers characteristics (physical, psychological, experiential, etc.)
• Context validity (Purpose of testing, timing, standardized application, physical conditions, etc.)
• Theory-based validity (Content knowledge, language knowledge, language skills, etc.)
• Scoring validity (Reliable measurement criteria, rater training, statistical analysis, etc.)
• Conclusion validity (Effect of assessment on learning, how tests inform students, etc.)
• Criterion-based validity (The acquisition of the language skills required by students’ respective departments, correctly determining future language performance, etc.)
Our aim in all these processes is to correctly evaluate student performances, to identify the support areas that our students need, and to ensure that they reach the desired language goals.