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Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices By H. Douglas Brown

Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices

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Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices Summary

Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices by H. Douglas Brown

Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices, offers a clear, comprehensive survey of the essential principles of assessing second language learning, as well as the critical tools teachers need to evaluate performance fairly and effectively. This invaluable resource joins Brown's classic texts, Principles of Language Learning and Teaching and Teaching by Principles, in providing indispensible guidance for second language instruction.

Language Assessment provides a working knowledge of the principles of assessment and their practical application in the classroom. This concise, comprehensive treatment of all four skills includes classification of assessment techniques ranging from controlled to open-ended item types, while a discussion of standardized tests examines their design, purpose, validity and utility.

Additional key features:

  • Clearly framed fundamental principles for evaluating and designing assessment procedures
  • A focus on classroom-based assessment at all levels of proficiency
  • A thorough examination of standards-based assessment and standardized testing
  • A wealth of practical examples to illustrate principles and guidelines
  • An exploration of the ethics of testing in an educational and commercial world
  • Comprehensive treatment of alternatives in assessment
  • A chapter devoted to guidelines and practical suggestions for assigning grades
  • End-of-chapter exercises and suggested additional readings

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About H. Douglas Brown

Dr. H. Douglas Brown, a professor in the MA-TESOL program at San Francisco State University, has written many articles, teacher training books, and textbooks on language pedagogy. A past president of TESOL and recipient of the James A. Alatis Award for Distinguished Service, Dr. Brown has lectured to English language teaching audiences around the world.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Assessment Concepts and Issues

Assessment and Testing

Measurement and Evaluation

Assessment and Learning

Informal and Formal Assessment

Formative and Summative Assessment

Norm-Referenced and Criterion-Referenced Tests

Types and Purposes of Assessment

Achievement Tests

Diagnostic Tests

Placement Tests

Proficiency Tests

Aptitude Tests

Issues in Language Assessment: Then and Now

Behavioral Influences on Language Testing

Integrative Approaches

Communicative Language Testing

Performance-based Assessment

Current "Hot Topics" in Classroom-based Assessment

Multiple Intelligences

Traditional and "Alternative" Assessment

Computer-based Testing

Other Current Issues


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 2: Principles Of Language Assessment



Student-Related Reliability

Rater Reliability

Test Administration Reliability

Test Reliability


Content-Related Evidence

Criterion-Related Evidence

Construct-Related Evidence

Consequential Validity (Impact)

Face Validity



Applying Principles to the Evaluation of Classroom Tests


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 3: Designing Classroom Language Tests

Four Assessment Scenarios

Determining the Purpose of a Test

Designing Clear, Unambiguous Objectives

Drawing Up Test Specifications

Devising Test Items

Designing Multiple-Choice Items

Administering the Test

Scoring, Grading, and Giving Feedback



Giving Feedback


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 4: Standards-Based Assessment

The Role of Standards in Standardized Tests

Standards-Based Education

Designing English Language Standards

Standards-Based Assessment


Teacher Standards

The Consequences of Standards-Based and Standardized Testing

Test Bias

Test-Driven Language and Teaching

Ethical Issues: Critical Language Testing


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 5: Standardized Testing

Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardized Tests

Developing a Standardized Test

Standardized Language Proficiency Testing


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 6: Beyond Tests: Alternatives in Assessment

The Dilemma of Maximizing Both Practicality and Washback

Performance-Based Assessment




Conferences and Interviews


Self- and Peer-Assessments

Types of Self- and Peer-Assessment

Guidelines for Self- and peer-Assessment

A Taxonomy of Self- and Peer-Assessment Tasks


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 7: Assessing Listening

Integration of Skills in Language Assessment

Assessing Grammar and Vocabulary

Observing the Performance of the Four Skills

The Importance of Listening

Basic Types of Listening

Micro- and Macroskills of Listening

Designing Assessment Tasks: Intensive Listening

Recognizing Phonological and Morphological Elements

Paraphrase Recognition

Designing Assessment Tasks: Responsive Listening

Designing Assessment Tasks: Selective Listening

Listening Cloze

Information Transfer

Sentence Repetition

Designing Assessment Tasks: Extensive Listening


Communicative Stimulus-Response Tasks

Authentic Listening Tasks


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 8: Assessing Speaking

Basic Types of Speaking

Micro- and Macroskills of Speaking

Designing Assessment Tasks: Imitative Speaking

Versant (R)

Designing Assessment Tasks: Intensive Speaking

Directed Response Tasks

Read-Aloud Tasks

Sentence/Dialogue Completion Tasks and Oral Questionnaires

Picture-Cued Tasks

Translation (of Limited Stretches of Discourse)

Designing Assessment Tasks: Responsive Speaking

Question and Answer

Giving Instructions and Directions


Test of Spoken English (TSE (R))

Designing Assessment Tasks: Interactive Speaking


Role Play

Discussions and Conversations


ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

Designing Assessments: Extensive Speaking

Oral Presentations

Picture-Cued Story-Telling

Retelling a Story, News Event

Translation (of Extended Prose)


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 9: Assessing Reading

Genres of Reading

Microskills, Macroskills, and Strategies for Reading

Types of Reading

Designing Assessment Tasks: Perceptive Reading

Reading Aloud

Written Response


Picture-Cued Items

Designing Assessment Tasks: Selective Reading

Multiple Choice (for Form-Focused Criteria)

Matching Tasks

Editing Tasks

Picture-Cued Tasks

Gap-Filling Tasks

Designing Assessment Tasks: Interactive Reading

Cloze Tasks

Impromptu Reading Plus Comprehension Questions

Short-Answer Tasks

Editing (Longer Texts)


Ordering Tasks

Information Transfer: Reading Charts, Maps, Graphs, Diagrams

Designing Assessment Tasks: Extensive Reading

Skimming Tasks

Summarizing and Responding

Note-Taking and Outlining


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 10: Assessing Writing

Genres of Written Language

Types of Writing Performance

Micro- and Macroskills of Writing

Designing Assessment Tasks: Imitative Writing

Tasks in [Hand] Writing Letters, Words, and Punctuation

Spelling Tasks and Detecting Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondences

Designing Assessment Tasks: Intensive (Controlled) Writing

Dictation and Dicto-Comp

Grammatical Transformation Tasks

Picture-Cued Tasks

Vocabulary Assessment Tasks

Ordering Tasks

Short-Answer and Sentence Completion Tasks

Issues in Assessing Responsive and Extensive Writing

Designing Assessment Tasks: Responsive and Extensive Writing


Guided Question and Answer

Paragraph Construction Tasks

Strategic Options

Scoring Methods for Responsive and Extensive Writing

Holistic Scoring

Primary Trait Scoring

Analytic Scoring

Beyond Scoring: Responding to Extensive Writing

Assessing Initial Stages of the Process of Composing

Assessing Later Stages of the Process of Composing


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 11: Assessing Grammar and Vocabulary

Assessing Grammar

Defining Grammatical Knowledge

Designing Assessment Tasks: Selected Response

Multiple-Choice (MC) Tasks

Discrimination Tasks

Noticing Tasks or Consciousness Raising Tasks

Designing Assessment Tasks: Limited Production

Gap-filling Tasks

Short Answer Tasks

Dialogue Completion Tasks

Designing Assessment Tasks: Extended Production

Information-gap Tasks

Role Play or Simulation Tasks

Assessing Vocabulary

The Nature of Vocabulary

Defining Lexical Knowledge

Some Considerations in Designing Assessment Tasks

Designing Assessment Tasks: Receptive Vocabulary

Designing Assessment Tasks: Productive Vocabulary


For Your Further Reading

Chapter 12: Grading and Student Evaluation

Philosophy of Grading: What Should Grades Reflect?

Guidelines for Selecting Grading Criteria

Methods for Calculating Grades

Teachers' Perceptions of Appropriate Grade Distributions

Institutional Expectations and Constraints

Cross-Cultural Factors and the Question of Difficulty

What Do Letter Grades "Mean"?

Calculating Grades

Alternatives to Letter Grading

Some Principles and Guidelines for Grading and Evaluation


For Your Further Reading

Appendix: Commercial Tests



Name Index

Subject Index

Additional information

Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices by H. Douglas Brown
H. Douglas Brown
Used - Very Good
Pearson Education (US)
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