Manual for Language Test Development and Examining

Designed to be complementary to the Manual for Relating language examinations to the CEFR ; this Manual focuses on aspects of test development and examining which were not covered in that Manual. It  contains very detailed appendices as well as a glossary.

Produced by ALTE for the Council of Europe (2011), this Manual is available in French, German and in Basque.

While the Manual for Relating language examinations to the CEFR focuses on ‘procedures involved in the justification of a claim that a certain examination or test is linked to the CEFR’ and ‘does not provide a general guide how to construct good language tests or examinations’ (p2), the complementary approach adopted in this Manual starts from the test development process itself and shows how a link to the CEFR can be built into each step of this process, in order to:
⇒ specify test content
⇒ target specific language proficiency levels
⇒ interpret performance on language tests in terms that relate to a world of language use beyond the test itself.


The reader of this Manual

This Manual is for anyone interested in developing and using langage tests which relate to the CEFR. It is written to be useful to novice language testers as well as more experienced users. That is, it introduces common principles which apply to language testing generally, whether the exam provider is a large organisation preparing tests for thousands of test takers in various locations, or a single teacher who wishes to test the students in his or her own classroom. The principles are the same for both high- and low-stakes tests, even though the practical steps taken will vary.

We assume that readers are already familiar with the CEFR, or will be ready to use it together with this Manual when developing and using tests.

How the Manual developed

ALTE was responsible for producing the original version. Over the past decade or so, developments in validity theory and the growing use and influence of the CEFR have highlighted the need for a thorough updating of the document. ALTE was pleased to have been invited again to coordinate these revisions in 2009/10 and many individual ALTE members and affiliates have contributed to the process.