Standard Assessments: Merits and Demerits and the Alternative Assessments

  •  Narjes Ghafournia    


Although standardized assessments are extensively applied for major decision making purposes in many language-teaching programs, the tests are not valid and reliable enough for many evaluation programs due to major demerits. Unfortunately, over the years, many high stakes proficiency tests have been widely applied for different educational purposes mainly due to using technically-sophisticated quantitative scoring methods as well as national and international availability. The extensive use of conventional standard tests in different academic settings has resulted in the wide negligence of valid assessment of language leaners' abilities and significant decrease in ethics and fairness in testing. Despite many advantages of standard assessments, some disadvantages of applying standard assessments can be substantially compensated through using formative assessments, criterion- referenced tests, affectively-oriented assessments, culturally familiar tests, and direct assessments such as self-assessment, peer assessment, and portfolio assessment. Combination of different types of assessment is of pedagogical importance due to integration of learning and assessment as well as great emphasis on learners' autonomy and responsibility for second/foreign language learning. The present article discusses the merits and demerits of standardized assessments as well as the necessity of implementing alternative assessments along with standardized assessments in language-learning settings in detail.

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