• British Council

Language Assessment in the Classroom

Assessment is a vital part of language education. Improve your understanding of language assessment with this online course.

47,595 enrolled on this course

Language Assessment in the Classroom

Improve your language assessment skills and discover new types of assessments

Over the last 15 years, assessment has had an increasingly significant impact on education policy globally. Consequently, there is a growing need among teachers to understand how language assessment works.

On this course from the British Council, you will learn about the principles of sound language assessment. You’ll develop an understanding of the different types of assessment in education and how they can be applied.

With guidance from experienced test developers and international assessment experts, you’ll explore practical ways of assessing language and skills to use in your classroom.


  • Week 1

    Assessing speaking and writing

    • Welcome!

      A welcome message from Barry O'Sullivan.

    • How can assessment help teachers?

      A brief introduction to assessment from a teacher's perspective. We look at different types of assessment, and how assessment benefits both teachers and learners in the classroom.

    • Assessing speaking

      First, we will look at how speaking is assessed, including assessment tasks and criteria. As we go along, we will use examples from speaking to introduce some important concepts in language assessment.

    • Assessing writing

      Like speaking, writing is a productive skill. In some ways, assessing writing is similar to assessing speaking, but there are also important differences which we will explore in this section.

    • End of week 1

      In this unit, we will summarise the main ideas we have discussed about the assessment of productive skills and give you a quick quiz to recap terminology and concepts.

  • Week 2

    Assessing reading and listening

    • Introduction to receptive skills

      In this unit, we are going to discuss the main features of receptive skills and their implications for assessment.

    • What is reading?

      In this unit, we will discuss what reading is and what different skills are needed.

    • Assessing reading

      In this unit, we are going to look at how can we test reading in the most effective way.

    • Developing a reading test

      In this unit, we are going to discuss how we can create a successful test.

    • What is listening?

      In this unit, we are going to discuss what listening is and what skills are involved.

    • Assessing listening

      In this unit, we are going to look at what listening is and what this means for assessment. We will also introduce some technical terminology.

    • Let's talk about scoring...

      In this unit, we are going to give practical guidance about scoring and finish with a few tips on how to run listening tests.

    • End of Week 2

      In this unit, we will summarise the main ideas we have discussed about the assessment of receptive skills and give you a quick quiz to recap terminology and concepts.

  • Week 3

    Assessing vocabulary and grammar

    • Introduction

      This unit is an introduction to testing vocabulary and grammar.

    • Assessing vocabulary

      In this unit we are going to discuss what vocabulary is and how this is important to understand how to assess it.

    • Assessing grammar

      This unit introduces participants to the key concepts of assessing grammar.

    • Task types

      In this unit we are going to discuss some of the most common task types used to assess vocabulary and grammar.

    • End of Week 3

      In this unit, we will summarise the main ideas we have discussed about the assessment of vocabulary and grammar and give you a quick quiz to recap terminology and concepts.

  • Week 4

    Test development

    • Assessment and course planning

      Assessment needs to be included at the planning stage when designing a course of study.

    • Test Design

      An overview of some of the issues involved in deciding what to test and how to test it.

    • Test evaluation

      Planning, design, development, operation, monitoring

    • End of week 4

      In this part, we will give you a quick quiz to recap terminology and concepts from this week and then summarise the main ideas we have discussed about test development.

    • Goodbye, thank you, and good luck!

      An end-of-course message for everyone who has worked with us and made it all the way to the end.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

If you'd like to take part while our educators are leading the course, they'll be joining the discussions, in the comments, between these dates:

  • 18 Oct 2021 - 14 Nov 2021

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the basic principles involved in reliable and valid test design
  • Demonstrate an understanding of different types of tests and how they can be used
  • Evaluate assessment needs of students within a given context
  • Explain some practical techniques for assessing different language skills and knowledge

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at language teachers in secondary or high schools around the world, and anyone interested in understanding how language assessment works.

To get the most from this course, you will need to have English language proficiency at a minimum CEFR B1 level.

The course does not require any previous knowledge of assessment issues.

Who will you learn with?

I work with the Assessment Research Group at the British Council in London. I work on a variety of test development and research projects, including the Aptis test.

Now a member of the Assessment Research Group at the British Council, I was previously an Associate Professor in EFL, focusing on teaching & testing Business English, EAP & ESP, and a teacher trainer.

I have an MA and a PhD from Lancaster University, specializing in language testing. I also have practical experience working as a teacher, teacher trainer, examiner, item writer, and item reviewer.

I am a PhD student in the Second Language Studies program at Michigan State University. My research interests are in language assessment, second language acquisition, and nonverbal behavior.

I am an Assessment Solutions Consultant with the EAAST team at the British Council in China. My work experience is quite varied: a project manager, financial consultant, and an English teacher.

Hi! I currently work as an Assessment Solutions Consultant in Beijing for the British Council. I've been involved in the ESL industry for 18 yrs, working as a teacher, trainer, manager, and assessor.

Who developed the course?

British Council

The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.

We work on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2019-20 we connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million people overall, including online and through our broadcasts and publications.


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