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Theoretical Approaches and Pedagogical Concerns

Tests in instruction and education have been said to be used with a view to assessing "the effectiveness, efficiency, and suitability of the materials in relation to the instructional objectives" (Romiszowski, 1986:401). As simple as this statement seems, it demands a lot of defining of terms and explaining of the very understandings and goals of instruction and education. One of the difficulties facing all players in the testing game

is that "language and language ability are abstract theoretical entities" (Oller, Jr. 1987:42).

Because of this abstractness and of the high complexity of language, linguistic theories have flourished and withered often to resurface in modified attire not only as our knowledge of linguistic processes has increased but as our philosophical, social, and political trends have dictated. To go back to the mid 1970s only, tests in education and instruction have emphasized from discrete item tests to integrative tests (such as the cloze), from the viewpoints of structural linguists through those of psycholinguists to those of sociolinguists and communicative buffs.

Today, we still wonder about who should design, develop, and administer tests: the teacher, the school, the school board, or the commercial publisher? What kinds of tests are most profitable not only to the political, social, and administrative structures but to the learners? What purposes do tests s


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