Session 2C
Title: Test writing: a team approach

One strength of an academic program is its valid and reliable assessment instruments. This session will describe the test writing project undertaken at the IDP school in Cambodia, which was implemented as a result of the decision to increase the exit IELTS requirement of the General English Program. Six teachers self-selected into a test writing team and spent six months learning how to write valid and reliable tests and creating tests for a bank of four Listening, Reading, Writing and later Grammar tests for each level of the Program. From beginners to upper-intermediate 192 discrete tests were written.

The approach was collegiate, with weekly team meetings. Initially test writing methodology for each skill was learned and later put into practice with each team member bringing items written as well as problems encountered to be discussed by the team. The tests were then extensively trialled and modified where necessary to ensure reliability.


Louise FitzGerald has worked in the ELT industry for more than 30 years. She has taught, trained teachers and managed programs in Australia, Egypt, PRChina and most recently in Cambodia for ten years with IDP, where she had overall responsibility for approximately 150 local and expatriate staff. Her present focus is on commercial test writing and she has written for high-stakes testing organisations. In Cambodia she trained and led a small team of test writers to completely re-write all the progress tests for the school, an undertaking which took six months.