Using summative assessments for formative purposes: Design of new score report for the Public English Test System (PETS) in China

Using summative assessments for formative purposes: Design of new score report for the Public English Test System (PETS) in China

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Using summative assessments for formative purposes: Design of new score report for the Public English Test System (PETS) in China

This paper reports on assessment theory and practice in designing new score report for the Public English Test System (PETS) in China. Originally established as a summative assessment framework, PETS reports only aggregated scores to test takers and provides no performance feedback to support their learning. Recently, the idea that summative assessments of language ability can be adapted to be used formatively to enhance language learning has been advanced and recognized in the field of language assessment and also in the PETS management group. One of the PETS implementations around this idea is to improve its score reporting to include more candidate performance information. This paper reports major considerations in the designing process as well as the final structure and format of the new score report, which provides comprehensive information on test takers’, performance (skill achievements and sub-skill achievements) and describes their overall language ability levels. Test takers can view reports online, and those who have taken the tests more than once (on the same level or different levels) can view their degrees of progress from the reports. Several drawbacks in the design will also be discussed in this paper.

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