Key Issues in Testing English for Specific Purposes

Alenka Tratnik


The article discusses some key issues surrounding testing of English for Specific Purposes (ESP), a wide-ranging field which has now been established as an integral part of English Language Testing, and perceived as an independent activity within the ESP process. The first chapter provides a short general overview of the nature of ESP testing field, bringing into focus that ESP testing has been concerned with measuring specific uses of English language among identified groups of test takers. Next, some defining characteristics and principles common to all ESP tests are explored. The factors of authenticity and washback effect in ESP testing are examined in greater detail. Next, the importance of quality assessment is stressed, and ways of achieving it are examined. The chapter on the English Vocational Matura outlines the format of this ESP public examination in Slovenia, examining the tasks of reading and writing in at greater length.

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