Placement Testing: The How

How can placement testing be done?

Placement testing can be done in a number of different ways – there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and decisions about how to do placement testing should take the specific context of the language program into consideration.

Some institutions choose to locally design and administer placement tests, while others choose to administer an off-the-shelf placement test that is aligned with their program’s goals and needs. Placement testing may be done one-on-one with students, in a group setting, or online using a computer-based program, and some programs may choose to measure one skill or multiple skills for placement purposes. Placement tests may also be selected and administered in a systematic way at the programmatic or departmental level, or they may be used by individual instructors for their own courses.

When determining how to do placement testing for your language course or program, it is important to think about the size of your program, the time and resources available for placement testing in your program, and “the relationship between the test and the mission of the program, student characteristics, and course content” (Fairclough, 2012). More information on these factors can be found later in this section of the module.