Designing and Rating Academic Writing Tests: Implications for Test Specifications

  • Amani MejriEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


Based on local teaching and assessment considerations, this study aimed at investigating academic writing teachers’ design practices as specification writers and writing test raters. On the other hand, test takers’ conceptions of writing assessment and score interpretation were addressed. The aim was to capture a comprehensive view of writing assessment in an EFL context. To this end, a rating scale questionnaire was administered to 10 academic writing teachers in different Tunisian universities. Another rating scale questionnaire was administered to 25 third year English students in an EFL context. This study essentially dealt with theoretical and operational writing construct definition throughout test development processes for test designers, and through sitting for the test for test takers. Students’ test scores were obtained to investigate social aspects of writing assessment in the Tunisian setting. The quantitative data for this paper were analysed using SPSS and indicated there is a gap between teachers and students’ views on the writing construct and what they endorsed and represented concretely. Both teachers and students’ questionnaires along with test scores indicated that there is a remarkable focus on writing as a linguistic competence, while other (social, pragmatic, and communicative) competences are overlooked in the assessment process. A subsequent discussion of the study findings and its theoretical, pedagogical and methodological implications for the local writing assessment context was maintained.


Writing assessment Test specifications Construct, theoretical and operational definition Validity Quantitative analysis 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Human and Social Sciences of TunisTunisTunisia

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