|•||traditional fill-in-the-blank grammar tests;|
|•||nth word or rational-deletion cloze tasks;|
|•||multiple-choice and open-ended reading comprehension questions on a seen or unseen text;|
|•||listening comprehension checklists of various kinds;|
|•||structured and open writing tasks, usually in response to a prompt;|
|•||structured or improvised oral interviews.|
All of the above testing activities, as well as others, are regularly used in Spanish courses taught in most universities in the United States. The fact that these methods of assessment are used rather routinely, however, does not necessarily mean that they are reliable (i.e., that their use would produce the same results each time) or valid (i.e., measuring what they purport to measure). In fact, it may be a challenge to obtain an accurate measure of language ability in the classroom. Yet the construction of reliable and valid assessment measures can have crucial relevance in supporting learners in their efforts to develop Spanish language skills. Hence, it behooves language teachers to enhance their knowledge of what assessing Spanish language ability can entail and to update their knowledge of ways to assess this ability.
In this section we will briefly describe some selected theoretical aspects of language testing in classrooms, concentrating on the qualities of a test and the models of language competence that inform the field of language testing.
Just as assessment may benefit from the use of multiple measures of language proficiency like the ones described in the previous section, so the worth of any assessment