DIALANG is a new European project which is developing diagnostic language assessment
tools in 14 European languages. The 14 languages of the DIALANG project include all the
official EU languages as well as Irish, Icelandic and Norwegian. The assessment materials
will cover all levels from beginners to advanced; there will be separate assessments for
reading, writing, listening and speaking as well as for structures and vocabulary. The
project will complement traditional approaches to language assessment by exploring the use
of new technologies for assessing the use of language.
The purpose of DIALANG and its target group
The purpose of the DIALANG assessment system is to provide language users and learners
with diagnostic information about their language proficiency which will help them to
become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and to find ways of improving their
proficiency. The assessment system will also help learners locate themselves in relation
to the Council of Europe Common Framework levels, for a variety of uses specified in the
Framework and associated documents. Feedback from the system will also provide learners
with information that can be used as a guide when setting new learning goals and planning
their future language learning.
The target group are young people and adults, of any age, who want to have their foreign
language skills diagnosed and evaluated, independent of any formal education system, in
principle at any level of language proficiency, in any one of the languages concerned. The
project will focus on the initial and intermediate levels, but also cover the more
How does the DIALANG System work?
At present, the DIALANG assessment is envisioned to proceed as follows:
A Entrance to the assessment system
1. The client enters the system and chooses the language of administration.
2. The client logs in/types in ID and/or authorisation number.
3. The system asks: "Is this the first time you are taking DIALANG?"
- YES: the system assigns a user code and displays it for the client to be used as
reference for later stage; An overview of the assessment process.
- NO: "When did you last take the test?"; Option to see overview of the
4. Client chooses the language to be assessed.
5. Instructions on how to complete the vocabulary size placement test.
6. Client takes the vocabulary size placement test.
7. The system stores the test score for later use.
8. Client chooses the assessment section: reading, listening, speaking,
structures/grammar, or vocabulary.
B Entrance to the assessment section
1. The client enters the section.
2. Instructions on how to complete the self-assessment probes (in the language of
3. Self-assessment probes
4. Estimation of the client's level of proficiency based on placement test results and
5. Tasks related to the section: reading, writing, listening, speaking,
structures/grammar, or vocabulary
6. Feedback on section.
7. Client selects another DIALANG section or exits.
In his presentation José Noijons will show the pilot tool of the system through which
learner's data are gathered. This pilot tool encompasses many characteristics of the
system as it will eventually be available on the internet. Also, a number of experimental
item formats will be shown. These item formats will have to be developed further to make
them suitable for adaptive testing on the internet.
About the speaker/Sur le conférencier
José Noijons is a staffmember at CITO, the
Dutch National Institute for Educational Measurement. One of his responsibilities is the
development of computerbased language tests. His interest is in adaptive testing: tests
that adapt to the estimated level of the student.