The ability to write is of great social importance and is one of the core skills – alongside reading and arithmetic – necessary for social participation. Nonetheless, not all students achieve an adequate level of writing proficiency. A precise assessment of their writing abilities is needed if such students are to be given the specific support they require. No method currently exists that is able to assess a person’s ability to produce texts in German in a way that is functionally appropriate. Only assessment frameworks for didactic orientation are available, which tend not to meet the quality criteria stipulated by testing theory. English-language methods are limited in the extent to which they can assess the relevant constructs and cannot be simply applied one-to-one to German.
The project’s objective is to develop a test method able to assess the writing skills of students aged 10 to 15 at all types of school. Taking current research into account, the aim is for the first time to assess not only individual aspects of writing proficiency, such as the ability to compose a coherent text, but also the processes that take place while writing. In terms of methodology, access to the construct of writing proficiency is to be gained in two different ways: via individual items involving short text production and reception exercises (some of them in a multiple choice format) and via longer texts (the test subject being required to compile an informative text). Testing will be standardized throughout Germany and will take into account various characteristics such as gender and migrant background. Experts in different fields (educational science, psychology, linguistics, language teaching and education research, and special needs education) are involved in developing the tests.
During the duration the project will be conceptualized, relevant tasks and exercises developed and tested, validation processes carried out and the tests standardized. The plan is for the manual to be completed and the method published in 2020.
At a glance
The project’s objective is to develop a test method able to assess the writing skills of students aged 10 to 15 at all types of school.
January 2015 - 2022
Prof. Dr. Jörg Jost, University of Cologne
Prof. Dr. Michael Becker-Mrotzek
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Markus Linnemann, University of Koblenz-Landau
Prof. Dr. Christian Rietz, University of Cologne
Prof. Dr. Alfred Schabmann, University of Cologne