The ultimate goal of examination reform is to encourage, to foster and to bring about change in the way language -English- is taught and learned in Hungary.
Testing is about ensuring that those tests and examinations which society decides it needs, for whatever purpose, are the best possible, that they represent the best in not only testing practice, but in teachingpractice, and that the tests reflect the aspirations of professional language teachers. Anything less is a betrayal of teachers and learners, as is a refusal to engage in testing.
In May 1998 the British Council funded project was officially launched with the aim of developing a multi-level standardised, valid and reliable school-leaving examination in English for the Hungarian School-leaving Examination Reform.
The Project produced the following documents before 2002, when they were handed over to the Ministry of Education. Ever since the Project has not been involved in the development of the school-leaving examination. The documents are available as research materials. Since 2002 the Project has been focussing on teacher training and practice materials.
• Detailed Requirements and Test Specifications
(For research purposes) Download file
• Guidelines for Item Writers
Reading and Use of English l Speaking l Writing l Listening
• Scales for the assessment of Speaking and Writing
Speaking l Writing
• Interlocutors' Frame
The Project regularly trained project members in modern testing principles and techniques including test construction, item writing, evaluation, basic statistics etc. Team members took part in several workshops a year run by internationally recognized experts in the field.
The Project developed a rigorous algorithm of Item Production (item comission, revision, item vetting, piloting, calibration) to ensure the quality of the tasks. The tasks were tested on large samples of secondary school students all over the country and the results were statistically analysed. Parallel to organising pilots the Project developed procedures for test development and test administration.
In order to run the pilots the Project trained raters of spoken and written performance, so it produced training materials for Interlocutors and Assessors (Speaking exam), Raters (Writing exam)and developed the Training Courses.
The Project also ran benchmarking and standardisation sessions in order to set the levels of the tasks. As a result of the developmental work, testing procedures were developed according to modern European standards, and a large number of piloted and calibrated tasks were produced. These tasks are now available to a wider public in the book series INTO EUROPE Prepare for Modern English Exams in order to help teachers and students understand the levels and demands of modern European examinations. So "Into Europe" is a series of four books devoted to the different skills containing tasks with keys, explanations of basic principles of testing and evaluation, guidance to modern test task design and insight into modern assessment practice.
The Project also published the three-volume study English Language Education in Hungary (1999-2001) that documents its work. A Baseline Study describes the state of affairs before the examination reform. Examining Hungarian Learners' Achievements in English is a record of the complete process of test production, from design to analysis and interpretation of results based upon large scale national pilots. The Project developed an in-service exam awareness training course for teachers of English to help them prepare their students for modern English examinations. Training Teachers for New Examinations is a detailed description of this course from the rationale to delivery.
Since 2002 the Project has been concentrating on producing the INTO EUROPE series and running the teacher training courses, so that more and more teachers and students can get access to the quality test tasks and professional know-how accumulated during the years by The Team.