FAQ for MA in Language Testing (Distance)
Course overview: Language Testing (by Distance) MA
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the aims of the course?
This MA meets the needs of language teaching professionals who have responsibilities for testing and evaluation at institutional, regional or national level, but who find it difficult to leave their place of work to undertake a full-time MA in Lancaster. The MA is fully web-based, with a short, compulsory, residential in Lancaster at the start of the programme so that participants can get to know each other, the staff and Lancaster University and, especially, so that they can become acquainted with the course and its means of communication.
What is the content of the course?
The programme consists of 5 modules (20 credits each) and a dissertation (80 credits).
The modules are:
- Language Test Construction and Evaluation (September – December Year 1)
- Exploring Language Constructs for Language Testing (January – March Year 1)
- Issues in Language Testing (April – June Year 1)
- Research Issues in Applied Linguistics (October – December Year 2)
- Statistical Analysis for Language Testing (January – March Year 2)
The dissertation will be written in the period between April and September Year 2 and will be 15,000 - 20,000 words long. Students will be supervised via computer-mediated communication. The fourth module (Research Issues in Applied Linguistics) will also provide guidance on choosing research questions, methodology etc
How is the course taught?
The taught modules consist of a number of units (generally 8 to 10) that simulate the lecture + seminar/workshop format that is found in face-to-face teaching in our department. The participants work on one module per academic term, over the course of five terms. The modules are designed for postgraduate, post-experience participants, and include content which is of relevance to their own professional sphere of operation. Input material introduces appropriate themes, approaches and theories and these are supplemented by tasks representing authentic challenges in language testing and seeking to develop particular aspects of the participants' competence.
Each unit of a module generally occupies one week, a typical timetable for a module is as follows:
|Unit||Unit Title||Example Start Date|
|Unit 1||Evaluating and Revising Test Items||28 September|
|Unit 2||Test Specifications||12 October|
|Unit 3||Item Analysis||19 October|
|Unit 4||Descriptive Statistics||26 October|
|Unit 5||Reliability||2 November|
|READING WEEK||9 November|
|Unit 6||Assessing Writing||16 November|
|Unit 7||Assessing Speaking||23 November|
|Unit 8||Assessing Reading||30 November|
|Unit 9||Assessing Listening||7 December|
Students need to be prepared to spend between 5 to 10 hours per week on course readings and tasks. Where possible, they should also plan to be available online during our regular ten week term times
Participants carry out tasks individually or in small groups, communicating with one another and their tutor by means of module-specific discussion sites. There is a balance between independent learning opportunities and group endeavours, as participants need to develop both self-sufficiency and the ability to learn from their peers.
These activities are complemented by guided dissertation work, where participants design and carry out their own project whilst benefiting from regular opportunities to receive input and feedback. They begin their dissertation work during the fourth module, which is dedicated to research issues and techniques, and they continue for six months after the completion of their fifth module. It is during this process that applicants can test their own aptitude and disposition for doctoral research, if this is of interest.
How is the course assessed?
Each module is assessed via one or more assignments (making up a total of 20 credits for each module), often tailored to complement participants' job demands. Three modules will be assessed by a 5,000 word assignment. The fourth module will be assessed by a 3,000 word assignment and a recorded presentation. The fifth module will be assessed by a 2,500 word assignment and three 500 word assignments.
The dissertation is 15,000 - 20,000 words in length (80 credits) and students are supervised via computer-mediated communication.
Who are the course tutors?
When does the course begin and how long does it last?
The programme starts in September of Year 1 and runs over 2 academic years, ending in September two years later.
Is there any residential requirement?
The programme will start with an on-campus compulsory Orientation Seminar. The purpose of the seminar is to acquaint all of the participants with the goals and content of the programme and, importantly, with the procedures for accessing the web-based materials.
In 2019, the seminar will be held in Lancaster from 25 to 27 September. Participants should plan to arrive in Lancaster on 24 September and will be free to leave on 27 September after 5.30pm.
There is no additional cost for the Orientation Seminar but participants will have to make their own arrangements for transportation to Lancaster and will need a modest allowance for accommodation and meals. We will post details and booking information in August, prior to the start of the course.
What are the fees?
For confirmation of the current tuition fees please see the individual programme pages in the course list.
The MA in Language Testing is a two-year part-time programme, please note that the fee for the second year will be slightly higher, since fees are increased on an annual basis.
When are fees payable?
Lancaster University will normally send an invoice for the first half of the programme once it has started, in October, and an invoice for the second half of the course at the beginning of the second year. However, if it is more convenient for funders, the University can send out invoices as soon as the student has confirmed that they are accepting the offer to study on the MA and have completed the registration process. Invoices are usually sent out by post but they can be faxed as well if this is preferred. You will need to provide the address to which the invoice should be sent, the fax number, and the reference number.
Can fees be paid in installments?
Yes, it is possible to pay in 2 equal installments each year.
What are the language requirements?
IELTS: Our official requirement for IELTS is a score of at least 6.5 overall with at least 6.5 in the reading and writing elements and 6.0 in the listening and speaking elements.
PTE Academic: Pearson Test of English Academic scores of at least 62 overall (with at least 62 in the reading and writing elements and 55 in the listening and speaking elements). Please see Pearson PTE Academic pages for more information.
If applicants have taken any of these exams in the last two years we can accept their test scores; otherwise we ask that they take the exam again. If, however, they have done their undergraduate studies in Britain, the US or another English-medium educational system and have successfully completed their degree within the past two years they may not need to submit a test score.
How do I apply?
The next course to run will be September 2019. Applications are accepted at any time while early applications are preferred. Applications received by July will definitely allow a September start.
If you are interested in applying please go to the postgraduate admissions portal and follow the instructions. If you have any queries please contact our Faculty PG Admissions team:
Postgraduate Admissions Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
- Telephone: +44 (0)1524 510880
- Fax: +44 (0)1524 510857
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details about how to apply please see our General Application Advice.