The main purpose of the COMPASS ESL Placement Test (published by ACT, ) is to assess the standard American English language skills of ESL students and place them into appropriate ESL courses at post-secondary educational institutions in the USA. The four major components of this computer-adaptive test— ESL Listening, ESL Reading, ESL Grammar/Usage, and ESL Essay (ESL e-Write)—can be administered either separately or in any combination.
This review of existing commercial products as well as tools used for the development of customized computer-based language tests reveals a variety of available language assessment options. While these assessment options demonstrate a strong potential of technology, they also expose challenges in computer-assisted language testing, including the difficulty of providing automated feedback on speaking tests and conducting fully automated evaluation of essays. Many of these challenges are the focal point of present research in CALT. Current efforts also revolve around conducting construct validation research, creating new types of tasks, integrating multimedia in increasingly more authentic language tasks, and advancing integrated skills assessment.
Computer-Assisted Language Assessment - Springer
Another line of research in CALT focuses on reporting the development of CATs or other CBTs. Despite the large number of existing commercial assessments, individual researchers and institutions pursue the development of “homemade” language tests to match their specific needs. Papadima-Sophocleous (), for instance, reports on the development of a computer-based online test, NEPTON, that attempts to combine the advantages of CBTs and CATs. The items for this test were selected on the basis of both content and statistical properties (e.g., item difficulty), and target different language competence levels, language skills, and activity types. Unlike a typical computer-adaptive language test, NEPTON allows test takers to browse the questions, change the responses, and complete the questions in any order.