Expanding Traditional Testing Measures with Tasks from L2 Pragmatics Research

Document Type : Original Research Article


Indiana University, USA.


This article argues that testing in pragmatics has for too long relied on the same six measures of pragmatics assessment introduced by Hudson, Detmer, and Brown (1992, 1995). We demonstrate that there is a wealth of potential test formats in the L2 pragmatics acquisition literature that are as yet untapped resources for pragmatics testing. The article first reviews definitions of pragmatics that are useful in guiding the design and development of pragmatic measures and subsequent scoring. It then discusses the principles of language assessment as they have been applied to tests of pragmatics. Next it assesses and reports on current interest in pragmatics testing in language programs through informal interviews conducted with researcher-teachers on current practices in pragmatics testing. We then introduce tasks that are used in pragmatic research which are innovative in the context of assessment, and address the potential of each task to enhance task authenticity, their practicality for testing, and their potential for broadening our construct representation.