Close this search box.

What is Language Testing?

The assessment of communication proficiency is a rigorous process that requires conducting wide categories of language testing. For the certification of communication proficiency, many institutions have subjected their recruits to various language proficiency testing to discover the candidate’s ability.

Here at ALTA, our language test cuts across multiple language skills, including writing, reading, speaking, and interpreting. Book a free consultation with our language experts today to learn how we can help meet your testing needs.

In this article, we will carefully explain everything you need to know about language testing, including the language testing types, how to ace the speaking and writing language tests, etc.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

What Is Language Testing?

In 2010, Priscilla Allen from the University of Washington defined language testing as the practice and study of the candidate’s ability to use languages effectively. Language testing assesses a person’s ability to communicate in the spoken language effectively. They can also be multiple-choice questions.

Language testing, among other things, demonstrates the abilities of the job candidate to communicate effectively as required for a hiring process, government agencies, or in the proposed country. In a layman’s understanding, the test measures a candidate’s ability to use a target language in certain ways, for example, speaking and writing or in translation services.

Top 5 Types of Language Tests in Language Testing International

1.      Diagnostic Tests

The diagnostic test is conducted to determine a person’s communication proficiency level. It measures the language abilities of persons, whether as native speakers of the language or foreign language learners.

In a diagnostic test, questions beyond and below the person’s abilities are asked to verify the person’s language context. Diagnostic assessment can determine a person’s other skills, like strengths and weaknesses, to determine which area requires more tasks.

2.      Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests measure a person’s ability to acquire new language skills. The nature of aptitude assessment is general rather than focusing on a particular language. Employers or schools conduct this test to discover if a person can accommodate new language skills, especially when they want to enter a foreign domain and have to learn the language. Bilingual individuals are, however, exempted.

3.      Achievement Tests

The achievement test measures whether a person’s communication skill in the target language has progressed. Achievement tests only seek to ask questions that the person should have understood for the person’s level. Thus the questions in the test for a native French speaker would differ from those in the achievement test for a novice French speaker.

4.      Proficiency Tests

The proficiency tests measure the validity of communicating in a particular language. It focuses on a person’s language use in speaking or writing. The proficiency test needs to consider acquiring language learning skills as they focus more on the ability to apply the knowledge.

5.      Placement Tests

The placement test is before a course of study begins to group students or recruits into their various classes to facilitate more specified study groups.

Top 5 Purposes of Language Testing

1.      Placement Purpose

Language proficiency tests sometimes demonstrate students’ language skills and the classes they would handle better.

2.      Diagnostic Purpose

Language testing is also sometimes conducted to measure the person’s strengths or weaknesses in language communication. For instance, if Shola studies French, his tutor might conduct language tests to diagnose the topics he has problems understanding and give certain tasks to teach him.

3.      Progress Assessment

The language communication progress of a person is also accessed using language proficiency tests. It measures how far the person has progressed with the language syllabus they are using, and it assesses the student’s progress and not weaknesses.

4.      Proficiency Level

Language testing also verifies how well the test taker can apply the knowledge. When an organization or school seeks to recruit a person who claims to be proficient in a language, language testing can be for measuring how well the person understands how to apply his knowledge of the language.

What Are The Benefits Of Language Skills Testing?

  1. It Helps in Identifying and Monitoring Student’s Language Goals: Language testing helps to identify the area of language teaching for students through their overall grades from the language assessment.
  2. It Helps in the Identification of Knowledge Gaps: One of the major benefits of language proficiency tests is that it helps both the students and the tutors recognize the knowledge gap and thus make the necessary study plan to fill it.
  3. It Enables Students to Learn Better: After conducting the language assessments and identifying the gap, students tend to channel more energy into developing their language gap and thus do better in the subsequent language assessment.
  4. It Serves as a Feedback Mechanism for Tutors: Language testing helps tutors measure how much their students have learned and what they need to teach. It allows teachers to check their teaching style, especially when more than half of their students didn’t do well in the language test.
  5. It Helps Employers to Streamline their Choice of Employees or Recruits: Employers need certain proficiency levels discovered in the applicants through physical or remote testing for certain job criteria.

Top 5 Tips on How to Ace Your Language Test

1.      Be Informed About the Specifics of the Language Test

Ensure that you are aware of the language tests’ context. Languages are quite broad; thus, certain organizations or school releases information on the specific course for the conduct of the test. Ignorance of this information will prevent you from reading amiss and, thus, not ace your exam.

2.      Read as Many Language Books as Possible

Reading wide, especially reading comprehension, is the most important thing to ensure success in your test. Read everything and anything in the area of concentration of the language test and speak.

3.      Learn New Words and Language Applications Daily

Language is dynamic and ever-developing, so it is essential to unlearn, learn, and relearn the specifics of the language. Learn how the new words are applied, and you can also answer them when they are among the question in your language test. To be better, you might try writing new words and speaking them often.

4.      Get Acquainted with Practical Language Test Questions

Remember to practice past questions. Keep practicing as much as possible to help you develop your language skills.

5.      Train Your Ears by Listening to Songs, Stories, or News in the Language

Listening to podcasts, radio, television shows, and other audio and visual programs in the language for the tests will help you train your ears and communicate better for the created tests.


This article has carefully examined what language tests are and identified the various types to ensure that you are fully prepared for your next language proficiency test and perform excellently. If you have any questions or comments about this article, kindly put them in the comment box, and we will attend to them as soon as possible.

Here at ALTA, we are an industry-leading language testing company in 100+ languages. Have further questions? You can learn more about our language testing services HERE. We wish you success in your next language test!

Other Resources

The Importance Of Language Testing in Healthcare

Language tests play a vital role in reducing errors in the healthcare setting. When lives are on the line, accurate interpretation and translation are necessary. Language testing ensures that people in these roles have a high understanding of both language...

Learn More

What Is Remote Proctoring?

While the traditional setup for taking a test involves being in a classroom with the instructor, there are sometimes advantages to incorporating technology into testing. The potential benefits of remote proctoring include convenience in terms of scheduling, location, and instructor...

Learn More

Bilingual Pay Differential Benefits

In today’s globalized world, the ability to speak multiple languages has become increasingly valuable. Businesses and organizations of all kinds are expanding their operations internationally, often partnering with companies abroad or marketing products and services in overseas markets. Additionally, in...

Learn More

Contact Us

Get Started Today

Interested in our language services? Complete the form or call us during business hours (9 AM to 6:00 PM ET) at 800.895.8210.

Preparing for your test?

View our test prep materials or FAQ’s for common questions about taking a test.