CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF PUBLISHED LANGUAGE TESTS, CONSIDERING AREAS OF RELIABILITY, VALIDITY AND WASHBACK, AND ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF LEARNERS, DESIGNING
This paper investigates International English Language tests which hold great importance in students’ lives as the results matter a lot in their major decisions toward taking admission in different institutions, qualifying for jobs and career promotions. Study explores that three major international tests are normally taken for English language around the world which are TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), and IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The study further investigates as to whether these tests are reliable, valid and washback productive or otherwise, still English tests are evaluated on the basis of these characteristics. During the process of research, reading sections from IELTS tests conducted in Pakistan have been analyzed; primary data was collected through questionnaires and interviews. Study suggests that the testing procedures should be valid and reliable; failing which the meaningfulness of the test is threatened. The results indicate that reliability, validity and washback shall be considered positively while designing materials for an English language evaluation as English is a universal language (lingua franca) and is used all over the world. Study further suggests that the English language proficiency tests’ scores determine the future of students in Pakistan and a reliable, valid test having a positive washback would help them score well and increase their ability of general language. A need analysis was also taken into account for the language learners for the better comprehension of their language proficiency tests.