Considerations in developing and using CAT to assess students' proficiency in English as a foreign language in Indonesia

Ignatius Harjanto, Davy Budiono


The English curriculum for Secondary Schools in Indonesia
requires the students to acquire ability in accomplishing tasks adequately,
to find solutions, and to realize them in real situations. Such objectives
can be achieved if, among others, teachers are qualified. This means that
the graduates of teacher training colleges (TTCs) must be competent in
the field having knowledge and skills. In case of English education, they
must be proficient in the four English skills. To ensure their English
proficiency, a test administered institutionally, which varies from one
college to another, is not enough. A national test on English proficiency
to the graduating students of TTCs is needed so that a national standard
of proficiency for teachers can be measured. However, administering a
national English proficiency test is expensive and cumbersome as well. A
solution to the problem is the application of computer adaptive tests
(CAT). This article argues that CAT enables the students to measure their
own level of English proficiency inexpensively. Ideas on the rationale,
application, and impacts of standardized proficiency test using CAT on
students with learning English difficulties in regular schools are shared.

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