A Test of English for Specific Purposes: Need Analysis, Design, and Evaluation

Document Type : Original Article


1 Allame Tabatabai University

2 Azad Islamic University, Central Tehran Branch



The current study aimed at constructing a test of Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) as a substitution for the English proficiency test of Postgraduate TEFL Admission examination (PTA) of Islamic Azad University. To this end, the study was instigated with a thorough needs analysis, by means of questionnaires, interviews, and observations, to determine the requirements of the postgraduate TEFL course. Overall, 294 subjects participated in this study. Seventy four postgraduate TEFL students and twenty university professors participated in the needs analysis phase of the study. Subsequent to the analysis and interpretation of the obtained data, the Test of English for Specific Purposes (TESP) was constructed based on the requirements of the program. TESP was put into trial by 200 subjects in three different pilot studies, each of which led to modification of the form and the content of the test. The scores obtained on the final edition of TESP proved to be highly reliable and both a priori and a posteriori evidence were gathered regarding the validity of TESP in addition to the convergent and divergent validity evidence that were provided for the questionnaires of the needs analysis. Following this process of standardization, TESP was compared with the English proficiency test of PTA in predicting the Grade Point Average (GPA) scores of postgraduate TEFL students. Multiple regression models were drawn for the English proficiency test of PTA and TESP as the predictor variables and GPA as the predicted variable. The results indicated that TESP was a significant predictor of postgraduate TEFL students’ GPA scores, whereas PTA was excluded from the regression model.