a test designed to measure how much of a language learners have successfully learned with specific reference to a particular course, textbook, or programme of instruction, thus a type of CRITERION-REFERENCED TEST.
An achievement test is typically given at the end of a course, whereas when administered periodically throughout a course of instruction to measure language learning up to that point, it is alternatively called a PROGRESS TEST. Its results are often used to make advancement or graduation decisions regarding learners or judge the effectiveness of a programme, which may lead to curricular changes.
The difference between this and a more general type of test called a PROFICIENCY TEST is that the latter is not linked to any particular course of instruction and is thus a type of NORM-REFERENCED TEST. For example, an achievement test might be a listening comprehension test if all of its items are based on a particular set of dialogues in a textbook. In contrast, a proficiency test might use similar test items but would not be linked to any particular textbook or language SYLLABUS (Richard & Schmidt 2002, p. 7).