This paper describes the design and implementation of a computer-based listening test — the ‘Text Dictation’. The paper first discusses the importance of listening centring on a coherent text, rather than short listening fragments, and discusses the drawbacks of listening programs where the required responses consist of non-interactive test types such as appropriate-choice selection, true/false, gap-fill, etc. The paper then describes the construction, trialling and evaluation of the Text Dictation. In this computer dictation, students hear a recorded text three times. The first time, they simply listen; the second time, they have to type their answers into a text window; the third time, they can click on any of their answers to call the text window back up and to make amendments to what they had previously typed in. Student answers are evaluated on the basis of a parse of the input. Results from trialling the program with different groups of students indicate that the Text Dictation procedure discriminates well between students of differing ability, with significant correlations obtained between students who took the computer dictation test and students who completed a traditional pen-and-paper dictation. Copyright © 1998 Swets & Zeitlinger.