Language Testing Reconsidered
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Abbreviations and Acronyms
About the Editors
Janna Fox is an Associate Professor and Director of the Language Assessment and Testing Research Unit within the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Carleton University. She teaches courses in assessment, curriculum, and research methods. Her research interests are language test development and validation, and the interplay between...
Language Testing Reconsidered 1 is a collection of selected papers by several respected colleagues in the field of language testing, who engaged in animated conversation, dialogue, and debate at the Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) 2005, in Ottawa. Part of that conversation is captured here. As the title of this volume suggests, each of the contributors has reconsidered...
SECTION I: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO KNOW A LANGUAGE?
The International Language Testing Association (ILTA)
Proceeds from the sale of this collection will support the work of ILTA. The International Language Testing Association (ILTA) is an independent association that was founded in the 1990s by assessment professionals who shared a general concern for fair assessment practices. Today, this concern resonates strongly among its members. A fundamental goal of ILTA has been to develop a Code of Ethics to inform ethical...
The UCLES/ILTA Lifetime Achievement Award
The International Language Testing Association, with sponsorship from the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations periodically awards the UCLES/ILTA Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is presented to distinguished contributors to the field of language testing who have demonstrated "extensive and inspirational service to the language testing community, and an outstanding record of scholarship."...
1. On Second Thoughts
An elderly student of language testing recalls some of the events in his career, attempting to relate them to current issues, and touching on such topics as overall language proficiency, the cloze and the noise test, the social responsibility of language testers, the development of industrial language testing, the danger of scales, and the value of knowing the history of one's field....
SECTION II: WHAT ARE WE MEASURING?
2. The Challenge of (Diagnostic) Testing: Do We Know What We Are Measuring?
The language testing literature is confused about the nature of diagnostic tests. Diagnosis is a frequently used but under-problematized concept and a debate is needed that might lead to a research agenda. This chapter aims to begin that debate by sketching out a possible set of dimensions of such a...
3. What Is the Construct? The Dialectic of Abilities and Contexts in Defining Constructs in Language Assessment
Understanding the roles of abilities and contexts, and the interactions between these as they affect performance on language assessment tasks, has remained a persistent problem in language assessment. Approaches to this problem over the past half century have led to three general ways of defining the construct, or what we want to assess: 1) ability-focused, 2) task-focused...
4. Assessing Academic English Language Proficiency: 40 years of U.K. Language Tests
The paper offers an explanatory account of the progress of academic language proficiency testing in the U.K. (and later Australia) from the British Council's English Proficiency Test Battery (EPTB) through the revolutionary English Language Testing Service (ELTS) to the present compromise of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The three...
SECTION III: LANGUAGE TESTING RESEARCH: POINTS OF DEPARTURE
5. The Coming of Age for Research on Test-Taking Strategies
In this selective look at research on test-taking strategies over the last twenty-five years, brief mention is made of the beginnings of test-taker strategy research and then important developments in its evolution to the present are discussed, focusing on conceptual frameworks for classifying strategies, Ll-and L2-related strategies, proficiency level and test-taking strategies...
6. Qualitative Research Methods in Language Test Development and Validation
One of the most important methodological developments over the last fifteen years has been the introduction of qualitative research methodologies to support the design, description, and validation of language tests. Many language testers have come to recognize the limitations of traditional statistical methods for language assessment research, and have come to value these...
7. Language Testing: A Question of Context
Arguably the greatest challenge facing language testing is the issue of the context in which language testing is carried out, both at the micro and the macro level. In standard works on language testing, context has been theorized in terms of the demands it makes on individual cognitive attributes, but this has distorted the picture of the social context available to us. The social...
SECTION IV: ANTECEDENTS AND PROSPECTS
8. Tests as Power Tools: Looking Back, Looking Forward
In this chapter I discuss current uses of language tests in education and society, arguing that tests have become primary tools used by policy makers to resolve and reform educational, political, and social problems. Specifically, I address two areas where this is happening: (1) in the realm of education,through the introduction of the No Child Left Behind tests in the USA...
The Goals of ILTA
1. Stimulate professional growth through workshops and conferences. 2. Promote the publication and dissemination of information related to the field of language testing. 3. Develop and provide for leadership in the field of language testing. 4. Provide professional services to its members...
Language Testing Research Colloquia 1979–2007
Notes on Contributors