Degrees of adequacy: the disclosure of levels of validity in language assessment
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Keywords

theory of applied linguistics
validity theory
validation
language assessment
academic literacy

Abstract

The conceptualization of validity remains contested in educational assessment in general, and in language assessment in particular. Validation and validity are the subjective and objective sides of the process of building a systematic argument for the adequacy of tests. Currently, validation is conceptualized as being dependent on the validity of the interpretation of the results of the instrument. Yet when a test yields a score, that is a first indication of its adequacy or validity. As the history of validity theory shows, adequacy is further disclosed with reference to the theoretical defensibility (“construct validity”) of a language test. That analogical analytical disclosure of validity is taken further in the lingually analogical question of whether the test scores are interpretable, and meaningful. This paper will illustrate these various degrees of adequacy with reference mainly to empirical analyses of a number of tests of academic literacy, from pre-school level tests of emergent literacy, to measurements of postgraduate students’ ability to cope with the language demands of their study. Further disclosures of language test design will be dealt with more comprehensively in a follow-up paper. Both papers present an analysis of how such disclosures relate to a theoretical framework for responsible test design.

 

Grade van toereikendheid: die ontsluiting van vlakke van geldigheid in taaltoetsing

Opsomming

Om geldigheid te konsepsualiseer bly 'n betwiste saak in opvoedkundige meting in die algemeen, en in taalassessering in die besonder. Geldigmaking en geldigheid kan respektiewelik opgevat word as die subjektiewe en objektiewe kante van die sistematiese argument wat gevoer kan word vir die toereikendheid van toetse. Tans word geldigmaking gekonseptualiseer as afhanklik van die interpretasie van die resultate van die instrument. Tog is dit so dat wanneer 'n toets 'n punt oplewer, dit 'n eerste aanduiding is van sy geldigheid. Soos die geskiedenis van geldigheidsteorie ook aantoon, word daardie toereikendheid verder ontsluit met verwysing na die teoretiese regverdiging (konstrukgeldigheid) van 'n taaltoets. Daardie logies-analitiese ontsluiting van geldigheid word verder geneem in die analogies linguale vraag: Is die toetsresultate interpreteerbaar en betekenisvol? Hierdie artikel illustreer hierdie verskillende grade van geldigheid met verwysing na empiriese analises van toetse van akademiese geletterdheid, vanaf voorskoolse toetse van ontluikende geletterdheid tot by metings van nagraadse studente se vermoë om die eise van akademiese diskoers te hanteer. Verdere ontsluitings van taaltoetsontwerp word vollediger hanteer in 'n opvolgartikel. Beide artikels bied 'n analise van hoe sulke ontsluitings verband hou met 'n teoretiese raamwerk vir verantwoordelike toetsontwerp.

 

https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.84.1.2451

https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.84.1.2451
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