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ERIC Number: ED023077
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Language Testing; The Problem of Validation.
TESOL Quarterly, v2 n2 Jun 1968
Foreign language tests fall into two classes, according to their purposes. The first class, tests used for the control of instruction, may be achievement or diagnostic tests. The second class of tests, used in the control of a person's career, may be concerned with what the subject can do, or what he should be able to do in the future. The temporal distinction is less important than the major functional one; exactly the same test can serve as a diagnostic test before some material i s taught, and as an achievement test after. Similarly, proficiency tests are generally used as predictors of future performance. The author suggests using a functional definition of levels which would test ability to operate easily and effectively in specified sociolinguistic situations (rather than attempting to characterize levels of knowing a language in terms of grammatical and lexical mastery). As in all testing, the central problem of foreign language testing is validity. With tests of the first class, this problem is not serious, for the textbook or syllabus writer has already specified what should be tested. With tests of the second class, it remains a serious difficulty, for no way has yet been found to characterize knowledge of a language with sufficient precision to guarantee the validity of the items included or the type of tests used. (AMM)
TESOL, Institute o f Languages and Linguistics, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 20007 ($1.50).
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Note: Paper presented at the TESOL Convention, San Antonio, Texas, March 1968.