ERIC Number: ED362040
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Jun
The Power of Tests: The Impact of Language Tests on Teaching and Learning. NFLC Occasional Papers.
This paper is rooted in an expanded view of construct validity, whereby the role of testers does not end in the development phase of the language tests they employ. Rather, testers need to follow the uses of these tests and examine issues of utility, relevance, ethics, and interpretation. The studies reported here focused on three national language tests, and examined their impact on teaching and learning in the school context. The three tests were: a test of Arabic as a second language for seventh, eighth, and ninth grades; an English-as-a-Second-Language oral test; and first-language reading comprehension test for fourth- and fifth-grade students. Data were collected through class observation, questionnaires, interviews, and analyses of documents. The impact of all three tests was complex, occurring in a number of directions, and dependent on the nature and purpose of the test. All tests diverted attention to areas that had not been explicitly taught previously. In terms of the test effect, in all three cases, instruction became testlike. Other findings involved tests as de facto curriculum, conflict between teachers and bureaucrats with regard to the use of test results, and the use of tests for purposes different from those that were initially intended. (Contains 14 references.) (JP)
Descriptors: Arabic, Construct Validity, Elementary Secondary Education, English (Second Language), Language Tests, National Competency Tests, Oral Language, Reading Comprehension, Second Language Learning, Testing, Testing Problems, Uncommonly Taught Languages
National Foreign Language Center, 1619 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, DC 20036 ($5 prepaid).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Johns Hopkins Univ., Washington, DC. National Foreign Language Center.