ERIC Number: ED412766
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
A Postmodern View of the Problem of Assessment.
A discussion of language testing addresses three questions: why good test construction seems to be increasingly difficult; what forces are shaping the practice of test construction; and what lies ahead in testing. It is proposed that practitioners are constantly redefining what "good" tests are, and those who develop tests are facing greater and more potentially conflicting demands, a common dilemma in the postmodern world. Test design is compared with architectural design in that design is shaped by purpose but must also meet criteria for optimality. In test design, purpose has become more ambitious and multifaceted; cognitive psychology and related disciplines have led to greater understanding of the nature of competence, and more sophisticated models of particular domains. In addition, validity models have become more comprehensive, and standards that testing is held to are becoming more rigorous. It is argued that test designers must learn more about differences in performance among test-takers and understand better the ways in which technology will affect testing. The importance of these factors in the testing of English-as-a-Second-Language competence is emphasized. (Contains 12 references.) (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revised and expanded version of a paper presented at the Language Research and Testing Colloquium (Orlando, FL, March 1997).