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ERIC Number: EJ1042856
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
ISSN: ISSN-1578-7044
Limited Aspects of Reality: Frames of Reference in Language Assessment
Fulcher, Glenn; Svalberg, Agneta
International Journal of English Studies, v13 n2 p1-19 2013
Language testers operate within two frames of reference: norm-referenced (NRT) and criterion-referenced testing (CRT). The former underpins the world of large-scale standardized testing that prioritizes variability and comparison. The latter supports substantive score meaning in formative and domain specific assessment. Some claim that the criterion-referenced enterprise is dead, save its legacy in score reporting (Davidson, 2012, p. 198). We argue that announcing the demise of CRT is premature. But we do acknowledge that what now passes as CRT is in fact not criterion-referenced, but is based upon a corruption of the original meaning of "criterion" as domain-specific performance. This distortion took place when NRT co-opted the term "standard" to serve as a rationale for the measurement enterprise of establishing cut-scores to retrofit NR tests with meaning derived from external scales. The true heirs of the CRT movement are researchers who base test design in the careful analysis of construct and content in domain specific communication.
University of Murcia. Department of English Philology Merced Campus, Calle Santo Cristo 1, Murcia 30071 Spain. Tel: +34-868-88-3406; Fax: +34-868-88-3409; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A