NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1105989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Aug
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0826-4805
Reconsideration of Language Assessment Is a MUST for Democratic Testing in the Educational System of Iran
Safari, Parvin
Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, v47 n3 p267-296 Aug 2016
Recently, there has been a change from traditional language testing approaches, with a focus on psychometric properties towards critical language testing (CLT) with its social practice nature. CLT assumes tests not as neutral devices but as instruments of power and control which are related to authorities' policy agendas to shape individuals' and groups' lives. Test consequences are not restricted to washback issues concerning teaching, learning, and instructional improvement. Rather, it goes far beyond educational context by illuminating issues such as values, ethics, biases, fairness, and test takers' rights. With respect to CLT principles, this study attempts to critically examine the current status of language testing in Iranian education system. Two prominent high-stakes tests of Sampad Entrance Exam (SEE) and Nation-wide University Entrance Exam (NUEE) were used to uncover power relations, interpretations as well as the hidden intentions and consequences of tests in the educational system of Iran. Thus, teachers, administrators, test-takers and parents were selected (15 males/17 females) based on purposive sampling to participate in the research and semi-structured interview was adopted to gather in-depth data. The oppressive nature of tests, the marginalization of powerless testing parties, the asymmetrical power relationships, and the broader detrimental consequences and impacts of tests were obtained through Strauss and Corbin's ("Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory," SAGE, Thousand Oaks, 1998) constant comparative method of data analysis. To counterbalance negative consequences of the high-stakes tests, they all agreed on multiple assessment sources of the construct and a dialogically-based assessment system to provide social justice and equal world while knowledge and power are shared by all testing parties. It was also suggested that the use of critical thinking and raising the stake holders' consciousness can be used as the strategies against the test abuses, power, and its consequences.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iran
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A