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ERIC Number: EJ884928
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0265-5322
Test Fairness: A Response
Davies, Alan
Language Testing, v27 n2 p171-176 2010
This article presents the author's response to Xiaoming Xi's paper titled "How do we go about investigating test fairness?" In the paper, Xi offers "a means to fully integrate fairness investigations and practice". Given the current importance accorded to fairness in the language testing community, Xi makes a case for viewing fairness as an aspect of validity and then proceeds to examine the fairness-validity relation, surveying three approaches; the first, fairness as an independent test quality which sees fairness and validity as separate; the second, fairness as an all-encompassing test quality which argues that a test cannot be fair if it is not valid; the third sees fairness as directly linked to validity in a principled way. Xi rejects all three approaches and puts forward the view that fairness should be conceptualized as "comparable validity for identifiable and "relevant" groups". From this it follows that rather than validity being necessary to fairness, it is the other way round, that "a test has to be fair to be valid". Xi convinces the author with the strength of her validity argument. What the author finds puzzling is whether this has anything to do with fairness. For this reason the author explains why he thinks the pursuit of fairness in language testing is vain: first because it is unattainable and second because it is unnecessary. The author sets out his own position on fairness in an attempt to explain why he considers it to be an irrelevancy.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A