Conceptions of validity
Writer: Carol A. Chappelle
Saeed Mojarradi PhD Candidate Monday, May 21, 2018
For many test users, validity is seen as an essential quality of a language test because to them “a valid test” means “a good test.”
Accordingly, test users frequently explain their search for a new test or their choice of a test by citing their desire for a test that “has been validated.” In using the passive voice, “has been validated,” users reveal their assumption that validity is a quality of a test that is bestowed by testing experts to make a test measure what it is supposed to.
Such an exploration needs to examine how test users can know what a test score means and what it can be used for.
For example, if a student achieves a score of 75, B2, or NOVICE HIGH, how can test users know what the score means and how it can be used?
The focus is the test score, or the results of the test, because this is what is used to make an interpretation about test takers’ ability and typically a decision.