Shiken: JALT Testing & Evaluation SIG Newsletter
Vol. 12 No. 2. April 2008. (p. 44- 54) [ISSN 1881-5537]
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Assessment Literacy Self-Study Quiz #5
by Tim Newfields

This ongoing column mentions a few basic questions about testing, statistics, and assessment in a quiz format to help readers become more familiar with some of the jargon in the field and reflect on their understanding of testing practices. Suggested answers for these questions are online available at

Part I: Open Questions

  1. A person with a hearing disability is asked to take an EFL placement test. Half of the test consists of reading questions which that person can undertake. However, half of the test consists of listening exercises. The examinee is able to read lips to a degree and can also read closed-caption headlines, but has no ability to hear. What would be the most ethical way to rate this individual's English ability?

  2. A person who seems to have a stuttering disorder is taking a foreign language oral proficiency rating. Two of the evaluation criteria for that exam include "pronunciation" and "naturalness of response to questions and answers". Actually, you are unsure whether the examinee's stuttering is due to nervousness from this specific examination or a persistent speech disorder. According to the interview guidelines, only the target language can be spoken during the interview. How would you rate this candidate?

  3. In an attempt to promote community service, one EFL teacher awards credit towards his students' final grades if they indicate that they have recently donated blood to a local Red Cross. According to the syllabus for his course, his course is a basic "English communication" class designed to foster "overall proficiency" in the target language. Any content validity issues here?

  4. What information should test-takers receive before taking a test? Consider this example: one online company provides only the following details to potential examinees: (1) a claim that the test measures "correct pronunciation in [American] English", (2) the duration of the test, (3) the number of test questions and the general test format, (4) test fee information, and (5) an assurance of client confidentiality. To ethically market this EFL/ESL test, what additional information needs to be provided to end users?

    Source: ExpertRating. (n.d.) English Speaking Test. Retrieved March 11, 2008 from

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Part II: Multiple Choice Questions

  1. Increasingly, qualitative methods are being used to validate tests. One method is Conversation Analysis (CA). Which of the following is not a feature of traditional conversation analysis?

  2. If a person takes a multiple-choice reading test and selects an answer simply because the other choices don't seem correct, it is a _____________ strategy.

  3. Which of the following statements is/are true about probability values (often called p-values)

  4. Which of the following usually does not lead to score inflation?

  5. Which of the following statements is true about "power" in a statistical sense?


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