International Journal of Language Testing

International Journal of Language Testing

International Journal of Language Testing, Volume 10, Issue 2, Summer and Autumn 2020



Construction and Validation of Educational, Social and Psychological Consequences Questionnaires of EPT as a High-Stakes Test

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Individuals are controlled by tests in every advanced society when they want to be admitted in educational courses, to proceed from one stage to the next, or to be given a certificate (Shohamy, 2001b). Accordingly, the present study was carried out to construct and validate educational, social, and psychological consequences questionnaires of English Language Proficiency (EPT) as a high-stakes test in Iran. To achieve the goals, after initial piloting of the item pool, a total number of 252 non-English PhD students completed the final researcher-made questionnaires developed using a comprehensive review of the related literature, experts’ opinions, documents, and interviews. A number of statistical procedures were taken to validate the current questionnaires including Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). EFA was utilized to determine the underlying factors of the scale that affect the variables in a data structure without setting any predefined structure to the outcome and to verify the number of factors; subsequently, these results were confirmed in the CFA phase. Ultimately, the results were discussed and implications of the questionnaires were presented as follows.

Raising the Stakes of High School Exit Exams: Students’ Perspectives of their English Learning Motivation in a High-Stakes Test Change Context

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Research on high-stakes tests indicates that increasing the stakes of large-scale English language tests will have consequential influence on teaching and learning performance and practices. However, evidence for influence on student ‘motivation for learning English (MLE)’ within such a context is still scarce. Taken this, the present study investigated the motivational level of high school students learning English as a foreign language (EFL) in the context of university entrance requirement tests change in Iran (introducing high school national English achievement tests-NEATs- as new requirements for entrance into nation-state universities). For such a purpose, the MLE scale, taken from Gardner’s (2004) Attitude/Motivation Test Battery, was translated into Persian, administered among 451 randomly selected students supposed to take the NEATs for their admission to universities, and subjected to confirmatory factor analyses. The results obtained through within-group ANOVA comparisons of the construct-validated subscales revealed that under increased stakes of the NEATs the participants maintained moderately high level of motivation for the two components of ‘desire to learn English’ and ‘attitudes towards learning’; however, the level for the component of ‘motivational intensity’ was neutral/moderate. Similar result (i.e., moderate level) was found in the participants’ perspective of their overall MLE. The findings, overall, indicate that the NEATs-admission programme has not demotivated the learners yet they are not as highly motivated as intended by the change planners. Such a divergence between the ideal policies (i.e., high level of MLE) and what was observed in practice (i.e., neutral/moderate MLE level) has implications for test change contexts and their driving policies.

Investigating Fairness of Reading Comprehension Section of INUEE: Learner’s Attitudes towards DIF Sources

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The purpose of the present study was two-fold: (a) First, it examined fairness of Special English Test (SET) of Iranian National University Entrance Exam (INUEE) by analyzing Differential Item Functioning (DIF) with reading comprehension section of this test (b) second, it explored test takers’ attitudes towards possible sources of unfairness and DIF. In the quantitative part of the study the data from 10000 test takers (6820 females and 3180 males) were analyzed for gender DIF using Mantel-Haenszel (MH) technique. It was revealed that only 6 items in the reading comprehension skill showed DIF. Further analysis manifested that the effect size of DIF for all six items were category A or negligible. Moreover, qualitative interview results indicated that learners generally considered the test a fair one while some potential sources of bias such as topic familiarity, multiple-choice format of the test, topic interest, passage length, and complex structure of test items were mentioned.

Translation Quality Assessment Rubric: A Rasch Model-based Validation

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The present study aimed to examine and validate a rubric for translation quality assessment using Rasch analysis. To this end, the researchers interviewed 20 expert translation instructors to identify the factors they consider important for assessing the quality of students’ translation. Based on the specific commonalities found throughout the interviews, a 23-item assessment rubric was constructed on a four-point Likert scale. More specifically, this study used the Rasch rating scale model for polytomous data to investigate the psychometric properties of the rating scale in terms of dimensionality, reliability, use of response category, and sample appropriateness. Then, a translation exam was administered to 60 translation students at the BA level in Iranian universities. Following this, the rubric was employed to assess the quality of students’ translation. The results revealed that the Rasch model fits the data well. Thus, the findings of the study indicated that the rubric is potentially valid and useful, and can be used as a measure of translation quality assessment in the Iranian context.

Demystifying Language Assessment Literacy among High School Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in Iran: Implications for Teacher Education Reforms

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The promotion of language assessment literacy (LAL) among teachers and assessment developers has been deadly called and emphasized by professionals and scholars in the field of language assessment. In line with this urgent call for research, the present study sets out to investigate the EFL teachers’ literacy assessment with the aim of bringing modifications for teacher education reforms. To meet the objectives of the study, a total of 200 EFL teachers (N=88, with a TEFL background and N=112, with a non-TEFL background) with B.A. (N=125) and M.A. (N= 75) degrees were selected through stratified random sampling at high schools of West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. The required data were gathered using Plake, Impara, and Fager’s (1993) Teacher Assessment Literacy Scale (TALS). Hence, the participants’ knowledge concerning components of assessment literacy (AL) was sought for. A multivariate analysis of variances (MANOVA) was run and the results, in general, revealed that the participants were not significantly familiar with assessment literacy principles and procedures. Specifically, the results indicated that EFL teachers with a TEFL background and those with a non-TEFL background differed in terms of their assessment literacy competence, especially in terms of their perceptions of AL components. The implications of the findings for teacher education programs, teacher educators and EFL teachers are discussed and some suggestions for further research are offered.

Examination of Iraqi EFL Teachers’ Attitudes, Intentions, and Practices Regarding Formative Assessment

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This study aims to explore the attitudes and practices of Iraqi EFL teachers regarding formative assessment (FA). A total of 102 teachers from primary school to university filled in the Arabic version of Teachers' Conceptions and Practices of Formative Assessment Questionnaire. The questionnaire was translated from English into Arabic first and was validated using confirmatory factor analysis (Hazim Jawad, 2020). Findings showed that a 7-factor model had acceptable fit indices (GFI=0.90, CFI=0.91, RMSEA=0.05). Descriptive statistics were used to explain Iraqi EFL teachers’ attitudes and intentions regarding FA. Findings showed that the majority of Iraqi teachers believe that formative assessment is a useful procedure for measuring students’ learning and is helpful in their education. They also indicated that they have a positive attitude towards FA and are willing to use it. Correlational analysis showed that Affective Attitude, Instrumental Attitude, Subjective Norm, Controllability, and Self-Efficacy were strong predictors of intentions to use formative assessment. However, only Instrumental Attitude had a small significant correlation with the Behavior Scale. In other words, those teachers who believe that FA is useful in improving students learning tend to actually employ FA in their teaching. Findings also showed that female teachers have more positive attitudes towards FA and tend to use it more in their teaching. Implications of the findings for improving English language teaching are discussed.