The 9th Annual EALTA Conference,
2 June 2012, Innsbruck, Austria
” Interface” Validity. Investigating the potential role of face validity in content validation
Gábor Szabó, Robert Märcz
Establishing content validity has long been a standard requirement in the production of high-stakes language tests. Indeed, conventional procedures to do so have routinely been applied by ECL Examinations, too, to guarantee the quality of the tests. Recently, however, a novel procedure of validation has also been piloted, which attempts to combine the examination of test content and the face validity of the exams. Traditionally, test content has been examined and judged by experts, while face validity has been studied with the help of candidate feedback on test format, difficulty, etc. According to the new approach, candidates are also asked to give their opinion of test content, with special regard to how well test content represents CEFR levels. Obviously, candidates do not take part in familiarization, however, so gathering information from them must happen in a way that requires no professional knowledge on the candidates’ part, but which is still capable of eliciting meaningful and reliable information. The presentation intends to demonstrate how this task has been accomplished and what difficulties needed to be overcome. Also, the first actual results of the project will be presented, along with an analysis of the responses with special regard to any potential relationship between candidate’s perceptions of test content and their actual test results. In the framework of attribution theory, it will also be demonstrated how the involvement of candidates may contribute to an increase in language learning motivation, and thus to consequential validity.