What is the difference between accuracy and reliability? Why is the relative numeric so important? Most English teachers don’t have an in-depth knowledge of testing methodology – or terminology. I hope this post will show how the terms themselves can open up some of the key concepts in testing and assessment, in the context of the CEFR. Here is a list of ten testing words and phrases, each linked to a post for further reading.
|Words||Definition||Read more from:|
|Accuracy||An accurate test will be able to place a test taker at the correct CEFR level – a true reflection of their abilities.||telc Test developer, Laura Edwards|
|Adaptive||An adaptive test gets easier or harder depending on the test taker’s answers.||ClarityEnglish Technical Director, Dr Adrian Raper|
|Anchor items||These are questions taken from existing tests that have been proven to correspond to a specific CEFR level. The accuracy and reliability of new items is measured against them.||telc Test Developer, Mia Aghajari|
|Item analysis||This is a quantitative analysis of the test questions. A large data set of test takers’ results makes it possible to analyse the extent to which an item is accurate, reliable and valid in determining a CEFR level.||Item analysis process|
|Language elements||Alongside Reading and Listening, many placement tests include a section assessing Language Elements. This section focuses on vocabulary, sentence-level grammar and on the relationship between ideas in sentences.||Dynamic Placement Test, Test construct|
|Placement test||A placement test shouldn’t be confused with a proficiency test or a level test. Placement tests check the current language level of students entering a language program to place them in the most appropriate group.||telc Test developer, Sean McDonald|
|Relative numeric||This concept is unique to the Dynamic Placement Test. Because CEFR levels are so broad, the test output includes a Relative numeric (between 1-120), which acts as an indicator of where within a CEFR level a test taker sits.||Dynamic Placement Test, Scoring|
|Reliability||The consistency at which a test produces the same, accurate result for a candidate.||Dynamic Placement Test, Reliability|
|Standard setting||At a standard setting event, items in a test are scrutinised, assessed and improved by a panel of specialists. This is a qualitative analysis of the questions.||Clarity’s DPTSS|
|Validity||Validity in assessment refers to whether the test actually measures the knowledge or skills it claims to.||Dynamic Placement Test, Validity|
I hope this glossary makes you feel equipped to understand testing terminology. You can use this checklist to assess a test, and take a look at these posts for specific features that your institution may be looking for including: adaptivity, cultural fairness, remote or offline capabilities.