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.
|Read more from:
|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
|An adaptive test gets easier or harder depending on the test taker’s answers.
|ClarityEnglish Technical Director, Dr Adrian Raper
|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
|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
|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
|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
|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
|The consistency at which a test produces the same, accurate result for a candidate.
|Dynamic Placement Test, Reliability
|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.
|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.