Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

A Validation Study of the National Assessment Instruments for Young English Language Learners in Norway and Slovenia

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

A Validation Study of the National Assessment Instruments for Young English Language Learners in Norway and Slovenia

Article excerpt

This article is a validation study of two national large-scale tests that measure the language proficiency of 11/12 year-old English learners in Norway and Slovenia. Following the example of Alderson and Banerjee (2008), the authors of the article have employed the EALTA guidelines for good practice to validate the tests, and to formulate major recommendations for improvement of both assessment instruments, where feasible (Alderson & Banerjee, 2008). The results of the validation study show that both national tests in English seem to fulfil most of the EALTA guidelines for good practice, although a few issues related to the test construct and test design procedures need to be re-assessed, and some changes may be required.

Keywords: national test, validation, English, EALTA guidelines for good practice

Studija ugotavljanja veljavnosti dveh nacionalnih preizkusov znanja iz anglescine kot tujega jezika pri mlajsih ucencih na Norveskem in v Sloveniji

Prispevek predstavlja studijo ugotavljanja veljavnosti dveh nacionalnih preizkusov znanja iz anglescine kot tujega jezika pri ucencih, starih 11/12 let, na Norveskem in v Sloveniji. Po vzoru Alderson in Banerjee (2008) sta avtorici prispevka uporabili EALTA-smernice za dobro prakso za preverjanje veljavnosti preizkusov ter oblikovanje kljucnih in izvedljivih predlogov za izboljsanje obeh sistemov vrednotenja (Alderson in Banerjee, 2008). Izsledki raziskave kazejo, da oba sistema vrednotenja dosegata zahteve EALTA-smernic za dobro prakso, kljub temu pa bi bilo treba nekaj elementov, povezanih z izvedbo in s postopkom preverjanja znanja, ponovno oceniti, saj bi bile mogoce potrebne dolocene spremembe.

Kljucne besede: nacionalno preverjanje znanja, veljavnost, anglescina, EALTA-smernice za dobro prakso

In 2000, Rea-Dickins highlighted the extent to which the teaching of foreign languages was no longer restricted to secondary education (Rea-Dickins, 2000). Twelve years later, a number of countries throughout the world had moved initial foreign language teaching from secondary to primary school or even to the pre-school level (Commission, 2008; Graddol, 2006). Due to this intense activity associated with the teaching of foreign languages at an ever earlier age, the previous two decades have seen an increased focus on the research and development agenda for assessment at this level (Low, Brown, Johnstone, & Pirrie,1995; Mckay, Hudson, & Sapuppo, 1994; Edelenbos & Johnstone,1996; Breen et al.,1997; Leung & Teasdale, 1997; McKay, 2000, 2006; Brumen, Cagran, & Rixon, 2009). While many studies have examined the issues and implications arising from formative assessment of the young foreign language learner, only a few have been concerned with the issues related to the assessment of young foreign language learners using large-scale tests (McKay, 2006; Eurydice, 2009).

The objective of this paper is to validate two national foreign language tests for young learners (11/12 year olds) in two European countries by using the EALTA guidelines for good practice. This validation study demonstrates to what extent the tests fulfil their intended use and what benefits they may bring to the stakeholders involved in the foreign language learning and teaching process, as well as which limitations have to be considered carefully and openly.

Background Information on Educational and Assessment Contexts in Norway and Slovenia

Children in both countries start school when they are six. Compulsory education is for ten years in Norway and nine in Slovenia. In Norway, students change schools between primary and lower-secondary levels, while in Slovenia the schools are single-structured. In both countries, English is one of the core subjects, taught from Year 1 in Norway and from Year 4 in Slovenia.

National tests in English are administered for Year 5 and 8 students in Norway, and for Year 6 and 9 students in Slovenia. The objects of this study are the tests for Year 5 students in Norway and for Year 6 in Slovenia. …

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