Jessica Wu holds a PhD in Language Testing. She is currently Program Director of the R&D Office at the Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC). She also teaches language testing courses in the PhD program of the National Taiwan Normal University. She has been deeply involved in the research and development of the General English Proficiency Test (GEPT), which targets English learners at all levels in Taiwan. She also serves as an adviser to the government at a national level on the development of L1 tests. She has published numerous articles and book chapters in the field of language testing and has presented her work at conferences around the world. She is currently Co-President of the Asian Association for Language Assessment (AALA).
A Locally Appropriate English Language Test – Locality, Globality & Validity
Unlike generic international language tests that are intended to suit test-takers around the world, tests produced locally in the Asian EFL domain are considered to be more appropriate in assessing local learners’ proficiency in English because they are tailored to the specific educational systems and the contexts of test use within the region.
Yet, the merits of a locally-produced test remain as claims unless they can be realized in test production and be supported by evidence through validation. This task is a primary challenge for the test developers. What is more intriguing is that even after the localization of the test has been demonstrated, the locally-produced test is disfavored by part of its local market due to the influence of internationalization and the lack of assessment literacy among stakeholders. As a result, the local test faces another challenge in finding the optimal balance between locality and globality in order to be sustainable.
This presentation aims to discuss these two challenges encountered by a locally-produced test. I will share the GEPT practice in Taiwan to discuss key elements or attributes of a locally appropriate test in relation to the socio-cognitive framework for test development and validation (Weir, 2005; O'Sullivan & Weir, 2011; O'Sullivan, 2011; 2015). I will also share the GEPT experience in dealing with the second challenge through various projects.
While a locally-produced test moves towards internationalization, the developers of international tests have begun to pay more attention to localization. I will conclude by suggesting that these issues be addressed from the perspective of validation, by the developers of both local and international tests.