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Validity: What Does It Mean for the TOEIC Tests?

Author(s):
Powers, Donald E.
Publication Year:
2010
Report Number:
TC-10-01
Source:
TOEIC Compendium
Document Type:
Report
Page Count:
11
Subject/Key Words:
Can-Do Statements English as a Foreign Language (EFL) English as a Second Language (ESL) English Language Proficiency English Language Skills Self-Assessment Speaking Skills Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) Test-Taker Performance Theories of Communicative Competence Validity Writing Skills

Abstract

SUMMARY: This paper provides a nontechnical overview of test development and research projects undertaken to ensure that TOEIC test scores serve as valid indicators of test takers' skills to communicate in English in global workplace environments. The main value of the TOEIC tests lies in their validity, which can be defined as the extent to which the tests do what we claim they can do. The TOEIC tests yield valid scores in part because of the careful way in which they are designed. The brief overview of the design process in this paper highlights the training of TOEIC test developers, the development process and test specifications and the scoring process. By following standardized procedures and using highly qualified, trained test developers, the test development process helps ensure that test content: ?is focused only on the relevant abilities ?is not biased against any group of test takers ?results in forms that are highly similar or parallel Standardized and rigorous statistical procedures are used to routinely monitor scores to ensure that they are consistent or reliable, and do not include items that were unexpectedly biased against groups of test takers. Further evidence of the validity of the TOEIC test scores comes from special studies such as can-do self-assessment studies. These studies provide evidence that higher TOEIC test scores are associated with the increased likelihood that someone can perform a variety of everyday and workplace tasks in English. ABSTRACT: The main value of the TOEIC tests lies in their validity, which is the extent to which the tests do what we claim they can do—measure a person’s ability to communicate in English in a workplace setting. The TOEIC tests yield valid scores in part because of the careful way in which they are designed. Further evidence of the validity of the TOEIC scores comes from special studies such as can-do self-assessment studies. This paper is part of the Research Foundation for TOEIC: A Compendium of Studies, published by ETS in 2010.

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