Social Dimensions of Assessment and Testing

Bernard Spolsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In most assessment of the language proficiency of candidates, the central goal of the process is to produce and interpret a test score rather than to analyze the detailed responses, something that is relevant to diagnostic testing. McNamara Tim and Roever Carsten start by noting the recognition by Cronbach of the importance of including in construct validation the social dimensions of testing, and the subsequent inclusion by Messick in his definition of validity the social impact of test score use. Having described the addition of a social dimension to language testing theory and the consequent concern of language testers and agencies for ethical issues raised by social impact of test use, McNamara and Roever go on to deal with some specific issues. A recent paper by McNamara, Van Den Hazelkamp, and Verrips Maaike proposes a research agenda to consider the basis for language testing as a method of assessing the origin of asylum seekers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning
Subtitle of host publicationVolume III
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781317508359
ISBN (Print)9781138859814
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis.


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