Test-takers Perceptions of Test Fairness: A Washback Study on Test Information Given Prior to a High-stakes Writing Test

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In-hye, Choi

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서울대학교 외국어교육연구소
외국어교육연구, Vol.19, pp. 1-18.
washbackfairnesstest accountabilityhigh-stakes exam,test-taker perception
The development of conceptual frameworks for fairness in language testing has significantly expanded the scope of discussions on fairness. Empirical research motivated by these theories, however, has been minimal. There is no research, for example, that thoroughly examines the perceptions of test takers concerning fairness as outlined in the frameworks. Taking the context of the admissions officer system of universities in Korea, this paper looks at how the information released by universities before their exams affect students perceptions of test fairness. Furthermore, the paper attempts to examine the washback of such perceptions as test-takers prepare for the test. Two Korean universities that conducted written tasks for its early admissions processes were selected. Participants were six actual test-takers, who were extensively surveyed and interviewed. The results show that students placed much more faith in the assessment when the information regarding the test construct was relayed in a clear and consistent manner. Such results suggest that test developers need to pay acute attention to the information they provide to test-takers prior to the test, and that test-takers should be aware of the rights that they have regarding the disclosure of test information.
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College of Education (사범대학)Foreign Language Education Research Institute (외국어교육연구소)외국어교육연구 (Foreign Language Education Research, FLER)외국어교육연구 (Foreign Language Education Research) vol.19 (2016)
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