Using an English self-assessment tool to validate an English Placement Test
Zhi Li, Iowa State University
Volume 4, Issue 1, 2015
Abstract: This study aimed to develop and use a contextualized self-assessment of English proficiency as a tool to validate an English Placement Test (MEPT) at a large Midwestern university in the U.S. More specifically, the self-assessment tool was expected to provide evidence for the extrapolation inference within an argument-based validity framework. 217 English as a second language (ESL) students participated in this study in the 2014 spring semester and 181 of them provided valid responses to the self-assessment. The results of a Rasch model-based item analysis indicated that the self-assessment items exhibited acceptable reliabilities and good item discrimination. There were no misfitting items in the self-assessment and the Likert scale used in the self-assessment functioned well. The results from confirmatory factor analysis indicated that a hypothesized correlated four-factor model fitted the self-assessment data. However, the multitrait-multimethod analyses revealed weak to moderate correlation coefficients between participants’ self-assessment and their performances on both the MEPT and the TOEFL iBT. Possible factors contributing to this relationship were discussed. Nonetheless, given the acceptable psychometric quality and a clear factor structure of the self-assessment, this could be a promising tool in providing evidence for the extrapolation inference of the placement test score interpretation and use.
Keywords: English Placement Test, Self-assessment, Argument-based validation, Extrapolation inference, Multitrait-multimethod analysis