Follow by Email

Volume 2, Issue 3  December 2019, pp. 135-154          Download PDF

Building a validity argument for the use of academic language tests for immigration purposes: Evidence from immigration-seeking test-takers

Ngoc Thi Huyen Hoang

1 The University of Queensland, Australia



As validity pertains to test use rather than the test itself, using a test for unintended purposes requires a new validation program using additional evidence from relevant sources. This small-scale study contributes to the validation of the use of originally academic language tests-the International English Language Testing System and the Test of English as a Foreign Language-for assessing skilled immigration eligibility. Data were collected from 39 immigration-seeking test-takers, who are arguably under-represented in validation research. Analysis was informed by contemporary validity theory, which treats validity as a unitary concept incorporating score reliability, score interpretation, score-based decisions and their consequences. Results showed that the test-takers' perceptions varied widely. The evidence supporting this use included generally positive perceptions of the scores' reliability, washback effect, and fairness of score-based decisions. The refuting evidence concerned factors perceived to interfere with test-takers' performance and the complex consequences for the test-takers in aspects other than washback. However, overwhelmingly, as test-takers found the score-based decisions as fair, the validity judgement appeared tilted towards the positive side from the perspectives of these key stakeholders. Although the ultimate validity judgement requires the examination of evidence from other significant stakeholders as well, the present study has contributed valuable and unique evidence and bears important implications for research, practice, and policy particularly in high-stakes contexts such as immigration.


© Ngoc Thi Huyen Hoang

CC BY-NC 4.0
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Ngoc Thi Huyen Hoang. (2019). Building a validity argument for the use of academic language tests for immigration purposes: Evidence from immigration-seeking test-takers. Language Education & Assessment, 2(3), 135-154.

Related Articles:

Negotiating intercultural spaces and teacher identity in an internationalised school in Shanghai
Adam Poole
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 23 August, 2019, Volume 2(2), pp. 59-70. Download PDF

Designing a course in intercultural education
Adrian Holliday
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 11 August, 2018, Volume 1(1), pp. 4-11. Download PDF

(Re)imagining a course in language and intercultural communication for the 21st century
Adriana Raquel Diaz, Paul J. Moore
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 29 December, 2018, Volume 1(3), pp. 83-99. Download PDF

Engagement with technology: Gaming, immersion and sub-optimal experiences
Alastair Henry, Cecilia Thorsen
Technology in Language Teaching & Learning Published: 21 December, 2019, Volume 1(2), pp. 52-67. Download PDF

Language, diversity and culturally responsive education
Ann E. Lopez
Migration and Language Education Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 1(1), pp. 3-13. Download PDF

L2 motivation in ESP and EGP courses: An investigation of L2 motivational selves among learners of English in Saudi Arabia
Aser Nazzal K Altalib
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2019, Volume 2(1), pp. 1-16. Download PDF

The Council of Europe Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture: Ideological refractions, othering and obedient politics
Ashley Simpson, Fred Dervin
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 20 December, 2019, Volume 2(3), pp. 102-119. Download PDF

Theory of Mind development and narrative writing: A longitudinal study
Birgitta E. Svensson
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 31 December, 2018, Volume 1(3), pp. 118-134. Download PDF

"I don't want to be stereotypical, but..." Norwegian EFL learners' awareness of and willingness to challenge visual stereotypes
Cecilie Waallann Brown
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 20 December, 2019, Volume 2(3), pp. 120-141. Download PDF

Teaching pragmatics: Nonnative-speaker teachers' knowledge, beliefs and reported practices
Christine Savvidou, Maria Economidou-Kogetsidis
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 30 April, 2019, Volume 2(1), pp. 39-58. Download PDF