Testing English Tests: A Language Proficiency Perspective

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Akihiro Ito, Hiroshima University

This study examines whether English questions on Japanese university entrance
examinations are reliable and valid measures of examinees' language proficiency.
The following tests were administered to 100 college freshmen: a narrationbased,
700-word level, 70-item, open-ended Cloze Test; a test from the National
Center for University Entrance Examination (NCUEE-Test) with the additional
paper-pencil Pronunciation Tests; three grammar tests (At Bt C); TOEFL Listening
Comprehension Test. Results indicate the NCUEE-Test is a fairly reliable and
somewhat valid testing device to measure students' English proficiency. The
grammar tests had a tendency not to be reliable and valid measures of students'
proficiency, though the Grammar Test C showed moderate reliability and
correlation with the Cloze Test. The Pronunciation Test in the NCUEE-Test is not
a reliable measure of the students' listening ability. The need to develop a
reliable external criterion listening test and to replicate the same kind of research
llsing a larger sample of participants is also discussed.