Evaluating a High School Discussion Test

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Sam Berry, Aoyama Gakuin Senior High School

This paper documents a validation of a group oral discussion test used as a classroom assessment in a high school in Japan. The test has been developed in response to Ministry of Education initiatives to promote the development of communicative abilities, including discussion skills, in compulsory high school English courses. A range of validity evidence suggests the test has promise, but has significant problems with both perceived and actual fairness. A case is made for the continued use of the discussion test, providing that further steps are taken to investigate and address the test’s poor test–retest reliability.