Validating a High School Test of English Conversation

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Sam Berry, Aoyama Gakuin Senior High School

This paper documents the development and validation of the High School Test of English Conversation (HTEC), a paired test of conversational proficiency designed in-house at a high school in Japan. The test is used as part of the new English Expression I course—a Ministry of Education initiative designed to promote communicative language teaching in high schools. As the test is in its infancy, a full validation is considered necessary in order to sanction its continued use and to advise future modifications. A range of validity evidence presents a rather mixed overall test validity profile and indicates the difficulties for classroom assessors in balancing the validity and practicality concerns of speaking tests. The continued use of the HTEC is cautiously backed, with the provision that a number of modifications and suggestions for improvement are met.