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Collaboration in Language Testing and Assessment

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Edited By Dina Tsagari and Ildikó Csépes

The Guidelines for Good Practice of the European Association for Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA) stress the importance of collaboration between all parties involved in the process of developing instruments, activities and programmes for testing and assessment. Collaboration is considered to be as important as validity and reliability, providing a crucial prerequisite for responsibility and respect for students. The papers, covering a range of topics that consider both realities and prospects of collaboration, were originally presented at EALTA conferences from 2008 to 2010.

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Anders Johannessen Fikke, Hildegunn Lahlum Helness: Synergies and Tensions in Computerised Language Testing

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159 Synergies and Tensions in Computerised Language Testing Anders Johannessen Fikke1 and Hildegunn Lahlum Helness2 University of Bergen, Norway Developing computerised language tests involves many different stakeholders. While these all share the common aim of cooperating in the effort to produce valid and reliable computerised tests, they each have slightly different foci and interests. Thus, computerised language testing can be a tale of synergies and tensions. In this chapter, we will examine some of the challenges faced by test developers in making the shift from a software platform that functioned well for online testing, to a new platform that was still under development. One main reason for the new platform was that the national school authorities wanted one central software system with the capacity to deal with all their web-based activities, including online tests. The computerised national tests of English needed to adapt to this new requirement. First, we will provide a brief introduction to the national tests of English in Norway and some of the stakeholders. We will then consider the communication and cooperation between the stakeholders, and how compromises were part of the process. Furthermore, we will describe changes we attempted to make in communication and problem-solving procedures, in an effort to improve efficiency. Finally, we will suggest how tension can simultaneously be synergy, through cooperation and compromise. Key words: cooperation, communication, compromises, synergies, tensions 1. Introduction Collaboration is essential to the development of good tests. The EALTA Guidelines for Good Practice3 emphasise collaboration among the parties involved...

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