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Validating Language Proficiency Assessments in Second Language Acquisition Research

Applying an Argument-Based Approach

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Anastasia Drackert

The book introduces the reader to an argument-based approach to validity as a way to improve test validation in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research. Motivated by the need for practical suggestions for raising proficiency assessment standards in SLA research, it exemplifies the approach by validating two distinct score interpretations for a new Russian Elicited Imitation Test (EIT). Two empirical investigations with 164 Russian learners in the USA and Germany were conducted to evaluate the accuracy of the score interpretations associated with two distinct test uses. The EIT proved to constitute a reliable and valid instrument for differentiating between a wide range of oracy skills. The proposed cut scores enabled prediction of several levels of speaking and listening proficiency. The author concludes with implications for using the argument-based approach for validating assessments in SLA research, for the use of the developed Russian EIT, and for future research on Elicited Imitation Tests in general.

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Design: © Olaf Glöckler, Atelier Platen, Friedberg ISSN 1612-815X ISBN 978-3-631-66721-7 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-06280-9 (E-Book) DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-06280-9 © Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Frankfurt am Main 2015 All rights reserved. Peter Lang Edition is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH. Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main · Bern · Bruxelles · New York · Oxford · Warszawa · Wien All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems. This publication has been peer reviewed. www.peterlang.com 5 Acknowledgments This publication would not have been possible without the assistance of many generous and incredibly supportive people. Above all, I am deeply grateful to my advisor, Dr. John M. Norris, for his schol- arly guidance and academic support. I am thankful to him for the knowledge and skills he has always been so eager to pass on, the fact that he supported my ideas, and also for his great sense of humor and healthy attitude towards academic life. I am also grateful to Dr. Lourdes Ortega, Dr. Marianna Ryshina-Pankova, and Dr. John Davis for their insightful feedback and genuine interest in my work. I am especially grateful to Dr. Lourdes Ortega for continually shaping my thinking about second language acquisition during my PhD studies at Georgetown and for her valuable lessons on academic writing. Research of this kind is not possible...

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