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Validating Analytic Rating Scales

A Multi-Method Approach to Scaling Descriptors for Assessing Academic Speaking


Armin Berger

This book presents a unique inter-university scale development project, with a focus on the validation of two new rating scales for the assessment of academic presentations and interactions. The use of rating scales for performance assessment has increased considerably in educational contexts, but the empirical research to investigate the effectiveness of such scales is scarce. The author reports on a multi-method study designed to scale the level descriptors on the basis of expert judgments and performance data. The salient characteristics of the scale levels offer a specification of academic speaking, adding concrete details to the reference levels of the Common European Framework. The findings suggest that validation procedures should be mapped onto theoretical models of performance assessment.
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6 Descriptor sorting


6  Descriptor sorting

6.1  Validating the ELTT scales

Chapters six, seven and eight present the empirical part of this validation project. The major objective of the project was to investigate the proficiency descriptions developed by the ELTT group. The primary research question was: To what extent do the descriptors of the ELTT speaking scales (presentation and interaction) define a continuum of increasing speaking proficiency. This overarching question was divided into three subordinate questions:

a.  To what extent does the ELTT speaking construct represent a single (psychometric) dimension?

b.  What does the empirical hierarchy of the ELTT scale descriptors look like?

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