Investigating Content and Face Validity of English Language Placement Test Designed by Colleges of Applied Sciences

  •  Sharifa Al-Adawi    
  •  Aaisha Al-Balushi    


An English placement test (PT) is an essential component of any foundation program. It helps place students into their suitable language proficiency level so that they do not spend time learning materials below or above their levels. It also helps teachers to prepare teaching materials to students of similar levels (Brown, 2004; Illinois, 2012). This paper aims to investigate the extent to which the PT used at Colleges of Applied Sciences (CAS) is achieving this goal by exploring teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the current exam via questionnaires and interviews. Furthermore, it examines the format and content of the PT and students’ PT score against their mid-term score. It was found that face validity of CAS PT ranged from low (teachers) to moderate (students). The majority of teachers and students emphasized the importance of including the listening and speaking components in the test. Moreover, a modified version of the reading section of the test needs to be incorporated into the test. Another suggested using a valid certified computerized test. For future research, it is recommended to design a new test, taking into consideration the findings of this research and pilot it to test its effectiveness. Furthermore, an analytical test of the current marking criteria is essential to check its clarity and consistency.

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