Consequences, Impact and Washback of CET Test Within Assessment for Use Argument to Validation

  •  Chen Shijun    


The high-stakes College English Test (CET), developed, administered, and reformed over the last 20 years, has received great attention in the aspect of washback on teaching and learning from previous research. Very few studies explored its consequences in the workplace domain—being used as a screening lever. This research aimed to 1) compare difference and similarities between skills measured in the test and performance required in the workplace, as well as the relevance between tasks in two domains, 2) investigate employers and employees’ interpretation on the use of the test in the working environment, 3) explore the impacts of the test per se on both stakeholders and consequences of the test use. To reach this goal, the researcher adopted Bachman and Palmer’s (2010) Assessment for Use Argument (AUA) framework and constructed three claims as research questions. This research employed qualitative method, carrying out in-depth interviews with eight participants consisted of employers and just-graduated students as employees. These participants’ responses to the interviewing questions were fully transcribed and analyzed. The study found that though some task methods in two domains are different; there is a high level of similarity between skills measured in two areas. The test is proved in this study to be impartial, generalizable, and sufficient for employment. Therefore, the CET can be used for selection decision in commercial domain and beneficial to both groups of stakeholders.

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