After the Test Event: A Posteriori Validity Evidence

  • Cyril J. Weir
Part of the Research and Practice in Applied Linguistics book series (RPAL)


In Quote 2.5, Alderson (1991a) noted how his students were often confused when they came to deal with internal consistency estimates of reliability and also parallel forms of reliability. He argued that these may be equally well regarded as evidence of validity. You may well ask, ‘So, what is reliability? How or does it in fact differ at all from validity?’ We propose to use the term scoring validity as the superordinate for all the aspects of reliability discussed below in line with the growing consensus that it is a valuable part of a test’s overall validity. When referring to specific reliabilities and in quoting the work of others we will retain the traditional labelling.


Test Score Test Event Parallel Form Language Testing Internal Consistency Estimate 
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Further reading

  1. Cheng (2004) looks at the backwash effect of new English examinations in Hong Kong and contains useful methodological tools for doing this.Google Scholar
  2. Green (2003) looks at the backwash effect of IELTS and provides an excellent review of the literature on backwash.Google Scholar
  3. Hughes (1988a) provides a convincing example from Turkey of where an EAP test had a positive backwash effect on the teaching that preceded it.Google Scholar
  4. Hughes (2003) provides informative and accessible introductions to validity, reliability and washback in language testing.Google Scholar
  5. Kunnan (1998) is a useful collection of papers on validation particularly the paper by Hamp-Lyons and Lynch which looks for the emergence of new interpretive perspectives on validity that take language testing beyond the traditional modes of inquiry of the positivist/psychometric paradigm.Google Scholar
  6. Nitko (2001) provides a useful and accessible discussion of reliability in education assessment.Google Scholar
  7. Shohamy (2001) provides a stimulating, critical, if fairly one-sided, radical view of the power of tests.Google Scholar
  8. Wall (2004) looks at the effects of backwash of the O level English examination in Sri Lanka.Google Scholar
  9. Weir and Milanovic (2003) offer a detailed account of the exam practices adopted by Cambridge ESOL over the last century in respect of these aspects of validity.Google Scholar
  10. Language Testing (Vol. 13, No. 3, 1996) is a special issue devoted to washback in language testing.Google Scholar
  11. Language Testing (Vol. 14, No. 3, 1997) is a special issue devoted to ethics in language testing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Cyril J. Weir 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cyril J. Weir
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Testing, Evaluation and Curriculum (CRTEC)Roehampton UniversityUK

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