Bocker and Strik show that most European countries have language and other tests related to leave to remain and entry of family members, although there is variation in the details. However, (p165) the stated aims of the tests in all of the EU countries that use them is to facilitate integration. "The background to the introduction of the requirements was, in nearly all cases, an apparent or perceived crisis of integration". Bocker and Strik see two main concerns throughout: the need for migrants to be economically independent, (and not a drain on the state's resources); and to understand western values in the wake of terrorist attacks, (p166). We could list these as two intended beneficial consequences of testing, per Bachman and Palmer, 2010.
Two "latent aims" (p167) are to ensure that only the already-integrated get permanence and to reassure the "native" population that the political class are managing a perceived "migration crisis" efficiently. Which raises a theoretical question: can we regard a test's consequences as beneficial, even if some of the stakeholders would disavow those consequences? To put it another way, in a consequential validity model, how much agreement from stakeholders is required? [NB, p168, the French don't have a standardised test]. Tendencies for tests to become increasingly sophisticated, (move to a "higher" CEFR level), and to proliferate once introduced is noted.
The authors note that the pass rate for the UK B1 test is 74%. [This data was obtained by them from the Government by means of a FoI request. I'm going to need to do several of these, perhaps].
"For nationals of majority English-speaking states in the Caribbean area, the pass rate was only 70 per cent". This raises the issue of what form (code) is required of candidates. It would be interesting to study recordings of candidates from Caribbean countries. How does a rater's comprehension of different forms of English effect reliability? [Are there any validity issues?] We could ask, if 30% of Caribbeans fail, what would happen to (say) candidates who grew up in the UK with non-RP dialects? [Is there a quantitative difference between (say) Glaswegian dialect (which I can't understand) and Jamaican patois (ditto)?]
A high degree of scepticism amongst certain stakeholders (candidates, and teachers) was noted regarding the ability of the tests to promote integration. [This returns us to the issue of stakeholders' disagreements on beneficial consequences].
[NB: I went off at a tangent after transcribing Cameron's interview on Spousal Visas. I need to wind back from there, but might need to come back to it, and if so, this is where I got to when I heard the resubmission calling from the homestead].
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