Thursday, February 18, 2016

Reading on Test Validity and Integration (Inclusivity and Exclusivity) - 1

Bocker and Strik, 2011 present an overview of note that LTCM in Europe represent a break with the past: whereas permanent residence has become dependent on a test result, hitherto (in the 1980s and 90s) integration was thought to flow from the granting of a form of permanent status, (in the UK we would say ILR or Citizenship), with the onset of LTCM the migrant must indicate, by means of a test score, a degree of integration before being permitted permanent status. They also refer to member states of the EU requiring pre-entry tests for spouses, (Groendjik, 2011). 

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].


Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. S. (2010). Language assessment in practice. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Baldi, G., & Goodman, S. W. (2013). Balancing Integration Obligations and Welfare Rights: An examination of membership policy in three European countries. In American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Chicago. [NB: Draft – Please Do Not Cite Without Authors’ Permission]

Blackledge, A. (2009). “As a country we do expect”: The further extension of language testing regimes in the United Kingdom. Language assessment quarterly, 6(1), 6-16.

Bocker, A., & Strik, T. (2011). Language and Knowledge Tests for Permanent Residence Rights: Help or Hindrance for Integration? European Journal of Migration and Law, (13), 157–184.
Chalhoub-Deville, M. (2015). Validity theory: Reform policies, accountability testing, and consequences. Language Testing.

Goodman, S. W. (2010). EUDO Citizenship Observatory Naturalisation Policies in europe: exploring Patterns of inclusion and exclusion. EUDO Citizenship Observatory. Florence.

Goodman, S. W. (2011). Controlling Immigration through Language and Country Knowledge Requirements. West European Politics, 34(2), 235–255.

Goodman, S. W. (2012). Fortifying Citizenship: Policy Strategies for Civic Integration in Western Europe. World Politics (Vol. 64).
Groenendijk, C. (2011). Pre-departure integration strategies in the European Union: Integration or immigration policy? EuropeanJournalofMigrationandLaw 13(1), pp. 1-30.

Johansson, M., & Śliwa, M. (2014). “It is English and there is no Alternative”: Intersectionality, Language and Social/Organizational Differentiation of Polish Migrants in the UK. Gender, Work & Organization, n/a–n/a.

Jopke, et al. (2010). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Global Governance, RSCAS 2010(2), 30.
Kane, M. T. (2013). Validating the Interpretations and Uses of Test Scores. Journal of Educational Measurement, 50(1), 1–73
Kiwan, D. (2008). A journey to citizenship in the United Kingdom. International Journal on Multicultural Societies, 10(1), 60-75.

Orgad, L. (2010). lliberal Liberalism Cultural Restrictions on Migration and Access to Citizenship in Europe. The American Journal of Comparative Law, 58(1), 53–105.

Van Oers, R., Ersbøll, E., & Kostakopoulou, D. (Eds.). (2010). A re-definition of belonging?: language and integration tests in Europe. Brill.

Wright, S. (2008). Citizenship tests in Europe-editorial introduction. International Journal on Multicultural Societies, 10(1), 1-9.