Phuong Tran, Monash College
Equating listening test scores for test fairness and detailed student feedback

When language institutions employ multiple test versions to measure students' abilities in one skill area, they often face the challenge of ensuring that the scores from these different test versions have the same meaning over time for different cohorts of students. This presentation reports on a test score equating project on listening assessments at Monash College English Language Centre. Common test items were used to link listening test scores across three Upper Intermediate end-of-course test versions over the course of nine terms in 2016 and 2017. The data collected were analysed using Item Response Theory and test content analysis. The analyses not only helped to link these test versions but also enabled the construction of a listening scale with detailed level descriptors for Upper Intermediate students. The outcomes of this test equating project alleviate the effects on scores of any unintended differences in test version difficulty, and the level descriptors that were obtained enable teachers to give level-specific feedback to their students. As such, students are provided with fair scores for their performances regardless of what test version they take and meaningful feedback in terms of what they can do well in the listening test and what they should work on after the test to get to the next level on the listening ability scale.

Dr Phuong Tran is Leading Specialist Teacher, Assessment at Monash College in Melbourne, Australia. She leads the Assessment team there to develop, validate and assure the quality of assessments across all English language programs. Phuong has a Master of Education (TESOL) from Monash University and a PhD in Education from The University of Melbourne. She has extensive experience in language teaching, teacher training, and assessment design, development and validation. Her areas of interest include assessment development and validation was well as curriculum design and management.