Validity is a core concept in testing and assessment and, along with reliability, a major concern in developing and implementing instruments and procedures, as well as in interpreting the outcomes thereof. Questions concern what is assessed, and how this is done, in relation to the underlying construct/curriculum, and – of prime importance – how results are interpreted and used.

Validity and validation have been the subject of much debate ever since the seminal papers by Cronbach (1949) and Cronbach and Meehl (1955) raised the provision of validity above the circular evidence of a simple correlation with a criterion measure. Whereas early work tended to define an ever growing number of types of validity, later publications reverted to presenting validity as a unitary concept within which different facets require different types of evidence (Messick, 1995).

Although there now seems to be consensus in the language testing community that validity evidence is mandatory to justify the use of a test for a particular purpose, there is no agreement on which facets are essential in establishing validity and confusion about the evidence that needs to be gathered. It therefore seems relevant for an EALTA conference to focus on the discussion of validity. The theme of the EALTA 2012 Conference consequently addresses theoretical and operational issues regarding validity and problematizes the concept in language testing and assessment.

We invite proposals discussing instruments and procedures, the methodology for establishing the validity of testing and assessment methods, as well as the pedagogical, social and ethical implications of the concept of validity.

We welcome proposals discussing the challenges met in relation to different aspects of validity and validation in testing and assessment, including:

  • theoretical principles of validity
  • test development and operationalization
  • validation procedures
  • testing/assessment research
  • social dimensions of validity and fairness
  • validity in classroom assessment