Assessing linguistic competences at the primary school. The standardized test development process in Ticino, Switzerland

Zanolla, Giovanna (2015) Assessing linguistic competences at the primary school. The standardized test development process in Ticino, Switzerland. In: Esera Conference Book 11the ESERA Conference, 31.8.2015 - 04.09.2015, Helsinki, Finlandia.

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Abstract

The assessment of students’ linguistic competencies is of a paramount importance for effective educational system. Worldwide, different agencies (e.g. PISA, U.S: Educational department) worked continuously to developed reliable instruments to measure students’ academic achievement and monitor whether minimum standards are met. Since 2013 even the Canton of Ticino – an Italian speaking area of Switzerland – is mapping linguistic competencies of primary school pupils through the administration of a standardized test. The present paper reports the process of building a brand-new tool to evaluate linguistic competencies of 3rd grade primary schools children. In particular, strengths and weaknesses characterizing different steps of the process (i.e. supervising teachers during items building phase, pre-testing items into subsamples of students, administering the test to the population, analyzing data according to the Item Response Theory framework) will be enlighten using reflections stemming from the empirical field. The study’s contribution to the educational practices and measurement procedures is particularly important for all those who are interested in building and standardizing tests to assess performance in the educational settings.

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