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Innovative Items – Measuring Something More or Different

The rapidly expanding use of Computer-Based Testing (CBT) has brought with it an increasing interest in the potential of computer-based systems to provide improvements in areas other than test administration. One such area involves the development of innovative item types which incorporate features and functions that are not possible with conventional test administration methods. Technology now allows us to incorporate video, sound, increased interactivity and simulation into the items that are developed for examinations. The use of innovative items holds out the promise of allowing us to improve our measurement of the skills that our examinations are attempting to tap into. Innovative item types allow us to measure the same things better than we could previously, or allow us to measure something more, or different, than we were previously able to. This factor is becoming increasingly important as technological advancements lead to ever more complex working environments. Innovative item types hold out the promise of allowing us to, more directly measure cognitive and behavioural skills that are vitally important for the tasks we are asking people to carry out. In this contribution I will discuss the use of automated scoring of speaking and writing as well as the use of virtual peers to address performance skills.


John H.A.L. de Jong    
VU University Amsterdam / Pearson English

John H.A.L. de Jong is Senior Vice President Standards & Quality at Pearson and Professor of Language Testing at VU University Amsterdam. He has over 35 years of experience in language testing. John graduated in General Linguistics, French and English languages from Leiden University and obtained a Ph.D. in Educational Measurement from Twente University. He has published widely on language assessment and educational measurement and has specialised in empirical scaling and the development of internationally standardised reporting scales of language proficiency. He was involved in developing the Common European Framework from the beginning.
Before starting his career in language testing John had been teaching French for seven years in secondary schools. In 2000, after a career at CITO, the Dutch National Institute for Educational Management, John set up “Language Testing Services” to provide consultancy in language testing. Among his clients were corporations, national ministries of education, the World Bank, the OECD, the Council of Europe and the European Union. He joined Pearson in 2006, where apart from directing language testing programmes he is also Programme Director for developing the Frameworks for PISA 2015.


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