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On accessible language testing for students with disabilities


Anna Cardinaletti, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia  pdf_icon_30x30


AbstractThe aim of this paper is to discuss the accessibility of language tests, in particular for students who have sensory (deaf) and learning disabilities (LD), by reporting an overview of the results of a pilot study funded by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR) carried out in Italian institutions. For enrollment, Universities require mandatory certification of general English skills at the B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). In addition, students must often demonstrate their skills in (written) Italian as a mandatory entry requirement. The question is whether the tests which aim to assess language competence in L1 and L2 really do so in the case of deaf students and students with LD, or whether the negative results can be attributed to the format of the tests. Common reasonable modifications easy such as extended time are also discussed. Results suggest that L1 tests should be modelled on L2 tests to ensure that all language skills are assessed and

that a complete picture of participants’ language competence may be  obtained. Both the content and the format of language tests should be checked and modified accordingly having accessibility issues in mind.

The True/False format should be avoided, and multiple-choice items should be presented with 3 options and embedded into a linguistic context and not in isolation.

 

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