(Un)reliability of equivalent forms of the Taiwanese tour guide English tests

Peter J Gilks
2014 Language Testing in Asia  
The aim of this study was to determine whether large variations in the pass rates of different versions of the Taiwanese tour guides' English test were due to inherent differences in the difficulty of the tests. Rasch analysis software was used to measure the difficulty of all items on the 2009 and 2013 versions. It was found that the ability levels corresponding to passing scores of 48, 49 and 50 (out of 80) on the 2009 test were below that required to pass the 2103 test and that it was
more » ... re easier to pass the 2009 test. This difference was likely to have contributed to the 2009 test's significantly higher pass rate. It is argued that differences of this magnitude are avoidable, and it is recommended that the developers apply Item Response Theory to the preparation of tests in order to more reliably distinguish between those test takers whose English ability is deemed sufficient to carry out the tasks of a professional tour guide from those whose is not.
doi:10.1186/s40468-014-0007-8 fatcat:f2cu7uzhh5fqrjegvluyaqdimu