Task-Based Listening Assessment and the Influence of Construct-Irrelevant Variance

Document Type : Research Paper


Islamic Azad University, North Tehran Branch


Task-based listening tests such as IELTS require testees to listen to some information on a CD and simultaneously answer the related items. To answer such items, testees are expected to comprehend, analyze, compare and infer pieces of information while listening to the incoming audio material. The present research attempted to investigate whether the two major characteristics of question type and consecutive/simultaneous performance have any impact on the listening performance of Iranian EFL learners. Findings indicated that participants had a significantly better performance when they tackled the tasks consecutively, and performed even better in listening MC items rather than in listening task-based items. The researchers, thus, concluded that task-based listening tests such as IELTS listening module may be under the influence of construct-irrelevant variance.


Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.
Bachman, L. and Palmer, A. (1996). Language testing in practice: Designing and developing useful language tests.Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.
Baker, D. (1989). Language testing: A critical survey and practical guide.London: Edward Arnold.
Best, J. W. & Khan, J. V. (1989). Research in education (6th Ed.). NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Brown, J. D. and Hudson, T (2002). Criterion-referenced language testing. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.
Buck, G. (1997). The testing of listening in a second language, Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Volume 7: Language Testing and Assessment, 65-74.
Buck, G. (2001). Assessing listening.  Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.
Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching. Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.
Messick, S. (1989). Validity, In R. Linn (Ed.). Educational Measurement (pp.13-103). Third edition.  New York: American    Council on Education and Macmillan.
Messick, S. (1996).  Validity and washback in language testing.  Language Testing, 13, pp. 242-256.
O’Malley, J., Chamot, A., & Kupper, L. (1989). Listening comprehension strategies in second language acquisition, Applied Linguistics, 10, pp.418-37.
Richards, J.C. (2002). 30 Years of TEFL/TESL: A Personal reflection, Retrieved November 6, 2006 from http://www.professorjackrichards.com
The IELTS Handbook (2006).  University of Cambridge Local Syndicate.
IELTS Specimen Materials Handbook, and Specimen Materials (2006).University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, The British Council, IDP Education Australia.