Validity considerations ensuing from examinees’ perceptions about high-stakes national examinations in Cyprus
AuthorMichaelides, Michalis P.
SourceAssessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice
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Student examinees are key stakeholders in large-scale, high-stakes, public examination systems. How they perceive the purpose, comprehend the technical characteristics of testing and how they interpret scores influence their response to the system demands and their preparation for the examinations; this information relates to intended and unintended consequences of testing and is a component of an expanded notion of test validity. The research reported in this paper investigates examinees’ perceptions about the secondary school graduation and university-entrance national exams in Cyprus. Interviews with recent examinees reveal the versatility and complexity of their perceptions about the fairness and appropriateness of the system, which are influenced by design features of the exams and by the local context. There are important, mostly unintended, consequences on their in- and out-of-school experience, on school curricula and on instructional practices. Empirical evidence about consequential aspects of examinations contributes to the validity argument needed to support such programmes. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.