Guillermo Solano-Flores

Dr. Guillermo Solano-FloresTitle

Developing Methodologies for the Fair Testing of Linguistically Diverse Populations: Problems and Solutions

September 24, 2019 (Tuesday), 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CDT


This presentation will discuss emerging methodologies that address the intersection of culture, language, and testing as critical to fairly assessing students classified as English learners (ELs). These new developments build on current knowledge from the fields of psychometrics, sociolinguistics, socio-cultural theory, and social semiotics. They include the notion of cultural validity as a form of validity that examines ways in which culture influences students’ interpretations of test items, and the use of generalizability theory (a psychometric theory of measurement error) to estimate the magnitude of measurement error that is due to language factors. These new developments also include the systematic use of a probabilistic reasoning about language and linguistic groups as critical to addressing the heterogeneity of EL populations and the use of social semiotics as key to examining ways of representing information in tests using multiple modalities through different forms of accommodations and accessibility resources.


Dr. Guillermo Solano-Flores is Professor of Education at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. He specializes in educational assessment and the linguistic and cultural issues that are relevant to both international test comparisons and the testing of cultural and linguistic minorities. He has conducted research on the development, translation, localization, and review of science and mathematics tests. He has been principal investigator in several National Science Foundation-funded projects that have examined the intersection of psychometrics, semiotics, and linguistics in testing. He is the author of the theory of test translation error, which addresses testing across cultures and languages. He has also investigated the use of generalizability theory—a psychometric theory of measurement error—in the testing of English learners and indigenous populations. He has advised Latin American countries on the development of national assessment systems and has served as an advisor to countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa on the adaptation and translation of performance tasks into multiple languages. Current research projects examine academic language and testing, formative assessment practices for culturally diverse science classrooms, and the design and use of illustrations in international test comparisons and in the testing of English learners.

  1. Become familiar with multidisciplinary approaches intended to promote fair testing for English learners (ELs).

  2. Develop an appreciation for effective approaches to addressing linguistic heterogeneity in testing requires a shift toward probabilistic reasoning about language and linguistic groups.

  3. Understand the notion of cultural validity and with the use of generalizability theory in the estimation of error in testing due to language factors.

  4. Introduced to the application of social semiotics in the design of testing accommodations and accessibility resources for ELs.