Validity and C-Tests: The Role of Text Authenticity

Document Type : Original Research Article


Department of English Language and Literature, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.


This study explored the relationship between text authenticity and test takers’ performance on C-Tests. To fulfill the objective a single C-test was developed on an authentic text (AC-test) and along with standard C-Tests (Klein-Braley 1997) and a disclosed version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) was administered to one hundred and thirty five junior and senior undergraduate university students majoring in English language and literature, English translation and teaching English as a foreign language in two universities in Iran. Similar to their standard counterparts, the AC-test correlated significantly not only with the TOEFL and its structure, written expression, vocabulary and reading comprehension subtests and thus established itself as an externally valid measure of English language proficiency. Although high correlation coefficients obtained between the authentic and standard CTests (r = 0.87, p <.01) showed that they could be used interchangeably, the AC-Test enjoyed slightly higher internal validity and noticeably higher reliability. The
implications of the findings are discussed within a foreign language testing context.