The Social Dimension of English Language Testing in the Philippines

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This chapter focuses on an important and often neglected component of ELT, which is testing and assessment. In the Philippines, there is a dearth of substantial research on the topic. While most studies about English language testing are concerned with the psychometric dimensions of tests, very few, if any, investigate test bias and fairness. Throughout history, tests have been used to control human behavior. Language tests have been and continue to be used for gatekeeping purposes. To what extent are these test practices fair to test-takers? To what extent are test instruments inclusive of all speakers of the English language? Are English language tests biased against so-called ‘non-native’ users of the language? This chapter looks at the social dimension of English language testing. Using the Philippines as context, the chapter raises some concerns about bias and fairness in testing policies and practices in the country.