Vol. 168:2 (2017) ► pp. 143–163
Applying theories of justice to high-stakes language tests
Justice has been the topic of comparatively few papers in the fields of applied linguistics or language assessment. This may be due to the lack of a clear and agreed-upon definition on the one hand, or to the difficulty of operationalizing justice for test development on the other. This paper aims to remedy both problems by discussing prior conceptualizations of justice and by introducing six justice principles, which are based on theories of distributive justice that focus on human rights, fairness, equal opportunity, and dignity. The overarching aim of this paper is to advance the debate on justice, and to provide a consistent way of considering ethical and moral dilemmas that language testers face today.
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