Validation of the International Reading Literacy Test
Evidence from Dutch
In 2001, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) conducted a comparative study of reading literacy (PIRLS 2001). A reading comprehension assessment instrument was developed and translated into the languages of 35 participating countries for this purpose. After field testing of the instrument, the final version of the Reading Literacy Test (RLT) was established. In two studies, the validity of the Dutch version of the RLT was examined. In the first study, comparison of the linguistic characteristics of the Dutch and English versions of the test showed the Dutch passages and items to contain both a greater number of words and longer words than the English passages and items. However, the use of more and longer words did not produce a higher level of complexity with respect to content, sentence structure, text structure, or test items as judged by a panel of bilingual experts. While the Dutch children had to read more and longer words than the English children, moreover, they had no problems finishing the test within the allocated amount of time. In the second study, the possible impact of the changes made after the field testing of the RLT was examined. The omission of passages and the modification or omission of test items were found to have no consequences for the psychometric properties of the Dutch version of the test were examined.