Item and test construct definition for the new Spanish Baccalaureate final evaluation: A proposal


  • Jesús García Laborda
  • Elena Martín-Monje
Keywords: testing, University Entrance Examination, construct, computer-based exam


The current English section of the University Entrance Examination (PAU) has kept the same format for twenty years. The Bologna process has provided new reasons to vary its current format, since the majority of international reputed tests usually include oral sections with both listening and speaking tasks. Recently the Universidad de Alcalá (Madrid) was granted the funds to suggest and experiment the new format through the OPENPAU project. This paper justifies the introduction of the Spanish Baccalaureate Final Evaluation in terms of a re-design of the tasks in line with the Communicative Approach and the Common European Framework of Reference and also taking into account the distinctive features of a language test in order to be valid and useful (construct validity, reliability, impact, practicality and quality management). Furthermore, it provides sound suggestions for a computer-based delivery which could be done through the use of mobile devices. The article concludes with the belief that the new diploma may serve to overcome the deficiencies of the current exam if rigorous studies are undertaken and research-based decisions are reached.


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Author Biographies

Jesús García Laborda

Jesús García Laborda is an associate professor at Universidad de Alcala (Madrid, Spain). Dr Garcia Laborda has a PhD in English Philology and an EdD in Language Education. His current research covers many areas of computer implementations for language learning and testing along with ESP and teacher training. He is in the editorial board of a number of journals.

Elena Martín-Monje

Elena Martín-Monje holds a First Class Honors Degree in English Studies from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and another one in Spanish Language and Literature from UNED. Her PhD (with Distinction, UNED) focused on the benefits of using virtual learning environments for language teaching and learning. An experienced foreign language teacher, she has worked for over ten years in the United Kingdom and Spain, also as a teacher trainer. She is currently a lecturer at UNED, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to English as a Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics. A member of the ATLAS research group (, her main fields of research are the use of ICT for language teaching, Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Mobile-Assisted Language Learning.
How to Cite
García Laborda, J., & Martín-Monje, E. (2013). Item and test construct definition for the new Spanish Baccalaureate final evaluation: A proposal. International Journal of English Studies, 13(2), 69–88.