cApStAn's role in Knowledge and Skills

In the last two decades, there has been a spectacular proliferation of international large-scale assessments, known as ILSAs. This is the arena in which cApStAn developed its expertise. In ILSAs, comparability across language versions of the test is taken for granted by data analysts, and we are asked to ensure this comparability. In parallel, testing organizations are increasingly motivated to bring their psychological tests, skills assessments, screening tests and other evaluation tools to new audiences, new regions and new cultures. Assessing knowledge and skills in diverse contexts requires test adaptation into multiple languages with a focus on cross-cultural equivalence.


cApStAn has an unequalled track record in this field:


  • International Large-scale Assessments
    Our methodology is based on the International Test Commission Guidelines for test adaptation and translation into multiple languages and on processes we have developed for OECD/PISA and OECD/PIAAC (see below). We advise on translatability, develop source versions and reference versions and verify the translations produced by third parties.


  • Admission Exams
    When applicants to e.g. Universities are given the choice between several languages, we need to answer the question: what makes a test reliable, valid and fair in the respective language versions?


  • Psychological Tests
    How to translate a psychological test? The scales are sensitive, the stakes are high. We apply a double translation, reconciliation, and adjudication process, involving I/O psychologists in the target language and documenting all adaptation choices.


  • Certification Programs
    In localizing the modules, testlets and coding instructions of highly specialized content, we provide the best combinations of pre-translation work (glossaries validated by partners in the target region), experienced translators and subject matter experts (SMEs). Controversial issues are discussed with a senior linguist at cApStAn who acts as moderator.


  • Contextual Questionnaires
    Knowledge and skills assessments are often supplemented with questionnaires that collect background variables and information on attitudes to learning. We have our tried and tested method to translate (or verify) these instruments.


cApStAn has played a pioneering role in implementing and documenting sophisticated translation and adaptation models: in close collaboration with psychometricians and researchers, translation verification checklists have been developed. Linguistic and formal features that play a role in driving psychometric properties of items have been identified; and linguists have been trained to apply standardized reviewing criteria.


See a selection of our references below.