Guillermo Solano-Flores

Areas of Expertise
Academic Achievement and Accommodations, Assessment, Bilingual and Bicultural Education, English as a Second Language, Equity-Minded Reform, International Education and Globalization, Measurement, Multicultural Education, STEM Education, Sociolinguistics, Statistical Analysis, Survey Design and Research, Test Development and Validation


Guillermo Solano-Flores, PhD is Professor of Bilingual Education and English as a Second Language at the School of Education of the University of Colorado Boulder. He specializes in educational measurement, assessment development, and the linguistic and cultural issues that are relevant to both the testing of linguistic minorities and international test comparisons.

A psychometrician by formal training, Dr. Solano-Flores' work focuses on the development of alternative, multidisciplinary approaches that address linguistic and cultural diversity in testing. He has conducted research on the development, translation, localization, and review of science and mathematics tests; the design of software for computer-assisted scoring; and the development of assessments for the professional certification of science teachers. He has been principal investigator in several National Science Foundation-funded projects that have examined the intersection of psychometrics and linguistics in testing. He is the author of the theory of test translation error, which addresses testing across cultures and languages. Also, he has investigated the use of generalizability theory—a psychometric theory of measurement error—in the testing of English language learners.

Dr. Solano-Flores has advised Latin American countries on the development of national assessment systems. Also, he has been the advisor to countries in Latina America, Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa on test translation. His current research projects investigate the measurement of mathematics academic language load in tests, formative assessment practices for English learners in the science classroom, and the design and use of illustrations as a form of testing accommodation for English learners with an approach that uses cognitive science, semiotics, and sociolinguistics in combination.



Postdoctorate, Measurement and Assessment Development, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1994
PhD Education, specialty in methodology and measurement, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1994
MA Educational Psychology, National University of Mexico, 1989
BA Psychology, National University of Mexico, 1978


In his research, Dr. Solano-Flores has focused on three main areas, assessment development, the testing of linguistic minorities, and the process of test translation and test adaptation in international comparisons. Most of this research work has been funded by the National Science Foundation.

Assessment Development

Dr. Solano-Flores has conducted research on the development of science and mathematics assessments for elementary schools and the construction of tools for generating science and mathematics tasks. His work on the process of test development as critical to addressing linguistic and cultural diversity has produced two major outcomes. One outcome is the concept of cultural validity, which refers to the extent to which the process of test development takes into account cultural diversity throughout the entire process of test development. Another outcome is the finding that engaging bilingual teachers in developing tests concurrently in two languages allows them to give deep consideration to culture and language in their thinking about tests and the characteristics of their students.

Testing of Linguistic Minorities

Dr. Solano-Flores has conducted research on the testing of linguistic minorities that addresses the fact that current testing practices and policies are not well grounded on knowledge from the field of linguistics. In his recent publications, he reports research on the use of generalizability theory as a tool for examining language as a measurement error in the testing of linguistically diverse populations. One major outcome of this research work is the finding that the performance of English language learners in tests is very unstable across languagesówhich implies that testing English language learners only in English or only in their native languages may not always produce valid measures of their academic achievement.

Test Translation and Test Adaptation

Dr. Solano-Flores has conducted research involving international test comparisons. He has investigated how test translation and adaptation can be improved to produce more valid measures of academic achievement for students who are tested in different languages or who have different cultural backgrounds. As a part of that research work, Dr. Solano-Flores is developing a conceptual framework for test translation review which examines translation error on several dimensions that include semantics, register, and curriculum representation--aspects of translation not usually considered in current testing translation practices. 

Selected Publications

(For complete list of publications, please see the faculty member's curriculum vitae.)

Peer-Refereed Journal Articles

Solano-Flores, G., Backhoff, E., & Contreras-Nino, L. A. (2009). Theory of test translation error. International Journal of Testing, 9(2), 78-91.

Solano-Flores, G., & Li, M. (2009). Generalizability of cognitive interview-based measures across cultural groups. Educational Measures: Issues and Practice, 28(2), 9-18.

Solano-Flores, G. (2008). Who is given tests in what language by whom, when, and where? The need for probabilistic views of language in the testing of English language learners. Educational Researcher, 37(4), 189-199.

Solano-Flores, G., & Li, M. (2008). Examining the dependability of academic achievement measures for English-Language Learners. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 33(3), 135-144.

Solano-Flores, G. (2006). Language, dialect, and register: Sociolinguistics and the estimation of measurement error in the testing of English language learners.Teachers College Record, 108(11), 2354-2379.

Solano-Flores, G., & Li, M. (2006). The use of generalizability (G) theory in the testing of linguistic minorities. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 25(1), 13-22.

Solano-Flores, G., & Trumbull, E. (2003). Examining language in context: The need for new research and practice paradigms. Educational Researcher, 32(2), 3-13.

Solano-Flores, G., Shavelson, R. J., & Schneider, S. A. (2001). Expanding the notion of assessment shell: From task development tool to instrument for guiding the process of assessment development. REDIE: Electronic Journal of Educational Research, 3(1).

Solano-Flores, G. (2000). Teaching and assessing science process skills in physics: The "bubbles" task. Science Activities, 37(1), 31-37. Journal

Klein, S. P., Jovanovic, J., Stecher, B. M., McCaffrey, D., Shavelson, R. J., Haertel, E., Solano-Flores, G., & Comfort, K. (1997). Gender and racial/ethnic differences: On performance assessments in science. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 19(2), 83-97.

Solano-Flores, G., Jovanovic, R. J., & Bachman, M. (1999). On the development and evaluation of a shell for generating science performance assessments.International Journal of Science Education, 29(3), 293-315.

Solano-Flores, G., & Shavelson, R. J. (1997). Development of performance assessments in science: Conceptual, practical, and logistical issues. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 16(3), 16-25.

Jovanovic, J., Solano-Flores, G., & Shavelson, R. J. (1994). Performance-based assessments: Will gender differences in science achievement be eliminated?Education and Urban Society, 26(4), 352-366.

Solano-Flores, G. (1993). Item structural properties as predictors of item difficulty and item association. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 53(1), 19-31.


Kusimo, P., Ritter, M. G., Busick, K., Ferguson, C., Trumbull, E., & Solano-Flores, G. (2006). Making assessment work for everyone: How to build on student strengths. Regional Educational Laboratories.

Book Chapters

Solano-Flores, G. (2009). The testing of English language learners as a stochastic process: Population misspecification, measurement error, and overgeneralization. In K. Ercikan & W. M. Roth (Eds.), Generalizing from Education Research. New York: Routledge.

Solano-Flores, G., & Trumbull, E. (2008). In what language should English language learners be tested? In R. J. Kopriva (Ed.), Improving testing for English language learners: A comprehensive approach to designing, building, implementing and interpreting better academic assessments. New York: Routledge.

Solano-Flores, G. (2008). English language learners. In C. Clauss-Ehlers (Ed.), Encyclopedia of cross-cultural school psychology. Springer.

Schneider, S., Daehler, K. R., Hershbell, K., McCarthy, J., Shaw, J., & Solano-Flores, G. (2008). Developing a national science assessment for teacher certification: Practical lessons learned. In, L. Ingvarson & John Hattie, (Eds.), Assessing teachers for professional certification, Volume II: The first ten years of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Technical Reports

Solano-Flores, G., Shavelson, R. J., Ruiz-Primo, M. A., Shultz, S. E., & Wiley, E. (1997). On the development and scoring of observation and classification science performance assessments. CSE Technical Report 458. National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).

Conference Papers

Solano-Flores, G., Contreras-Nino, L. A., & Backhoff-Escudero, E. (2005). The Mexican translation of TIMSS-95: Test translation lessons from a post-mortem study. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council of Measurement in Education. Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 12-14.