Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Language assessment has followed a somewhat distinct disciplinary trajectory compared to other sub-fields of applied linguistics, having originated in the areas of psychological and educational measurement. Indeed, the stereotype of the “language testing specialist” is still of the lone psychometrician, toiling away on test score data.
While this is far from a realistic portrayal of the field now, it is the case that the sociocultural turn in other areas of applied linguistics came later to language assessment and in many ways we are still catching up. One example regards multilingual competence: while the use of students’ complete linguistic repertoire in the classroom is increasingly valued and nurtured, language assessment for the most part still assumes a monolingual worldview. However, I will share very recent research on translanguaging which challenges this compartmentalization of languages for assessment purposes.
I will also share recent developments in the area of language assessment literacy (LAL). Nascent models of LAL have potential to re-orient relationships between language assessment specialists and other stakeholders—teachers, language learners, and users of assessment information—by resisting deficit characterisations of these stakeholders and acknowledging the continuing need for LAL development of language assessment specialists themselves.
- Beverly Baker, Director Language Assessment and Associate Professor, University of Ottawa