39th Language Testing Research Colloquium
A review of the 38-year history of LTRC suggests that the field of language assessment has experienced great changes. Early colloquia were held in English-speaking locations and focused on concerns relating to English. During the past 20 years, however, we have seen seven colloquia in locations where English is not the primary language, as well as an increase in presentations on the assessment of languages other than English.
LTRC 2017 marks a milestone for our assessment community as we will meet for the first time in Latin America. LTRC 2017’s venue reminds us of the tremendous growth our field has experienced, in part from engaging with language testers in different contexts across a variety of language testing issues. Accordingly, as we explore different stakeholder territories, the theme of language assessment literacy (LAL) seems appropriate as we strive to build understanding among different stakeholders in an effort to learn from their perspectives and to generate new knowledge in LAL research.
LAL (Fulcher, 2012; Malone, 2013; Inbar-Lourie, 2008; 2013; Taylor, 2009; 2013) draws on the area of educational assessment literacy in general (Stiggins, 1991; 1997; Deluca & Klinger, 2010; Willis, Adie & Klenowski, 2013) and can be defined as the competence required in language assessment by various stakeholder groups, ranging from developers of an assessment, to assessment candidates, users of the results of assessment, and the public. LAL has been variously discussed as a knowledge-based, skills-based, or competency-based construct—or some combination of the three. Fulcher’s (2012) definition of LAL included skills, knowledge and abilities, awareness of the theoretical basis for assessment, and awareness of “the role and impact of testing on society, institutions and individuals” (p. 125).
In the 2013 special issue of Language Testing dedicated to LAL, Taylor (2013) presented a model for LAL where needs are differentiated according to the requirements of various stakeholder groups—including those considered experts in language assessment. Taylor identifies eight areas of literacy: knowledge of theory; technical skills; principles and concepts; language pedagogy; sociocultural values; local practices; personal beliefs/ attitudes; scores and decision making. This model of legitimized differentiated literacy reminds us of the imperative to resist deficit, binary models of LAL—where certain “illiterate” groups gain literacy from the “literate” experts. Instead, LAL can be interpreted as a dynamic process of competency development in which we are all engaged.
Therefore, while all proposals will be considered for LTRC 2017, preference will be given to proposals which highlight understandings of and tensions between the different skills, knowledge, and competencies of language assessment literacy as they interact with different assessment stakeholders—including the specialists themselves—in the ecologies of their particular contexts. Examples include, but are not restricted to:
language assessment research as related to language policy and policy makers;
validation research that includes bi-directional collaborations with assessment stakeholders;
assessment literacy in relation to the assessment of languages other than English;
investigations of the sociocultural context in relation to assessment literacy;
examinations of differential knowledge and assessment literacy needs of different stakeholder groups.
More Information: http://www.iltaonline.com/LTRC/index.php/ltrc2017