Learning about assessing language: a matter of literacy or competency development?
Editors: Beverly Baker and Lynda Taylor
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Chapter proposals are invited for a book proposal currently being prepared for the Studies in Language Testing (SiLT)series (to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022/23) on the topic of learning about language assessment, including how knowledge and skills development in this area are conceptualised and operationalised in both theory and practice.
Interest in what has come to be described as ‘language assessment literacy’ (LAL) has exploded in recent years, with a proliferation of research studies, conference presentations, journal articles and published volumes on the topic. Most of these publications have tended to focus on categorising the knowledge and skills needed and on conceptualising how these might be acquired by specific groups or constituencies of those who use tests or test scores in their local contexts of work or study (Fulcher, 2012; Kremmel & Harding, 2020; Tsagari (ed) 2020; Mohebbi & Coombe, 2020). Particular attention has been focused on what sort of competence language teachers might require for assessing their students, reflected in a number of empirical studies investigating teacher assessment literacy in differing contexts around the world (Malone, 2013; Inbar-Lourie, 2016; Xu & Brown, 2016; Levi & Inbar-Lourie, 2018; Baker and Riches, 2018). A smaller number of studies have investigated the understanding of language assessment issues needed by people working on admissions and placement decisions in international higher education or similar contexts (O’Loughlin, 2012; Deygers & Malone, 2019; Wilson et al, 2021).
In addition to these two important constituencies, however, there exists a wide variety of other stakeholder groups with differing responsibilities and in differing contexts, all of whom require an understanding of language assessment to varying degrees – an understanding that will be strongly shaped by multiple features of the context in which they operate (e.g. education, policymaking, public media). Such groups include (though are not necessarily limited to):
- Test designers and item writers working within testing agencies or similar institutions
- Potential test takers required to take, or needing to select, an appropriate test for their needs
- Teacher educators involved in the training and professional development of language teachers
- Administrators and course tutors who have to make decisions on access to educational opportunities
- Regulators granting professional certification and other credentials
- Applied linguistics students aiming to specialise in language assessment research or the development of assessment tools
- Policymakers making decisions for immigration and citizenship purposes
- Journalists and other commentators on test use and impact in the public media
- The wider public curious about how language tests affect and influence their daily lives
When considering this wide range of stakeholder groups and assessment uses, there are many questions to consider, e.g.:
Ø Considering language testers and researchers: What are the cognitive and social processes related to the development of expertise among language assessment specialists?
Ø Considering professionals in workplace settings: How should we best approach the development of language assessment knowledge as one element of professional competence?
Ø Considering test-takers and language learners: People have the right to understand how they are being assessed, so their LAL development can be seen as a moral imperative. Should we re-envision the concept of “transparency” as the development of language assessment knowledge in test takers?
Ø Considering the media and the public square: What sort of concepts and language are needed to ensure healthy reporting and public debate about assessment matters in society? What is the role of professional language testing specialists in achieving this?
The proposed volume aims to take an interdisciplinary view, influenced by and inspired from a number of different approaches to learning and skills development, such as: expertise and expert knowledge; workplace competency development; communities of practice/professional learning communities; discovery-based learning; and apprenticeship learning.
Examples of the volume content may include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Conceptual contributions on the nature of language assessment knowledge and its development;
· Studies of professional competency development and situational learning within the workplace;
· Cases outlining innovative methods to develop language assessment competence; and
· Shorter vignettes from test takers and other stakeholders on critical learning moments, sharing their experience in their own words.
We also encourage contributions that consider other languages besides English (LOTE), and those coming from all corners of the world, including Indigenous settings. Collaborative work among stakeholders is welcome as well as contributions from stakeholders whose voices are less commonly solicited (or represented).
We invite the submission of chapter proposals of 500-750 words by 31 July, 2021. Your chapter proposal should include:
a) a brief description of what the chapter would contain, and
b) some explanation of how the chapter fits with the vision of the proposed book, as described above, plus
c) a 50-word biodata for each contributor.
· 31 August 2021: Notification of acceptance of chapter proposal for the book proposal
· 31 October 2021: Submission of book proposal to CUP
· Notification to chapter proposers by end 2021
· Submission, review and revision of chapters during 2022
· Publication of edited volume in late 2022 or early 2023.