New Directions 2017 addressed the theme: Connecting Assessment with Teaching and Learning.

The conference aimed to provide a forum for the presentation of innovative approaches and practical solutions, with a focus on real-life case studies and works-in-progress reports.

We focused on:

  • The critical role that language assessment plays in education.
  • How descriptions of proficiency, teaching ability and teachers’ assessment knowledge inform teaching and assessment.
  • How language testing interacts with teaching and learning at the beginning and end of educational cycles and beyond as students are equipped for the working world.
  • The possibility of new technology solutions to large scale testing demands will also be explored, in light of the demands of a focus on communicative competence in East Asia.

In 2017, the conference jointly held between the 3rd International Conference on Language Testing and Assessment and the 5th British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment Conference. 

It took place on 2-3 December 2017 at the Hyatt on the Bund, Shanghai, China and was attended by over 500 delegates, including leaders in English Language Teaching, Learning and Assessment from business and government from around the world.

Conference theme

Connecting assessment with teaching and learning

The 3rd International Conference on Language Testing and Assessment and the 5th British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment focussed on the critical role that language assessment plays in education. We looked at how descriptions of proficiency, teaching ability and teachers’ assessment knowledge inform teaching and assessment. We considered how language testing interacts with teaching and learning at the beginning and end of educational cycles and beyond as students are equipped for the working world. As the emphasis on communicative competence in East Asian education systems continues, new technology solutions to large scale testing demands were explored. 

Subthemes

  • Language proficiency frameworks: recent developments in the design and use of proficiency descriptor frameworks in East Asia.
  • Foreign language testing for admissions and exit tests in education systems: High-level education system goals and aspirations for the language competence of students in East Asia invites further investigation into the complex interaction between testing and teaching at the admissions stage, and teaching and testing at the exit stage.
  • Measuring teachers’ language teaching proficiency: Language tests not only assess students’ language competence but, more indirectly, the success of the teaching standard and methodology.
  • Assessment literacy for language teachers: The positive or negative washback of assessment on teaching has generated much discussion and teachers’ understanding of how tests work and what they are measuring is a key factor in ensuring that teaching to the construct, or ability, occurs, rather than teaching to the test.
  • Foreign Language Testing for employability: A fundamental aim of education systems is to produce employable citizens. Stemming from the interaction between teaching and testing, how should assessment be contributing to sound decisions about candidate’s employability. 
  • Artificial Intelligence and Technology in language testing: With the focus on education for employability, the ability to actively communicate in a foreign language is key. Yet for teaching of speaking skills, in particular, to be effective, assessment tools need to reflect this component of language use. Large scale testing of speaking has been an elusive goal for most education systems due to human resource requirements, however. Technology has long been put forward as a potential panacea to this challenge.

Key speakers

  • Professor Barry O’Sullivan 
    Senior Advisor, English Language Assessment, British Council
  • Professor Jin Yan 
    Shanghai Jiaotong University, Chair of National College English Testing Committee, China
  • Professor Liu Jianda
    Guandong University of Foreign Studies, China 
  • Luke Harding
    Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University, UK
  • Professor James Enos Purpura
    Teacher’s College, Columbia University, USA