Language testing and assessment - its role in mobility and social integration
Modern Europe is characterised by student and professional mobility. Whatever the reasons for moving into and within Europe—for example to take up studies, start a new profession, join family, or seek refuge—proficiency in the language of the community in which new arrivals live plays a key role in social and professional integration. The recent arrival of refugees and asylum seekers has added a further layer of mobility and has reinforced the challenge to develop pathways to integration for different groups of people. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) was developed during the 1990s with the goal of facilitating and encouraging mobility within Europe. At the same time, increased mobility has posed significant challenges. Language testing and assessment has played a role in the way European states have responded to these challenges, with language tests being used in different ways for the procedures governing mid-term residency, immigration and access to citizenship since the 1990s. This trend has also led to an on-going debate on the ethics, justification, fairness and usefulness of the role of using language tests in immigration, integration and mobility contexts.
EALTA acknowledges the importance of a transparent and professional debate on the use of language tests in these contexts and hence the 14th EALTA conference invites participants to critically reflect and review language assessment and testing practices for immigration, integration and mobility purposes. We encourage views from multiple perspectives and cross-disciplinary papers which may combine language testing and assessment with insights from other fields relevant to this theme. While the conference will be held in English, the working language of EALTA, we particularly encourage contributions which are focused on languages other than English. We particularly encourage proposals on, but not limited to, the following areas related to the conference theme:
- Language (assessment) policies and practices in the context of immigration, integration and mobility;
- The impact and social consequences of using language testing and assessment in these contexts;
- Ethical aspects of using language assessment for immigration, integration and mobility;
- Use of assessment to support language acquisition and / or integration;
- Interactions with and involvement of direct / indirect stakeholders;
- Use and interpretation of assessment results;
- Specific issues on designing, constructing, validating and conducting assessment for the purpose of immigration, integration and mobility (e.g. defining specific constructs, adapting test/task specifications, adaptation of modalities offered to take the test/assessment, needs analyses with regard to the CEFR levels that should be targeted, procedures of test validation, etc.).
We invite poster, work-in-progress, papers and symposia.
We plan to open the abstract submission by the end of August; the deadline for submission will be third week of November.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to widen participation, and to allow EALTA members a forum for sharing the latest information on research and projects of significant importance to the field, a separate strand of parallel sessions will be allocated for contributions on language testing and assessment research not related directly to the theme. Due to space limitations, the number of contributions accepted will be limited, so proposals should clearly indicate why they are of significance to the field.