Language Testing Reconsidered

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DIGITAL BOOK. A comprehensive account of issues of continuing concern in language testing and assessment from the perspectives of researchers who have, over the years, contributed in significant ways to the overall direction of the field.

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Language Testing Reconsidered : Abstract

Language Testing Reconsidered is a collection of selected papers by several respected colleagues in the field of language testing, who engaged in animated conversation, dialogue, and debate at the Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) 2005, in Ottawa. Part of that conversation is captured here. As the title of this volume suggests, each of the contributors has reconsidered language testing with the benefit of hindsight—looking back at its history, reflecting on personal experiences that highlighted key challenges or issues of concern, taking stock of both the limits and potential of current practice, and looking ahead to future possibilities. Central themes are evident across the chapters in this volume:

  • The ongoing challenge of construct definition in language testing and the need for interdisciplinary research, not only within the narrow (and often inward-looking) disciplines of language testing and second language acquisition but also across the broader fields of applied linguistics/language studies and education
  • The expanding repertoire of research methods in language test development and validation, and the recognition of the important role that qualitative approaches can play in increasing our understanding of what tests do and what they measure
  • The evolving and increasing influence of social theory in language testing, and in reconceptualizations of the issue of context in test interpretation
  • The implications of the use of tests as decision-making tools — their limitations and potential.

As a whole, the volume provides a comprehensive account of issues of continuing concern in language testing and assessment from the perspectives of researchers who have, over the years, contributed in significant ways to the overall direction of the field. It captures the history of language testing, highlights useful methodological approaches in test development and validation, and elaborates a research agenda for the future. As one of the reviewers of this volume noted, « This account could not have happened earlier. Our field was due for this. »

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