Language assessment: a key topic in education

These tests are always undertaken in schools, universities, and at postgraduate level.

These tests are always undertaken in schools, universities, and at postgraduate level.

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How did language tests become to be so important in determining peoples´ futures? This question will be discussed in Universidad de los Andes during the LTRC: Language Testing Research Colloquium — LTRC 2017 in which researchers from universities in several cities around the world and experts from leading examination centers (such as ETS´ TOEFL and the British Council´s IELTS) analyze the field of assessment in foreign language teaching. The LTRC will take place from 17th to 21st July.

Isabel Tejada Sánchez from the department of Languages and Culture at Los Andes highlights that this event will echo the need to think about the impact that assessment has on different levels of education. The professor explained that the word assessment is often feared due to the implications and consequences that development in this area can have on our lives. “Even so, as educators and students, this dynamic is part of our day-to-day lives and it is impossible to ignore. However, we very rarely ask ourselves why and for what reason it exists”.

On the same subject, Gerriet Arthur Janssen, associate professor in the Department of Languages and Culture at Los Andes explained that the international congress was useful to analyze in depth the exams that are used to validate the level that someone has in a certain language. “Also, we will study the use of new technologies and innovation in these types of assessments in order to improve the reliability of the results of the tests to make them closer to the person´s real level”.

It is for this reason that, under the framework of the international language conference, -together with CaMLA and Goëthe Institut- workshops on assessment of the different languages taught at Los Andes (such as German, French, English, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish) will be held.

Additionally, the creation of a network of language assessment researchers in Latin America is to be planned that will be supported by the ILTA.

Over the LRTC´s 39 year history, this is the first time that this conference will be held in Latin America and will go beyond the Anglo-Saxon tradition of exams such as IELTS and TOEFL, “as we will be joined by experts in the development of exams for: Portuguese (CELPE-BRAS that is provided by IBRACO to pursue higher education in Brazil), German (the sprachdiplom exam), French (the DEFL and DALF), Spanish as a foreign language, and for Japanese there will be a meeting on the assessment paradigm”.

This will be an excellent opportunity to find out first-hand the evolution and current situation of assessment exams for different languages.


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