Friday 2 July 2021

The New Directions Conferences aim to bring policy makers, practitioners, and researchers together for meaningful conversations on universal issues and local concerns in language assessment. We meet because greater understanding of and proficiency in assessment systems is indispensable for all these stakeholders, as well as for test takers themselves. This greater understanding and proficiency is generally termed “language assessment literacy,” although this term can be inconvenient, with its connotations of basic remedial knowledge for non-testing people, rather than lifelong competency development essential to everyone, including language assessment specialists themselves (see Baker & Riches, 2018; Inbar-Lourie, 2013; Taylor, 2013).

In this talk, I will unpack the notion of competency development from both educational and workplace professional perspectives. I will then explore the extent to which language assessment literacy reflects competency development, using recent research to narrow in on relevant sub-competencies necessary for each of these stakeholders. For example, professional workplace competency development for teachers includes learning technical skills and deciding on the cultural relevance of assessment topics. For policy makers, competency in language assessment includes awareness of appropriate and inappropriate uses of language assessment information. For students and other test takers, competence includes using test expectations to enhance their agency in identifying strategies to improve their learning.


Member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Director, Language Assessment and Associate Professor

Beverly Baker

Plenary speaker - Associate Professor and Director of Language Assessment at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa, Canada

Her research and publications focus on language teaching and assessment from the perspective of multiple stakeholders. She has worked with more than 1500 language teachers worldwide on workshops and collaborative projects. She is currently Treasurer of the International Language Testing Association. In 2019 she was awarded the British Council’s International Assessment Award. 

Plenary Abstract: Unpacking the concept of language assessment literacy for all key stakeholders