In this workshop Drs. Leung and Schissel will examine how to revise and/or broaden the aim of assessment approaches using participatory action research (PAR) methods. Workshop participants will be led through developing strategies, techniques, and guidelines for starting and sustaining PAR partnerships. Illustrative examples from Drs. Leung and Schissel’s ongoing collaborations in Oaxaca, Mexico will guide participants through different issues that arise in PAR partnerships.
Together we will explore how to move beyond choke points of policies from top-down initiatives to progressively open up testing regimes to well-developed and thoughtfully local approaches to assessments. PAR methods in particular provide useful methods for all parties involved in language assessment to engage in a collective commitment to the issues being researched, valuing of self- and collective reflection to more clearly understand the issues being investigated, work towards consensus building and joint-decision making for the benefit of those impacted by the issue, and developing a team that works together in the planning, implementation, and dissemination of the work. In doing such work, we explore how local autonomy that enacts local points of view and the linguistic means that are working—rather than standardized norms from afar—can support important shifts in language assessments.