Technology-Based Language Assessment:
Benefits and Challenges
In recent years, technology-based language assessment (TBLA) has come to play an increasingly dominant role in all stages of designing, developing, and delivering language tests, and thus includes much more than simply presenting language test items and tasks on computers.
TBLA is often associated with a range of benefits that seem obvious compared to traditional paper-based testing, including higher efficiency and flexibility in test administration, or the possibility to deliver technology-enhanced item formats. On the other hand, TBLA poses a number of serious challenges that need to be carefully and critically addressed in order to advance the field and to develop truly innovative and valid TBLA. At the heart of the challenges are validity and fairness issues, including construct-irrelevant score variance caused by unfamiliarity of item and response formats or by lack of accessibility or usability for all examinees.
The conference theme addresses both the benefits and the challenges of TBLA, and thus covers a whole range of conceptual, practical, and ethical issues that may be investigated building on diverse theoretical, empirical, and methodological perspectives or approaches.
We invite proposals for papers, work-in-progress presentations, posters and symposia in research areas related to one or more of the following suggested topics:
- Automatic and/or web-based item development and item banking
- Design, development, and evaluation of technology-enhanced item formats
- Automated scoring; onscreen scoring of examinee performances
- Design and implementation of game-based and simulation-based assessment
- Mobile assessment via tablets or smartphones
- Diagnostic language assessment using digital technology; linking TBLA to language instruction
- Test delivery models, in particular, computerized fixed, linear-on-the-fly, computerized adaptive, or multistage testing
- Test security systems for managing and maintaining security of test content
- Psychometric modeling approaches to examinee responses in TBLA environments
- Score generation and reporting; system support for communication with examinees and other stakeholders
- Research into the validity and fairness of TBLA-based measures
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.