Multilingualism and Assessment

This book is one of many in Cambridge’s Studies in Language Testing series. This volume is compiled of 20 edited papers that were presented at the 2nd ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) Conference in Berlin, May 2005. At first glance it is aesthetically simple and very academic in appearance. This made me very […]
Reviewed for Teflnet by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi

This book is one of many in Cambridge’s Studies in Language Testing series. This volume is compiled of 20 edited papers that were presented at the 2nd ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) Conference in Berlin, May 2005. At first glance it is aesthetically simple and very academic in appearance. This made me very apprehensive to open it as I wasn’t sure what I would find. The book’s six-page introduction is very detailed and outlines each paper with a brief overview. I found this extremely useful as it made it easier to navigate through the papers. The book itself  is divided into three sections and each section is compiled in a sequential format, making it easy to navigate and find papers of interest or relevance to one’s own field. There are also some case studies supporting findings and ideas.

Section One of the book is dedicated to Achieving Transparency and consists of seven papers (including one paper in French) looking especially at the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and its role with an emphasis on quality assurance.

Section Two looks at Quality and Diversity and contains seven papers focusing on IELTS, CERCLU, test evaluation, testing teaching knowledge and using the Test Fairness and Test Context frameworks among others.

Section Three looks at Sustaining Diversity and has seven papers focusing on language assessment in migration and citizenship, non-native speakers as language assessors, language varieties and their implications for testing and assessment.

While not being a book to read from cover to cover, it is a useful reference for policy-makers and for practitioners. It isn’t a reference for the light-hearted in the sense that it is very academic and hard going in parts, although most readers with interests in these areas will be able to come away with something of use.

Reviewed for Teflnet by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi
May 2009 | Filed under Linguistics

One Comment on “Multilingualism and Assessment”

  1. Jesús Garcia Says:

    Good summary. The book, however, offers a lot more than some paper collection. The book recalls a series of basic principles in test design, validity and impact. In fact, social impact and the increasing use of tests for immigration and work control is among the most significant. The collection as such is ok but readers may be extremely intrested in the social impact of language testing which seems to be little known among the language teaching community. Overall, some chapters (especially the one on validity by Ceril Weir and that revises some of his previous publications) are excellent.

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