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Language and Education Network Research Seminar - Luke Harding (Lancaster University) - Language assessment in the digital age: Ethics and consequences

Regular centre meeting for staff and students

Event details

Language assessment in the digital age: Ethics and consequences 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on language assessment practices worldwide. Throughout 2020, language teachers switched to online delivery and testing organisations rushed to provide digital solutions to practical problems raised by lockdowns and social distancing measures (see Isbell & Kremmel, 2020). The pandemic, however, only accelerated a process that has been developing for many years: the gradual shift of language assessment practices to a digital space. There are numerous potential advantages of this shift online: cheaper and more accessible language tests for candidates, more consistent and reliable scoring systems, and quicker turnaround of score reports. However, this move towards greater integration of digital technology in language assessment brings with it the prospect of a more rapid diffusion of unintended consequences and creates new challenges with respect to ethical test use. In this talk I will explore these issues, focusing particularly on the challenges involved in capturing complex constructs through computer-delivered assessments, the potential for encoding native speaker ideologies in automated scoring systems, and the increasing salience of security technologies in language test delivery. I will argue that ethical language assessment will require a dedicated orientation towards responsible, multi-disciplinary innovation, and that the rapid pace of change should be accompanied by an urgent research agenda focused on understanding the nature and scope of test impact in the digital age. 



Meeting Recording: 

Access Passcode: #W$3MWYB