Towards ‘policy responsible’ language assessment: Framing the Language Testing Research Centre’s contribution in languages other than English
Cathie Elder, University of Melbourne
Volume 10, Issue 1, 2021
Abstract: The importance of viewing tests in their policy contexts is now widely recognized in our field. The Language Testing Research Centre (LTRC), as a self-funding Centre, responds by necessity to policy shifts and the language testing initiatives it has undertaken over the years offer insights into broader societal and more local institutional imperatives. The Centre’s language testing activities also have the potential to influence policy, whether directly or indirectly. This paper offers a historical overview of the Centre’s various projects in the languages (other than English) arena over a 30-year period, describing the diverse orientations adopted (i.e. to inform, enact or evaluate policy) with particular reference to three cases illustrative of different policy trends. I speculate about the policy impact of each case, highlighting the complexities encountered and some of the factors favouring and inhibiting policy uptake. Insights from these particular cases are then linked to the research literature on policy impact to propose recommendations for ‘policy responsible‘ language testing.
Keywords: test impact, policy impact, languages other than English