• International assessment and local contexts: a case study of an English language initiative in higher education institutes in Egypt

      Khalifa, Hanan; Khabbazbashi, Nahal; Abdelsalam, Samar; Said, Mohsen Elmahdy; Cambridge English Language Assessment; Cairo University (Association for Language Testing and Assessment of Australia and New Zealand, 2015-11-07)
      Within the long-term objectives of English language reform in higher education (HE) institutes across Egypt and increasing employability in the global job market, the Center for Advancement of Postgraduate Studies and Research in Cairo University (CAPSCU), Cambridge English Language Assessment and the British Council (Egypt) have implemented a multi-phase upskilling program aimed at enhancing the workplace language skills of socially disadvantaged undergraduates, developing teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and application, providing both students and teachers with a competitive edge in the job markets through internationally recognised certification and the introduction of 21st century skills such as digital-age literacy and effective communication in HE, and, lastly, integrating international standards for teaching, learning and assessment within the local context. This paper reports on a mixed methods research study aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of this initiative and its impact at the micro and macro levels. The research focused on language progression, learner autonomy, motivation towards digital learning and assessment, improvements in pedagogical knowledge and teaching practices. Standardised assessment, attitudinal and perceptions surveys, and observational data were used. Findings suggested a positive impact of the upskilling program, illustrated how international collaborations can provide the necessary skills for today’s global job market, and highlighted areas for consideration for upscaling the initiative.
    • Language assessment literacy for learning-oriented language assessment

      Hamp-Lyons, Liz (Australian Association of Applied Linguistics, 2017-12-16)
       A small-scale and exploratory study explored a set of authentic speaking test video samples from the Cambridge: First (First Certificate of English) speaking test, in order to learn whether, and where, opportunities might be revealed in, or inserted into formal speaking tests, order to provide language assessment literacy opportunities for language teachers teaching in test preparation courses as well as teachers training to become speaking test raters. By paying particular attention to some basic components of effective interaction that we would want an examiner or interlocutor to exhibit if they seek to encourage interactive responses from test candidates. Looking closely at body language (in particular eye contact; intonation, pacing and pausing), management of turn-taking, and elicitation of candidate-candidate interaction we saw ways in which a shift in focus to view tests as learning opportunities is possible: we call this new focus learning-oriented language assessment (LOLA).
    • Learning-oriented language test preparation materials: a contradiction in terms?

      Green, Anthony; University of Bedfordshire (Association for Language Testing and Assessment of Australia and New Zealand (ALTAANZ), 2017-11-10)
      The impact of the use of assessment on teaching and learning is increasingly regarded as a key concern in evaluating assessment use. Realising intended forms of impact relies on more than the design of an assessment: account must also be taken of the ways in which teachers, learners and others understand the demands of the assessment and incorporate these into their practice. The measures that testing agencies take to present and explicate their tests to teachers and other stakeholders therefore play an important role in promoting intended impact and mitigating unintended, negative impact. Materials that support teachers in preparing learners to take tests (such as descriptions of the test, preparation materials and teacher training resources) play an important role in communicating the test providers’ intentions. In this study, these support materials are analysed. The selected materials, provided to teachers by Cambridge English Language Assessment, go with the Speaking component of a major international test of general English proficiency: Cambridge English: First. The study addresses how these materials might embody or reflect learning-oriented assessment principles of task authenticity, learner engagement and feedback within a coherent systemic theory of action, reconciling formative and summative assessment functions to the benefit of learning.