LTRC 2012 34th Language Testing Research Colloquium – PRINCETON April 1 - 5, 2012

LTRC 2012

The 34th Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) will take place from April 1–5, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Princeton in Princeton, NJ. This year's event will be hosted by Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Assessment and Learning: Bridging Diverse Disciplines and Domains

  • Interplay amongst classroom teaching, formative assessments and summative assessments
  • Interface between language assessment, language learning, and computer technologies
  • Key research issues and practices in language assessments for younger learners
  • Key research issues and practices in language assessments across diverse contexts and domains
  • Potential applications of theories, innovations and practices in other disciplines (e.g., SLA, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, educational measurement) to language assessment

Pre-conference Workshops

Pre-conference workshops will take place from April 1 through April 2, 2012.

Workshop 1: Assessing the Ability to Convey Semantic and Pragmatic Meanings in Language Assessments
Sunday, April 1, 2012—Monday, April 2, 2012
Instructors: James E. Purpura & Kirby C. Grabowski, Teachers College, Columbia University

Workshop 2: Latent Growth Modeling for Language Testing Research
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Instructor: Gregory R. Hancock, University of Maryland

Workshop 3: Scaling and Equating Test Scores
Monday, April 2, 2012
Instructors: Samuel A. ("Skip") Livingston & Shuhong Li, Educational Testing Service

Samuel J. Messick Memorial Lecture and Award
Recipient: Carol A. Chapelle, Iowa State University

Values, computer technology and validation in language assessment

Recent approaches to validation build upon Messick's seminal work to provide practice-oriented concepts and tools for planning, conducting and interpreting validation research (e.g., Kane, 2006). Language testers (e.g., McNamara & Roever, 2006; Bachman & Palmer, 2010) embrace such practice-oriented approaches, but point out the need to retain Messick's (1989) message that validation should include an analysis of the value implications of assessment practice: "Given the pervasiveness and the subtlety of the impact of values and ideologies on test interpretation, we need to explore some ways and means of uncovering tacit value premises and of coping with their consequences for test validation" (p. 62). McNamara (2006) saw Messick's assertion that "all test constructs embody values" as "challenging in the most creative sense" (p. 46).

This lecture takes up the challenge of uncovering tacit value premises intertwined within validation practices for language assessments that are delivered and scored using computer technology. I begin with a brief review of Messick's stance on values in validity, which ties values to construct definition. I argue that because definition of constructs in language assessment often entails consideration of contexts of language use beyond the test setting, analysis of values also entails such contexts. Focusing on one aspect of language use contexts — computer technologies for information and communication — I explore how validation is affected by language testers' value premises about the role of technology in contexts of language use and in language assessment tasks. I draw upon reported validation projects and my own experience to examine the effects on validation of value-laden assumptions regarding normal communication practices, relevant qualities of test-takers' language performance, and benefits of technology for language test design and delivery. With the aim of incorporating such an analysis into argument-based validation practices, I suggest how discovery of value-laden assumptions about technology might inform development of validity arguments.


Carol A. Chapelle, Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of TESL/applied linguistics, is Co-Editor of the Cambridge Applied Linguistics Series and Editor of The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (Wiley, 2013). Her research explores issues at the intersection of computer technology and applied linguistics, with emphasis on second language learning and assessment. Her books on technology and language learning include Computer applications in second language acquisition (Cambridge University Press, 2001), English language learning and technology (John Benjamins, 2003) and Tips for teaching with CALL (Chapelle & Jamieson; Pearson-Longman, 2008). Her books on language assessment include Assessing language through technology (Chapelle & Douglas; Cambridge University Press, 2006), Inference and generalizability in applied linguistics (Chalhoub-Deville, Chapelle & Duff, editors; John Benjamins Publishing, 2006), ESOL tests and testing: A resource for teachers and administrators (Stoynoff & Chapelle; TESOL Publications, 2005) and Building a validity argument for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (Chapelle, Enright & Jamieson, editors; Routledge, 2008). She is Past President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (2006–2007) and former editor of TESOL Quarterly (1999–2004).