Conferencia Plenaria: “Language assessments in bilingual education: impacts, effects and effectiveness”
Over the last 50 years, the priorities and ambitions of education providers worldwide have evolved and innovated. Today, from Argentina to China for many teachers, schools, academics and even politicians, bilingual education has become a pedagogical model to aspire to and embrace. Naturally, with the adoption of any ‘new’ model, comes the requirement to evaluate whether the bilingual education programme is effective. Are the teachers and materials effective? Is the organisation of teaching and learning effective? Is there sufficient learning in evidence to justify the cost of running a bilingual education programme?
The role of evaluating and quantifying effectiveness is often left to assessments, in particular language assessments, and in recent years, many states and nations have developed new forms of assessments or recruited external international language test providers, with the aim of measuring directly through exam results, the effectiveness of providing bilingual education.
But we must remember when considering the effectiveness of a bilingual programme that the exam results that come from these assessments are only part of the picture. There are other factors to consider: for example, how exactly are the assessments are introduced and used in the bilingual classroom? What impacts do new or external assessments have on teaching and learning? If our aim is to ensure maximum effectiveness of the use of novel language assessments, we need to ensure that teachers have adequate levels of assessment literacy to understand what they are teaching, how and why. And what of the assessments themselves? Are they effective at measuring what they claim to be measuring? Can the cost of introducing external international exams to measure the effectiveness of a bilingual programme be justified?
In this talk, we will explore what it means to introduce new forms of language assessment to the bilingual curriculum and the impacts they may have. We will cover some of the major issues in assessment literacy that stakeholders should consider and we will ask some of the important questions regarding the effects and effectiveness of introducing external language assessments into the bilingual curriculum.
Presented by: Prof. Alberto Fernández Costales (UNIOVI).