In 2015, the United Nations set ambitious goals as part of Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For education the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commit to:
Providing inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels – early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary, technical and vocational training. All people, irrespective of sex, age, race, ethnicity, and persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples, children and youth, especially those in vulnerable situations, should have access to life-long learning opportunities that help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities and to participate fully in society.
At the mid-point between the announcement and the deadline of 2030, it is timely to review the SDGs and their relevance to the EALTA community.
The 19th EALTA Conference will address the role of the wide and varied field of language assessment in contributing to these educational aims. Central to the SDGs for education is quality for all. Quality education, as the SDGs understand it, is comprehensive and effective and integrates aspects of equality and equity that lead to fairness, social justice, and empowerment. As assessment is an integral part of education, we are called upon to reflect this concept of quality in our assessment policies and practices at many levels. For example, while assessment practices based on complex technological solutions, such as Artificial Intelligence, may offer opportunities to access and understand the learning processes and conceptualize the constructs, they may also pose issues with the transparency and explainability of the assessment procedures and outcomes, as well as their accessibility across socio-demographic and socio-economic groups. Sustainable quality assessments also require design and maintenance of assessment systems and programmes that are fit for purpose and feasible with the resources available in their context of use, whether at a classroom, institutional, national, or international level. Sustainable optimum-quality assessment practices need to be implemented at the micro and macro levels, which requires adequate assessment literacy for all stakeholders, including but certainly not restricted to teachers who are often at the forefront of quality education.
We invite proposals for theoretical and empirical research presentations, works-in-progress, posters, and symposia that will shed light on a range of timely issues regarding the role of language assessment in enhancing quality education that is sustainable at the individual, institutional, and systemic levels.
Taking into consideration the broad themes outlined above, we particularly welcome proposals focusing on the following strands:
Sustainable practices that reduce inequality and improve inclusivity and equitable access to quality language assessment;
Contribution of standards and frameworks, such as the CEFR, to the quality and sustainability of teaching, learning, and assessment at institutional and system levels;
Technology in language assessment and its impact on issues of fairness and accessibility, validity and validation, as well as the transparency and explainability of assessment procedures and outcomes;
Improvement of assessment systems and practices to increase facets of education quality in the sense of the SDGs;
Quality and sustainability in localized assessments, including both locally designed and developed assessment solutions and “global” assessments adapted to local contexts;
Sustainable language assessment practices at a classroom level;
The role of language assessment literacy in ensuring fair and sustainable assessment practices and systems, including methodologies for investigating LAL with varied stakeholders, the impact of improving LAL for different stakeholders, and the design, development, and implementation of LAL resources.
As with previous years, proposals that are not directly related to the theme can be submitted if they provide timely and important contributions to our field and the EALTA community in terms of new theory and empirical research findings.