The importance of rethinking English language assessment in a post-pandemic world was the focus of a talk by an expert from Cambridge University Press & Assessment, at a major English language teaching conference in Singapore.
The 57th Regional English Language Centre conference (RELC) took place in March 2023. The theme was ‘Rethinking English Language Teaching and Learning for a COVID-19 Endemic World: Global, Glocal and Local Perspectives’. It looked at how English language learning, teaching and assessment had to adapt during the pandemic with a sudden shift from face-to-face delivery to more remote solutions.
Why we need to rethink language assessment
Dr Hanan Khalifa from Cambridge University Press & Assessment gave her views on the impact of the pandemic and the need to rethink language assessment in light of the challenges the sector faced. She mentioned a strong demographic shift, new technological advances and the migration from paper to digital as major factors accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Khalifa’s presentation included contributions from other Cambridge experts who gave perspectives from Europe, China and South America.
‘The pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital solutions in education and language education has been no exception’ said Luísa Geão, Head of Marketing for Europe. ‘In Europe, the significant changes that happened in recent years, such as improvement of mobile learning, online assessment and multi-level assessment have enabled language testing to become more efficient, accessible and convenient’.
Min Qu, Commercial Director for North, South Asia Pacific, presented an account for China and the challenges faced by school children and their parents upon the sudden introduction of digital solutions. She highlighted the need to continue exploring the impacts on learners and teachers of the new technologies introduced.
Piri Yamashita, Head of Marketing for the Americas, described Latin America situation as a very fragmented picture. In her speech, she explained how different regions still present variable levels of awareness of assessment and of digital footprint. While some had a good level, other regions within highly digital countries still heavily rely on paper-based assessment material.
Khalifa concluded that ‘We are aware of the challenges faced by teachers and learners from all over the world who overnight had to adapt to new styles of teaching and learning. It’s clear that while some countries adapted better and faster, others faced multiple challenges which we need to continue to consider and address.’