Closing Plenary

Language Assessment Myths

Presenter: Lia Plakans

Lia-Plakans-School-Pictures-2014-765Teachers and students hold many beliefs about language assessment, some of which might be considered ‘myths’. Myths are beliefs that allow us to understand complex phenomenon, but may not be upheld when we examine such them carefully. This plenary will discuss three common myths about language tests, along with theory and research that should make us question them. One myth is that performance assessments are preferable because they are accurate and authentic. Another myth is that the four language modalities should always be tested separately. The last myth is that teachers should never be involved in preparing students for tests. While each of these myths has reasons to exist, language educators should recognize them as complex and in need of careful consideration. In presenting counter-evidence with each myth, implications for classroom practice will be explored.

When: Saturday, October 24 (time TBA)

Lia Plakans is an associate professor in Foreign Language/ESL Education at the University of Iowa. She teaches courses in language assessment, second language reading/writing, and second language learning. She coordinates the K-12 ESL Endorsement program in teacher education and is co-director of EL Bridge, a program to support mathematics, science and special education teachers in working with English Learners. She has been an English language educator in a variety of programs from community literacy, pre-K, to university ESL in Texas, Ohio, Iowa, and Latvia. Her research has been published in such journals as TESOL Quarterly, Journal of Second Language Writing, Language Testing, and Language Assessment Quarterly. Her second book with University of Michigan Press, Assessment Myths: Applying Second Language Research to Classroom Teaching, was released in 2015.

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