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Bridging divides: Towards a comprehensive approach to language teaching, learning and assessment

As global events over the past two years have fragmented societies, isolated individuals and distanced colleagues from one other, this year’s conference seeks to highlight the interconnectedness of systems, societies and people. Bringing together key influencers and pro-active practitioners in teaching, testing and the wider educational context, New Directions East Asia 2022 is titled Bridging divides: Towards a comprehensive approach to language teaching, learning and assessment. Global challenges and changes have proven to be stark reminders that barriers are permeable and that what affects one, affects all. Our themes this year aim to explore the myriad of interactions at these boundaries from a language assessment perspective, located in the wider educational, social and technological context.

Our main theme considers the crucial role of standards and frameworks in breaking down the barriers between teaching, learning and assessment in the comprehensive learning system and how education systems can leverage standards to achieve a holistic approach to achieving proficiency goals. In another strand, we look at the blurring of barriers not only between the four traditional skills in a key trend towards integrated skills testing, but also at how assessment can be integrated into authentic language use scenarios in immersive testing. The now ubiquitous theme of technology in language assessment hones in on the overlap of human and machine in hybrid approaches to a variety of components in the language testing cycle. In a strand that looks well beyond language testing, the barrier-breaking, thought-provoking initiatives of the global Future of English and multinational English as a medium of education projects that seek to tap into the minds and skills of people across the region are showcased. Finally, a dedicated British Council Aptis event celebrates the tenth anniversary of the test with an overview of key research and test development milestones. 

Our Conference Strands

Standards and frameworks: Integrating teaching, learning and assessment

At the core of the comprehensive learning system (CLS) lies the relationship and overlap between teaching, learning and assessment. This strand considers the role of standards and frameworks to connect these elements of the CLS and investigates how education systems can leverage and adapt the frameworks to suit their own socio-cultural and educational contexts.

Integrating communication: Reimagining assessment

The focus on the four skills has led to a narrowing of the construct to those skills that are most easily taught and assessed. We urgently need to refocus our work in teaching, learning and assessment (TLA) to focus on the use of language. This offers considerable challenges to assessment in national educational systems. In this theme we explore solutions around the conceptualisation of truly integrated tasks in TLA.

A collaborative future: Humans and technology

In the New Directions East Asia Conference 2022, the frequently future-focused topic of technology in language assessment pauses on the threshold of human-machine interaction and, in this strand, we look at how tests and the systems that support testing are leveraging the strengths of both humans and AI.

Future of English: Insights and mobility

This strand showcases large-scale, internationally-informed projects led by the British Council and our key partners. The Future of English project taps into the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders across global borders to unpick David Graddol’s seminal predictions in the best-selling British Council Future of English book and to engage in our discussions around the future of English and Englishes. The English Medium Education (EME, previously EMI) symposium considers the challenges and opportunities around promoting quality, inclusive and sustainable EME through the presentation of three case studies from Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Aptis is 10 years old!

Over the last decade, the Aptis test system has been at the forefront of the British Council’s work to provide high quality digitally delivered language assessment solutions to stakeholders across the globe. The Aptis Symposium will share experiences and insights from these 10 years of innovation.

See also