women sitting in the audience listening

Since 2013, New Directions in English Language Assessment has connected with several key cities in East Asia.

The conference consists of plenaries, collaborative workshops as well as open meeting spaces that focus on the year’s chosen themes, providing an opportunity for networking and becoming an important conference in the English Language assessment and testing calendar. 

Here are some of our conference highlights from over the last few years: 

New Directions 2021: Online

9th New Directions in English Language Assessment: Fairer, Greener, Stronger: The Future of Language Assessment

9-11 December 2021 Online

Conference Theme: Fairer, Greener, Stronger: The Future of Language Assessment

The 9th New Directions 2021 online looked at:

  • Inclusivity and Access in Language Testing
  • Future-readiness: Learning from the Legacy of COVID-19
  • Assessment in Comprehensive Learning Systems: at the Policy Level
  • Assessment in Comprehensive Learning Systems: in the classroom
  • Creating Opportunities: Assessment for Work
  • Automated Language Testing
  • The impact of Language Assessment on the Environment, Now and in the Future

Key Speakers:

  • Professor Barry O'Sullivan OBE, Assessment Research Group, British Council
  • Professor Judit Kormos, Lancaster University
  • Professor Low Ee Ling, Nanyang Technological University
  • Dr. Jayanti Banerjee, Trinity College London
  • Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Oxford University
  • Venguswamy Ramaswamy, TCS iON
  • Geoff Stead, Babbel
  • Professor Heath Rose, Oxford University
  • Dr. Nicola Galloway, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Kensaku Yoshida, Sophia University
  • Professor Helen Basturkmen, University of Auckland
  • Professor Judit Kormos, Lancaster University
  • Catherine Gater, British Council
  • Gemma Bellhouse, British Council
  • Loh Gek Khim, SkillsFuture Singapore
  • Steve Adams, British Council
  • Vicky Evans, Cambridge University Press & Assessment
  • Professor Paul Giller, University College Cork
  • Yasmin Hatt, Pearson

New Directions 2020: Online

8th New Directions in English Language Assessment: Connecting Contexts: Linking Assessment, Learning and Language Use

29-31 October 2020 Online

Conference Theme: Connecting Contexts: Linking Assessment, Learning and Language Use

The 8th New Directions 2020 online looked at:

  • Rethinking Assessment: Innovation in a crisis
  • Alternative Approaches to assessment in learning systems
  • Connecting Assessment and Real-life language use
  • English ownership, Identity and Consequences for Assessment
  • The Impact and Consequences of Technology
  • A Teaching-Perspective: Quality Assessment and the Impact in the Classroom

Key Speakers:

  • Professor Barry O’Sullivan (British Council, Assessment Research Group)
  • Professor Lynda Taylor (Centre for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment)
  • Professor Micheline Chalhoub-Deville (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
  • Professor Guoxing Yu (University of Bristol)
  • Professor Luke Harding (Lancaster University)
  • Professor Rukmini Banerji (Pratham)
  • Professor Peter Gu (Victoria University of Wellington)

New Directions 2019: Yokohama

7th New Directions in English Language Assessment: Realising Potential: Policy, Engagement, and Impact

7-9 December 2019 at the Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center, Yokohama, Japan

Conference Theme: Realising Potential: Policy, Engagement, and Impact

The 7th New Directions 2019 in Yokohama looked at:

  • Alignment of Policy with Context
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Assessment and Inclusion
  • Implementing Performance Assessment 
  • Technology and Consequences

Key Speakers:

  • Dr Talia Isaacs, Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, Institute of Education, University College of London
  • Professor Joseph Lo Bianco, Professor of Language and Literacy Education at Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Professor Yoshinori Watanabe, Professor of the Graduate School of Languages and Linguistics at Sophia University, Tokyo
  • Professor Barry O'Sullivan, Head of Assessment Research & Development at the British Council
  • Satoshi Hagiwara, President of National Association of Upper Secondary School Principals (Japan) and Principal of Tokyo Metropolitan Nishi Senior High School

New Directions 2018: Kuala Lumpur

6th New Directions in English Language Assessment: Standards in Learning Systems

22-23 October 2018 at the Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Conference theme: Standards in Learning Systems

The conference aimed to provide a forum for the presentation of innovative approaches and practical solutions, with a focus on real-life case studies and works-in-progress reports.

  • Whether standards should be the priority in ensuring that the English language ability of students is adequate for their future needs.
  • The risks of borrowing standards from one system to set goals and make policy decisions in other contexts.
  • The alignment of existing national tests to local or international proficiency standards.
  • How these national or international standards inform language teaching and learning.
  • The future role of artificial intelligence in language testing, particular in large-scale assessment.
  • The adaptation of international standards and frameworks to localized contexts.

Key Speakers:

  • Professor Barry O’Sullivan, Head of Research & Development at the British Council
  • Geoff Stead, Chief Product Officer at Babbel
  • Dr. Carol Spöttl, Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, University of Innsbruck, Head of the Language Testing Group Innsbruck (LTRGI)
  • Han Baocheng, Deputy Director of the National Research Centre for Foreign Language Education, Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU)
  • Dr. Hanan Khalifa, Head of Research & International Education, Cambridge Assessment English 
  • Dr. Souba Rethinasamy, Associate Professor, Faculty of Language and Communication, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

New Directions 2017: Shanghai

5th British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment: Connecting Assessment and Learning

2-3 December 2017, Shanghai, China

Conference Theme: Connecting Assessment with Teaching and Learning

The 5th New Directions 2017 in Shanghai looked at: 

  • Language Proficiency Frameworks
  • Language Assessment Literacy
  • Foreign Language Testing for Employability
  • Artificial Intelligence and Technology in Language Testing

Key Speakers:

  • Professor Jin Yan, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Chair of National College English Testing Committee, China
  • Professor Liu Jianda, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China
  • Luke Harding, Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University, UK
  • Professor James Enos Purpura, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, USA
  • Professor Barry O’Sullivan, Head of Research & Development, English language Assessment, British Council

New Directions 2016: Hanoi

4th British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment: Standardised testing and the Development and Use of Proficiency Scales

13-14 October 2016, Hanoi, Vietnam

Conference Theme: Standardised testing and the development and use of proficiency scales: Addressing local challenges, meeting global standards.

The 4th New Directions 2016 in Hanoi looked at:

  • Standardised Testing;
  • Proficiency Testing;
  • Performance-Based Testing.

Key Speakers:

  • Professor Paul Seedhouse, Newcastle University, UK
  • Dr. Phu Ti PhuongAnh, Education Quality, Training and Support Centre, Vietnam
  • Dr. Veronica Benigno, Pearson, UK
  • Dr. Gad Lim, Cambridge English Language Assessment, UK
  • Dr. Jessica Wu, The Language Training and Testing Centre, Taiwan
  • Dr. Jamie Dunlea, British Council, UK
  • Ms Wu Sha, National Education Examinations Authority, China

New Directions 2015: Seoul

3rd British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment

15-16 October 2015, JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square, Seoul, Korea

Conference Theme: Quality and Consequence

The 3rd New Directions 2015 in Seoul looked at:

  • Test quality
  • Consequences of testing from the point of view of society and education policy
  • Impact of testing on pedagogy and curriculum design;
  • Examining the challenges in the testing and assessment sector and solutions to be found if countries such as Korea are to address the concerns amongst the wider public about the integrity and quality of testing methodologies. 

Key Speakers:

  • Young-Soo Kim, President of Korea Institute for Curriculum & Evaluation (KICE), Korea
  • Professor Constant Leung, King's College London, UK
  • Nick Saville, Director of Cambridge English Language Assessment, UK
  • Professor Antony John Kunnan, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Professor John H.A.L. De Jong, Pearson, Netherlands
  • Elizabeth Shepherd, Senior Research Manager, British Council
  • Associate Professor Yong-Won Lee, Seoul National University, Korea
  • Professor Barry O'Sullivan, British Council
  • Professor Han Baocheng, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China
  • Professor Dongwan Cho, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea
  • Professor Tineke Brunfaut, Lancaster University, UK

New Directions 2014: Tokyo

2nd New Directions in English Language Assessment

29-30 September 2014, Meiji Kinenkan, Tokyo, Japan

Conference theme: Role of English Assessment in Internationalisation

The 2nd New Directions 2014 in Tokyo looked at:

  • issues of localisation and globalisation in English Language Assessment;
  • issues of expanding capacity to address current and future education and assessment challenges.
  • It also provided a valuable networking opportunity and set the stage for further cooperation among key audience and attendees from Asian countries and beyond.

Key speakers:

  • Professor Masashi Negishi, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
  • Professor Oryang Kwon, Seoul National University
  • Dr. Jessica R.W. Wu, The Language Training & Testing Centre
  • Gerry Delaney, Head of Assessment Services (East Asia), Cambridge English Language Assessment
  • Keita Nakamura, Eiken Foundation of Japan
  • Kuniaki Sato, Deputy Director, Office for International Planning, Higher Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

New Directions 2013: Beijing

1st New Directions in English Language Assessment: Language Assessment in China

6-7 November 2013 at the National Museum of China, Beijing, China

Conference Theme: Assessment for Learning

The 1st New Directions 2013 in Beijing looked at:

  • Washback and formative assessment; 
  • Localisation and customisation; 
  • Adapting tests to Chinese contexts and developing English teacher assessment literacy.

Key speakers:

  • Professor Jin Yan, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Chair of National College English Testing Committee
  • Professor Barry O’Sullivan, Senior Advisor, English Language Assessment, British Council
  • Professor Han Baocheong, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Director of China Language Assessment Research Society
  • Andrew Mackenzie, Head of Assessment Service, British Council
  • Keita Nakamura / Shuken Shiozaki, Eiken Foundation of Japan

See also