Dr. Guoxing Yu is Professor of Language Assessment at University of Bristol. Currently he is the co-editor of two book series: 英语教师专业素养丛书(外语教学与研究出版社), and Research and Practice in Language Assessment(Palgrave Macmillan). He is an Executive Editor of Assessment in Education since 2010, and serves on the editorial board of Assessing Writing, Language Assessment Quarterly, Language Testing, and Language Testing in Asia. He has published in journals such as Applied Linguistics, Applied Linguistics Review, Assessing Writing, Assessment in Education, Educational Research, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, International Journal of Listening, Language Assessment Quarterly, Language Teaching Research, Language Testing, and Reading and Writing.

Multimodal constructs of language assessment: From linguistic-focused multimodality to meaning-making multimodal orchestration in integrated language assessment tasks


Linguistic-modes are part and parcel of visual, auditory and spatial patterns of meaning-making in our increasingly multimodal communication. From a socio-semiotic approach to multimodality, speech and writing are “partial” means of communication. The nature of partiality of speech and writing and the complementarity between and within linguistic- and non-linguistic modes challenge the long-held assumptions of the sufficiency of linguistic modes for all communicational needs, and the common practice of high-stakes language tests that focus entirely on linguistic input and output. Facilitated by technology in task design, delivery, and completion, multimodal integrated tasks are becoming popular in language assessment. Integrated multimodal language assessment tasks are traditionally defined and operationalised with reference to the requirement of different linguistic skills in task completion. With the use of technology, we see an expansion of constructs of language assessment, with multimodal input (e.g., non-verbal materials such as cartoons, maps and graphs, and videos in listening and speaking tasks) and multimodal digital composing/ensembles/orchestration (e.g., by creating a video, drawing a picture, a map, or an outline to summarize what test-takers have read/listened) in task completion.   

To what extent is multimodality of communication being operationalised in high-stakes, traditionally language-focused assessment tasks, in comparison to the use of multimodality in low-stakes assessments? What roles does multimodality (in task input and output) play in completion of assessment tasks? Is multimodality a supplementary and supportive component of, or an integral part of the construct of assessment? What are the implications of the different roles of multimodality (supplementary and supportive vs. integral) for the focus of assessment criteria (i.e., weak vs. strong version of multimodal constructs of language assessment). In this presentation, I will try to address these fundamental questions.  

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