Dr. Neus Figueras has been involved in a number of international research and development projects related to assessment at different education levels and has given courses and presented in universities in Spain, in various European countries, in Asia and in the USA. She has also carried out consultancy work in assessment and in curriculum design. She has collaborated regularly with the Council of Europe in the uses and the dissemination of the CEFR in language testing and assessment and is one of the authors of the Manual for Relating examinations to the CEFR (Council of Europe, 2009). She has recently co-edited with David Little Reflecting on the CEFR and its Companion Volume, published in 2022 by Multilingual Matters and contributed to the publication of Aligning Language Education with the CEFR: A Handbook, jointly published by the British Council, UKALTA, EALTA and ALTE, publicly available online.
She is a founding member of EALTA (European Association for Language Testing and Assessment), and is currently the coordinator of the EALTA CEFR SIG. She is a member of the organizing committee of GIELE (Grupo de interés en evaluación de lenguas en España).
The role of assessment in successful language learning
The need for a holistic approach to language education integrating learning, teaching and assessment has been present in the literature for decades. Unfortunately, such a need remains an unsolved challenge in 2022. During this session, the varied reasons for such a continuing challenge will be presented, and the work carried out to address it in the past 50 years will be discussed. Special attention will be paid to the instructional efforts by the Council of Europe, which mirrors in many respects the work done in other parts of the world, with the publication in 2001 of the Common European Framework for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR) and in 2020 of the CEFR Companion volume, which have contributed to a better understanding of how important common standards and benchmarks are, not only in assessment but also for teaching and learning. Fulfilling what has been a long-awaited aim in language education requires that professionals involved in learning, teaching and assessment tackle conceptual, methodological, and practical issues, and the session with conclude with the presentation of a document which has a lot to contribute in that respect. Aligning Language Education with the CEFR: A Handbook has been prepared for those who are teaching, testing and developing materials in language education, as well as stakeholders concerned with education policy matters and decision-making. Published jointly in 2022 by leading organizations in the field of language education, the handbook is centered on the CEFR, but its structured set of steps can be useful for all projects aimed at alignment with other frameworks or sets of standards.