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Future-proofing language tests for Migration purposes

  • 25 Jun 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
  • Online

ALTE and its LAMI Group supports this event:

The British Council in collaboration with the University of Reading is delighted to announce an online panel discussion event “Future-proofing language tests for migration purposes” to be held on Friday 25th June 12.00-13.30 UK time.

Please register for the event at the link below:


Future-proofing language tests for migration purposes

A decade ago, only a handful of countries used language tests as a central component of their migration and integration policy. Now, the use of language tests for migrants has become the norm. However, in spite of their widespread use and in spite of the potentially life-altering impact these tests may have on people’s lives, livelihoods and opportunities, the empirical foundations supporting the use of these tests remain rather thin. To date, as language tests for integration purposes are widely used, some of the most essential questions remain unanswered, such as:

  • What is the construct these language tests are supposed to measure?
  • How can language tests can be operationalized in a way that eliminates bias in a population so diverse?
  • Why have these tests become a central part of the integration policy of so many countries and regions, when studies have indicated that tests have an adverse effect on migrants’ sense of belonging in the host country? 
  • To what extent do language tests for migration and integration purposes conform to human rights principles, to date protection principles and to international migration law?

At least for the foreseeable future, language testing for migration purposes is here to stay. So what can/should happen to make the practice future-proof?

Subthemes & speakers

The event will cover 3 subthemes, with each subtheme being addressed by a different panel of speakers:

The role of language testing in migration policy

Zvezda Vankova, Lund University

Tony Capstick, University of Reading

Ute Knoch, University of Melbourne

Constructs, operationalization, reliability and bias

Nick Saville, Cambridge Assessment English

Tim McNamara, University of Melbourne

Bart Deygers, Ghent University

Consequences and validation

Cecilie Carlsen, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Barry O’Sullivan, British Council

 ALTE - the Association of Language Testers in Europe is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), registered in England, charity number 1184799.

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