Conference Announcements

LARC 2018

2018 Language Assessment Research Conference (LARC)

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 – Fri, 23 Mar 2018

Validation research in language assessment:

Contributions from methods in applied linguistics

Iowa State University is pleased to announce that it will host the 2018 Language Assessment Research Conference (LARC). This conference will take place March 21-23, 2018, in Ames, Iowa. LARC is being held in an effort to fill the growing need for a language assessment conference that is accessible to researchers in North America.

LARC 2018 will provide a forum for concentrated discussion of applied linguistics methods used in validation studies for language assessments to support a range of claims about the validity of test score interpretations, uses, and consequences. Research methods in applied linguistics appear to be increasingly useful in language testing research because of the need to investigate new types of language tests for an expanded set of purposes delivered by ever-changing technologies. Some methods of interest in validation studies are response process analysis, such as eye-tracking, conversation analysis, corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, language-focused ethnography, critical inquiry into policy issues, differential item functioning, factor analysis, generalizability theory, Many-facet Rasch Measurement, and structural equation modeling.

Plenary Speakers

Alister Cumming
Professor Emeritus
University of Toronto

Dorry Kenyon
Vice President, Director of Assessment
Center for Applied Linguistics

Tim McNamara
Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor
University of Melbourne
President, AAAL

LARC invites presentations reporting validation studies as well as papers that explore issues in language assessment and raise new questions by expanding the analytic perspectives used in research. Testing contexts of interest include all levels of educational testing as well as language testing conducted by governments and in the private sector.  We are particularly interested in sessions proposing theoretical and empirical presentations addressing such issues as the following:

  • Theoretical rationales and empirical evidence that help to define oral and written communication for language testing in the digital age
  • Approaches for maximizing the complementary contributions of human evaluators and computer-assisted analysis of language performance in learning and assessment
  • Security issues associated with the use of technology for test administration, data gathering, and storage of information
  • Screen capture and eye-tracking technologies used to help explain the constructs underlying test performance and/or performance in other language use situations
  • Qualitative studies of electronic communication in the wild that inform construct definitions for language tests
  • Quantitative studies of language test performances that provide evidence about constructs underlying test performance.
  • Corpus-based studies of particular registers of language use that help delimit the scope for extrapolation of test scores and that problematize the construct of general language ability
  • Computer-assisted research on second language pronunciation and intelligibility with implications for testing oral communication
  • Implications of machine learning methods of text classification for assessment of language performance.
  • Connections between language assessment and the evaluation of learning in technology-rich environments
  • Issues in gathering, combining and interpreting multiple sources of data in a validity argument

We welcome proposals for the following types of sessions:

Papers should present theoretical or empirical research. They are 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions. Proposals for empirical studies should provide background and reasons for the research, descriptions of methodology, findings, and implications. Proposals for conceptual papers should introduce the problem addressed in the paper, provide the theoretical orientation or new approach, and indicate the logic of the argument the paper will present. Paper proposals should be between 450 and 500 words.

Colloquia consist of three or four research papers in a 90-minute session. They should include an introductory paper in addition to the three or four papers, and a discussant. The entire proposal should be between 900 and 1,000 words. This should include an overview of the theme of the colloquium and its significance for language assessment, along with titles and descriptions of each research paper.

Technology Demonstrations
Demonstrations allow presenters to showcase software used for any aspect of language assessment development, delivery, or research. They are 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions. Proposals should be between 450 and 500 words and should provide a purpose for the technology, how it can benefit the language testing process, principles of its development, and implications/challenges of its use. Actual demonstrations of the technology and its uses are preferred, but sessions with screenshots or other ways of showing the technology will be considered.

Posters give presenters an opportunity to discuss assessment research or test development projects with a small group of participants. Presenters should be available to display and discuss their posters during a 60-minute session. Proposals for poster presentations should be between 350 and 400 words.

Research in Progress (Roundtable format)
Works in progress give presenters an opportunity to discuss and get feedback on research or test development projects which are incomplete. Presenters will be given time to share their work and get feedback from small groups of participants. Proposals should be between 350 and 400 words.

Evaluation of Proposals 

All proposals will be subject to a double blind review by two professionals in the field. Criteria will include the proposal’s clarity, adequacy of the proposer’s fulfillment of the requested characteristics for each of the categories of submission, as well as the overall significance for language assessment.

Abstracts due September 15, 2017

Applied Linguistic falculty,Lowa State University
Conference Website:
Lowa State University

Ames, IA 50011
Ames, Ames
United States