The Center for Languages & Intercultural Communication at Rice University invites proposals for inclusion in an upcoming special volume to be published in 2020. We hope that you will be a part of this ambitious project.
Assessing Speaking in Context: Expanding the construct and the applications
This edited volume, based upon the Rice University Center for Languages & Intercultural Communication’s conference of the same name held in May 2018, draws together research that takes a critical eye toward assessing speaking in second/foreign languages, with special attention given to reconceptualizing or adapting existing approaches and frameworks. The main contribution of this volume will be the explicit focus on and analysis of the effect of an expanded sociolinguistic definition of speaking that incorporates recent research findings on interactional dynamics of conversations, interviews, etc. (see summary of challenges in the latest issue of Language Testing 2018, 35-3).
Despite their avowed focus on the interactional dynamics of speaking in context, many current assessment models used in institutional settings do not consider the complexity brought about by actual interactional competence in speaking tasks. For instance, paired speaking test formats introduced to the assessment profession in the 1990s (cf., Kenyon, 1992; MacNamara, 1996) have been deemed problematic to assess the L2 proficiency of individual students due to the effect of interlocutors’ differences in proficiency, familiarity, gender, and other factors (e.g., Brown, 2003, 2004; Davis, 2009; Ducasse and Brown, 2009; Gan, 2010; Lazaraton, 1996). Similarly, in contrast with scripted interview questionnaires, unguided informal conversations have been regarded as detrimental for the collection of relevant language samples to perform a fair assessment of proficiency across a large number of students due to the lack of standardization of the procedures to collect language samples (e.g., Bachman, 2007; May, 2011; Seedhouse & Nakatsuhara, 2018; Young, 2011). Finally, there have been few attempts at expanding the realm of assessment of language ability to include paralinguistic and nonlinguistic facets of interactional settings of communication (Ross, 2018).
Overall, there is a gap between the most recent research studies (e.g., Galaczi, 2008, 2014; Roever and Kasper, 2018; Plough et al, 2018; Sandlund et al, 2016; Youn, 2014, 2015) and the current structure of major institutional testing models of speaking (e.g., ACTFL, CEFR). On the other hand, the present volume will also address the ways in which present testing models may be reconceptualized to address the requirements of an expanded theoretical construct of speaking as a dynamic socially-constructed endeavor (e.g., Ross, 2017; Seedhouse, 2013; van Compernolle, 2013).
The volume welcomes a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and aims to include chapters focusing on a variety of assessment and testing settings, ranging from small classroom achievement tests to large scale norm-referenced proficiency tests. A number of guiding questions are particularly relevant for this volume:
Contributors may expand upon the previous set of guiding questions. Both empirical studies and theoretical analyses are welcome.
Please submit a (500-word) abstract to Heather Lazare (email@example.com). We will follow the timeline below:
We will provide the formal submission guidelines for manuscripts once we receive a response from the publisher. The review process will begin following the February deadline.