Keynote: Looking at the past, present and future of the CEFR around the globe – from the CEFR to a CGFR?

In my talk, I will take you on a journey around the globe, in order to trace the impact the CEFR has had, is currently having, and may in the future have in different regions around the world. Based on a literature review, and based on a series of interviews that I am currently conducting with international assessment specialists, I will analyse to which extent the CEFR was or is being used in language education and assessment. We will explore different approaches and attitudes to the framework, challenges and benefits of adopting or adapting it, common (mis)interpretations of what the CEFR is and what it can do for us, as well as the impact the CEFR has (had) on language education, assessment and evaluation, teacher training, and language policies around the globe. I will round off my talk by a look into the future, presenting recommendations such as on how to implement the CEFR in different contexts, how to complement the rich resources around the CEFR to make them more accessible. Finally, I would like to discuss with you whether and how the “European” Framework could be turned into a Common Global Framework of Reference.

Claudia Harsch

Claudia Harsch is a professor at the University of Bremen, specialising in language learning, teaching and assessment. She has worked in Germany and in the UK, and is active in teacher training worldwide. Her research interests focus on areas such as language assessment, language and migration, the development of language assessment literacy, and the implementation of the CEFR. Claudia is the current president of the International Language Testing Association, and was president of the European Association of Language Testing and Assessment from 2016-2019.



Keynote: Days of Future Passed: Language Testing in Europe

The title of this talk is taken from a famous album from a band called The Moody Blues recorded in 1967. In the album, the group told the story of a day in the life of an everyday person, breaking the story into distinct parts from dawn to noon to night. Taking a similar approach, I will present a broad picture of the European language testing landscape, from the origins of educational assessment on the continent to the more recent formalisation of language testing within our education systems. I will then move on to look at the present view before considering what the future might hold.

Much of the detail contained in the talk will be based on a survey in which respondents from across the continent reflected on what forces influence key decisions in particular countries. These decisions can range from what and how to test on the one hand, to the underlying drivers on the other. Additional observations will be drawn from other sources, such as the Future of English project recently undertaken by the British Council and from the personal experiences of a number of participating interviewees with a broad experience of the European language testing context.

The main objective of this talk is to present attendees with a broad overview of where we are and how we got here, while also considering how language testing, and indeed other educational assessment, is likely to change in the coming years. In particular, I hope to encourage attendees to rise to the challenge of integrating recently emerged technology into our existing systems to build a new prototypical European approach to language testing and assessment from both theoretical and practical perspectives.

Barry O'Sullivan

Professor Barry O’Sullivan OBE has been involved in language testing for over thirty years. He has written extensively on the subject, with over one hundred publications, and has presenting his work at conferences around the world on many occasions. He designed and led the development and validation of the British Council’s Aptis test and is recognised for his work on the socio-cognitive model of test development and validation. He has also contributed significantly to assessment in education policy though his paper on the comprehensive learning system (2020) and his work on localisation in learning systems. Most recently, he has explored the practical application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to language assessment.

Barry is the founding president of the UK Association of Language Testing and Assessment and is a visiting professor at the University of Reading in the UK and a special advisory professor to Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.

His work has been recognized by the Academy of Social Sciences in the UK (awarded fellowship in 2016); The Asian Association for Language Assessment (elected to fellowship in 2017); and by the government of the UK (awarded an OBE in 2019).