UKALTAEditor’s note: TIRF recently became aware of some exciting news about a new association established in our field. We are happy to share the following announcement from Barry O’Sullivan, President of the United Kingdom Association for Language Testing and Assessment (UKALTA).

The idea for the UKALTA grew out of the Language Testing Forum (LTF) – the annual gathering of language assessment researchers and practitioners from around the United Kingdom, which has been running since 1980. Since 2014, there has been discussion of developing an organisation which would support the conference, and which would also provide professional support for those working on language testing and assessment within the UK. In 2015, a working group was set-up to gather views and ideas from different regions within the UK, and a steering committee then drafted a constitution for the association. An interim executive committee was officially elected at the 2016 LTF conference in Oxford, and since then the interim executive has been working to set up a website and prepare for a formal launch of UKALTA.

UKALTA has already been approached to provide representation on language assessment issues for the Committee of Linguistics in Education (CLIE), and will seek to work closely with organisations such as ILTA and EALTA, as well as relevant bodies within the UK. We are particularly interested in growing our network to include teachers/assessors of English for academic purposes or English as a second language, of foreign languages at school and university level in the UK, and of the UK’s indigenous languages.

UKALTA’s aims are:

  • to provide a forum for the exchange of information and research on language testing and assessment in the UK;
  •  to provide a framework for supporting the language testing research community in the UK, and to mentor new and emerging researchers and professionals working in the field.
  • to encourage research and discussion on the assessment of a broad spectrum of languages in the UK, and actively seek to establish close relationships with organizations and societies that focus on language education and assessment issues;
  • to provide a forum for proactively facilitating a greater awareness of issues related to professionalism in language assessment in the UK, and to provide a highly visible source of professional expertise to which educational and corporate organizations, government, and the media will look to for input on issues related to improving language assessment in the UK; and
  • to actively conduct outreach activities to raise awareness of issues related to language testing and assessment in society generally, and improve assessment literacy for both specialist and non-specialist members of the public.

For more information about the UKALTA, please click here.