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Deadline for submission of full manuscripts: 31st May, 2020

Special Issue Call for Papers

Use of Innovative Technology in Oral Language Assessment

We are pleased to announce a Special Issue of Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, anticipated to appear in 2021/2022, which will be dedicated to the exploration of the innovative use of technology in oral language assessment.

There is no doubt that exponential advances in technology and the increased availability of high-speed internet in recent years have changed the way we communicate orally in social, educational and professional contexts. In this climate, it is not surprising that practices in the field of language assessment have started incorporating new technologies to administer speaking tests as well as scoring test-takers’ oral performance and providing feedback to them. For example, semi-direct speaking tests can now deal with complex integrated tasks (e.g. TOEFL iBT), and learners can take speaking tests using their own mobile devices (e.g. Liulishuo in China). Examiner training can be fully conducted online (e.g. British Council’s Aptis test system), and apps to facilitate examiners’ face-to-face test administrations have also been developed to guide them through the examination process, record test sessions as well as allow them to enter score results (e.g. TEAP in Japan). Video-conferencing is connecting examiners and test-takers in remote locations (e.g. Berry et al., 2018; Davis et al., 2017), and the use of virtual environments is being explored to provide more authentic contextual cues for EAP and ESP speaking tests (e.g. Ockey et al., 2017). Auto-scoring systems for spoken language have been developed and used by various exam boards (e.g. PTE Academic) and the usefulness of individualised feedback in computer-based assessment has been demonstrated (e.g. Dunlop, 2017). While these innovations have opened the door to types of speaking test tasks which were previously not possible and have contributed to providing language test practitioners with more efficient ways of being standardised and of delivering tests, it must be noted that “each of the affordances offered by technology also raises a new set of issues to be tackled” (Chapelle, 2018).

It has been over 15 years since a Special Issue on the use of technology in assessment across disciplines was published in Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice (McFarlane, ed., 2003, Special Issue: Assessment for the Digital Age). Since then, there have been a number of papers comparing aspects of technology-based assessment with more traditional methods (e.g. Adie, 2012; Jerrim, 2016) and others focusing on the importance of language in different assessment contexts (e.g. use of language in test instructions and how translation into different languages affects the difficulty of science items; Doherty et al., 2011; El Masri et al., 2016), indicating the interest of this journal’s readers in technology and language issues. However, in the past 15 years, there has not been a collected volume dedicated to different technologies in language assessment.

Given the rapid advances in technology and the increasingly accepted view amongst assessment specialists that technology will play an even more significant role in the future of language testing, this Special Issue aims to offer timely insights for future oral test development, addressing both the opportunities and challenges presented by technology-mediated and technology-assisted speaking tests. We would particularly welcome the submission of abstracts that discuss innovative research into oral assessment in countries that are typically under-represented in international journals published in English.

We invite both empirical and conceptual papers on topics including (but not limited to):

  • construct definitions of different speaking tests involving technology-mediated and other modes
  • development of technology-mediated speaking assessments for languages other than English
  • development/use of technology-mediated speaking assessments in educational settings
  • innovative scoring systems for spoken language, including automated-scoring and individualised feedback
  • issues emerging from technology-mediated delivery modes, e.g. platforms, examiner training, IT support, standard setting, etc.
  • issues related to the context and/or scoring validity of technology-mediated speaking tests
  • opportunities and challenges in developing computer-mediated speaking tests
  • test-takers’ speaking performance across different conditions involving technology-mediated and other modes of delivery
  • policy and practice in the use of technology in speaking assessment
  • test-takers’, interlocutors’, examiners/raters’ and other stakeholders’ perceptions of technology-mediated speaking tests
  • use of technology (e.g. Apps, online systems/platforms) to facilitate oral examiner training and/or test administration
  • use of technology-mediated speaking tests with young learners

Submission Details

Guest Editors: Dr. Fumiyo Nakatsuhara and Dr. Vivien Berry

Expressions of interest (800 - 1000 words) should give a working title and outline the proposed content, including the rationale, theoretical/conceptual frameworks being considered, methods, findings, and implications for practice.  Email proposals and any informal inquiries to Dr Fumiyo Nakatsuhara copying Dr Vivien Berry.

Authors of successful proposals will be invited to submit a full article (5,000-7,000 words excluding references). Please note that encouragement to proceed to a full submission does not guarantee publication.  Articles received will be subject to full double blind peer review using normal journal procedures. 

Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice provides a focus for scholarly output in the field of assessment. The journal is explicitly international in focus and encourages contribution from a wide range of assessment systems and cultures. The intention is to explore both commonalities and differences in policy and practice.

Assessment in Education is the official journal of the International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA).

Full paper for review: 31st May 2020 to be submitted through the journal website following the journal’s Instructions for Authors

For further information about Journal Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, its aims and scope, and its peer review policy, please see Journal Homepage


Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

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Submission Timeline

July 2019: Call for proposals issued

31st October 2019: Deadline for proposals – 800 - 1000 words

30 November 2019: Decision on proposals communicated to authors

31st May 2020: Deadline for submission of full manuscripts  - 5000 – 7000 words

31st July 2020: Editors’ reviews to authors

31st October 2020: Submission of revised manuscripts to the Special Issue editors

30th November 2020: Manuscripts out for peer review

2021/2022: Anticipated publication      

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