Language Assessment in an International Academic Context

Thursday 1 November 2012, CIP’s fifth symposium was held. This year the symposium revolved around the issue of language assessment in an international academic context as well as key issues related to choosing a teaching and working language at universities and other institutions of higher education. The symposium was well-attended with representatives from all over Denmark as well as from universities abroad. This year’s keynote speaker was professor emeritus Bernard Spolsky from Bal-Ilan University. 

”Testing the Language Competence of Professors, or Why Doesn’t the Zoology Department Hire Rhinoceroses to Teach?”

Bernard Spolsky, professor emeritus, Bar-Ilan University

Bernard Spolsky

Keynote speaker Bernard Spolsky focused on the type of testing that many university teachers are subject to when institutions of higher education want to ensure that the level of language competence of a given teacher is adequate for teaching in English.

”Life After Certification: The Formative Aspect of TOEPAS”

Slobodanka Dimova

Slobodanka Dimova, CIP
Associate professor Slobodanka Dimova presented the preliminary results of her research project on CIP’s certification of university lecturers’ English language competences, the so-called Test of Oral English Proficiency for Academic Staff (TOEPAS). The aim of this project is to examine how the tests results of the TOEPAS are put to use by the lecturers who have been through the certification process. In her presentation Slobodanka also reflected on how this knowledge can be used to shape the certification process in the future.

"Test og prøver i dansk som andetsprog - Muligheder og begrænsninger i forhold til udviklingen af relevante kommunikationskompetencer"

Karen Lund, Aarhus University
Karen Lund from Aarhus University gave a presentation in Danish, which explored the positive and problematic aspects of using the CEFR as a point of departure when developing tests that are relevant for Danish as a second language contexts.

Karen Lund

”Language Testing, World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca: The Case for Evidence-based Change.”

Luke Harding

Luke Harding, Lancaster University
This year’s symposium also gave CIP an opportunity to invite Luke Harding from Lancaster University. In his presentation Harding discussed the implications of the role of the English language as an international language for the testing of English language competencies.

Panel discussion: Implications of language assessment in an international academic context

The symposium also included a panel discussion that focused on the implications of language assessment in an international academic context. The panel was composed of all four invited speakers as well as the director of CIP Anne Holmen. The panel discussion was characterized by a high level of interest and participation from the entire auditorium and facilitated a lively and wide-ranging discussion about language assessment.

Finally, Anne Holmen rounded off the day by thanking all participants for contributing to yet another successful symposium.