Critical discourse analysis for language assessment
In this workshop participants will be invited to consider the relationship between language assessment as a social phenomenon and politics in the broadest sense, from state-level policies to classroom-level practices. While the role of politics in language assessment has been discussed extensively by a number of scholars, it has not necessarily been subjected to systematic and theoretically rigorous analysis. Participants will be introduced to (or reminded of) the key principles of critical discourse studies (CDS) as an interdisciplinary endeavour, and the methodologies typically associated with one specific form of CDS, the discourse-historical approach. There will follow an opportunity to explore how these could be applied to a range of assessment-related contexts, including the language of test instructions and items, government language policies related to immigration, and media discourse on language assessment. In advance of the workshop, participants are invited to think about examples of language assessment contexts they feel are ideologically fraught or ethically problematic, and should come prepared to briefly describe one or two of these to the other participants.