Dr JIN Yan is a professor of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at the School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. She has been involved in research and practice of language testing and assessment since the late 1980s and has rich experience in the operation of language assessment programs. Her research interest focuses on the development and validation of large-scale and high-stakes language assessments. She is currently chair of the National College English Testing Committee and Vice President of the Asian Association for Language Assessment. She is also co-editor-in-chief of the Springer open-access journal Language Testing in Asia. She in on the editorial boards of international and Chinese journals including Language Testing, International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, Classroom Discourse, Foreign Language Testing and Teaching, Foreign Languages in China, Foreign Language World, Foreign Language Education in China, Contemporary Foreign Languages Studies.

Abstract: The interface between language teaching and testing: the role of local standards

In recent decades, especially since the publication of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe. 2001), languages testers are often encouraged or compelled to align locally developed language tests to internationally influential language frameworks. While such an alignment may increase the transparency or enhance the power of local assessments, the question remains as to whether or to what extent language education in a local context benefits from the alignment. In this talk, I will discuss the interface between language teaching and language testing and argue for the significance of contextualized local standards underpinning language education policies.

I will provide the rationale for developing the China’s Standards of English, a national framework of English recently developed in China, and emphasize the importance of embedding language standards in the local educational context. I will also discuss the challenges facing the use of national standards for vastly different contexts of English language education in China. Standards for English language education also take the form of national curricula, and high-stakes language assessments are closely aligned to curricular requirements. As an illustration, I will examine the role of the national College English Curricular Requirements in the reform of the College English Test, a national testing system for learners of English in higher education, and discuss the interaction between English language teaching and testing. Finally, I will examine the intricate relationship among the national standards of English, national curricula, and high-stakes assessments, and make suggestions for the way forward.