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Preface: language assessment literacy

This special issue brings together cutting-edge research and highlights the issues involved in the understanding of language assessment. Language assessment literacy (LAL) includes skill in the procedures for evaluating language abilities, the ability to construct sound and suitable assessments, and, just as importantly, the understanding of appropriate mechanisms of feedback that assist learners to improve their target language and reach their short- and long-term goals. For this special issue, four papers concerning various aspects of language assessment literacy have been accepted for publication.

Firoozi, Razavipour, and Ahmadi investigated the language assessment literacy needs of Iranian EFL teachers with a focus on reformed assessment policies. Their study revealed that the teachers’ current perceptions of language assessment need to undergo change to keep up with the standards, criteria, and learners’ needs. They highlight the need for more training in both pedagogical knowledge and in the skills associated with language assessment.

Sultana studied the language assessment literacy as an uncharted area for English language teachers in Bangladesh. She investigated two central concerns: firstly, whether the English teachers in Bangladesh are academically and professionally ready to perform various testing tasks and, secondly, how the teachers perceive language assessment literacy in their teaching. The findings indicated the inadequate academic and professional testing background of teachers in Bangladesh which caused problems in their performance in doing assessment-related tasks.

Ölmezer-Öztürkand Aydin inquired into measuring language teachers’ assessment knowledge through the development and validation of the Language Assessment Knowledge Scale (LAKS). They developed LAKS with 60 items and 4 constructs (assessing reading, assessing listening, assessing writing, and assessing speaking). The findings indicated that LAKS had a good model-data fit with the obtained factor loads, and Cronbach alpha coefficients were satisfactory. They argued that LAKS has the potential for being used as a valid and reliable instrument to measure language teachers’ assessment knowledge.

Finally, Coombe, Vafadar, and Mohebbi reviewed language assessment literacy. They examined the current measures for checking teachers’ language assessment literacy and highlighted the gaps in this field. They also offered venues for future research.

We hope this special issue fills the perceived gap in the field of language assessment literacy and triggers more robust research in different contexts as we do need more investigation to come up with clear perceptions about the construct of language assessment literacy, and its measurements and applications.

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Christine Coombe and Hassan Mohebbi as the Guest Editors of the Special Issue of Language Assessment Literacy for Language Testing in Asia wrote this preface jointly based on the accepted and published papers in this special issue.

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Correspondence to Hassan Mohebbi.

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Mohebbi, H., Coombe, C. Preface: language assessment literacy. Lang Test Asia 10, 4 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40468-020-00103-4

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