Since 2013, New Directions in English Language Assessment has connected with several key cities in East Asia.

The conference consists of plenaries, collaborative workshops as well as open meeting spaces that focus on the year’s chosen themes, providing an opportunity for networking and becoming an important conference in the English Language assessment and testing calendar. 

Here are some of our conference highlights from over the last few years: 

New Directions 2018: Kuala Lumpur

6th New Directions in English Language Assessment: Standards in Learning Systems

22-23 October 2018 at the Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Conference theme: Standards in Learning Systems

The conference aimed to provide a forum for the presentation of innovative approaches and practical solutions, with a focus on real-life case studies and works-in-progress reports. 

  • Whether standards should be the priority in ensuring that the English language ability of students is adequate for their future needs. 
  • The risks of borrowing standards from one system to set goals and make policy decisions in other contexts. 
  • The alignment of existing national tests to local or international proficiency standards. 
  • How these national or international standards inform language teaching and learning. 
  • The future role of artificial intelligence in language testing, particular in large-scale assessment. 
  • The adaptation of international standards and frameworks to localized contexts. 

Key Speakers 

  • Professor Barry O’Sullivan, Head of Research & Development at the British Council 
  • Geoff Stead, Chief Product Officer at Babbel
  • Dr. Carol Spöttl, Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, University of Innsbruck, Head of the Language Testing Group Innsbruck (LTRGI) 
  • Han Baocheng, Deputy Director of the National Research Centre for Foreign Language Education, Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU)
  • Dr. Hanan Khalifa, Head of Research & International Education, Cambridge Assessment English 
  • Dr. Souba Rethinasamy, Associate Professor, Faculty of Language and Communication, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

New Directions 2017: Shanghai

5th British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment: Connecting Assessment and Learning 

2-3 December 2017, Shanghai, China  

Conference Theme: Connecting Assessment with Teaching and Learning 

The 5th New Directions 2017 in Shanghai looked at: 

  • Language Proficiency Frameworks 
  • Language Assessment Literacy 
  • Foreign Language Testing for Employability 
  • Artificial Intelligence and Technology in Language Testing

Key Speakers

  • Professor Jin Yan
    Shanghai Jiaotong University, Chair of National College English Testing Committee, China 
  • Professor Liu Jianda
    Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China 
  • Luke Harding
    Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University, UK 
  • Professor James Enos Purpura
    Teacher’s College, Columbia University, USA 
  • Professor Barry O’Sullivan
    Head of Research & Development, English language Assessment, British Council 

New Directions 2016: Hanoi

4th British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment: Standardised testing and the Development and Use of Proficiency Scales 

13-14 October 2016, Hanoi, Vietnam  

Conference Theme: Standardised testing and the development and use of proficiency scales: Addressing local challenges, meeting global standards 

The 4th New Directions 2016 in Hanoi looked at: 

  • Standardised Testing; 
  • Proficiency Testing; 
  • Performance-Based Testing.

Key Speakers 

  • Professor Paul Seedhouse 
    Newcastle University, UK 
  • Dr. Phu Ti PhuongAnh 
    Education Quality, Training and Support Centre, Vietnam 
  • Dr. Veronica Benigno 
    Pearson, UK 
  • Dr. Gad Lim 
    Cambridge English Language Assessment, UK 
  • Dr. Jessica Wu 
    The Language Training and Testing Centre, Taiwan 
  • Dr. Jamie Dunlea 
    British Council, UK 
  • Ms Wu Sha 
    National Education Examinations Authority, China

New Directions 2015: Seoul

3rd British Council New Directions in English Language Assessment 

15-16 October 2015, JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square, Seoul, Korea 

Conference Theme: Quality and Consequence 

The 3rd New Directions 2015 in Seoul looked at: 

  • Test quality 
  • Consequences of testing from the point of view of society and education policy 
  • Impact of testing on pedagogy and curriculum design; 
  • Examining the challenges in the testing and assessment sector and solutions to be found if countries such as Korea are to address the concerns amongst the wider public about the integrity and quality of testing methodologies. 

Key Speakers 

  • Young-Soo Kim  
    President of Korea Institute for Curriculum & Evaluation (KICE), Korea 
  • Professor  Constant Leung  
    King's College London, UK 
  • Nick Saville  
    Director of Cambridge English Language Assessment, UK 
  • Professor Antony John Kunnan  
    Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 
  • Professor John H.A.L. De Jong  
    Pearson Netherlands 
  • Elizabeth Shepherd  
    Senior Research Manager, British Council 
  • Associate Professor Yong-Won Lee  
    Seoul National University, Korea 
  • Professor Barry O'Sullivan  
    British Council 
  • Professor Han Baocheng  
    Beijing Foreign Studies University, China 
  • Professor Dongwan Cho  
    Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea 
  • Professor Tineke Brunfaut  
    Lancaster University, UK

New Directions 2014: Tokyo

2nd New Directions in English Language Assessment 

29-30 September 2014, Meiji Kinenkan, Tokyo, Japan 

Conference theme: Role of English Assessment in Internationalisation 

The 2nd New Directions 2014 in Tokyo looked at: 

  • issues of localisation and globalisation in English Language Assessment; 
  • issues of expanding capacity to address current and future education and assessment challenges. 

It also provided a valuable networking opportunity and set the stage for further cooperation among key audience and attendees from Asian countries and beyond.

Key Speakers 

  • Professor Masashi Negishi 
    Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
  • Professor Oryang Kwon
    Seoul National University
  • Dr. Jessica R.W. Wu 
    The Language Training & Testing Centre
  • Gerry Delaney
    Head of Assessment Services (East Asia), Cambridge English Language Assessment
  • Keita Nakamura
    Eiken Foundation of Japan
  • Kuniaki Sato 
    Deputy Director, Office for International Planning, Higher Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology 

New Directions 2013: Beijing

1st New Directions in English Language Assessment: Language Assessment in China 

6-7 November 2013 at the National Museum of China, Beijing, China 

Conference Theme: Assessment for Learning 

The 1st New Directions 2013 in Beijing looked at: 

  • Washback and formative assessment;  
  • Localisation and customisation;  
  • Adapting tests to Chinese contexts and developing English teacher assessment literacy.

Key Speakers 

  • Professor Jin Yan 
    Shanghai Jiaotong University, Chair of National College English Testing Committee 
  • Professor Barry O’Sullivan  
    Senior Advisor, English Language Assessment, British Council 
  • Professor Han Baocheong  
    Beijing Foreign Studies University, Director of China Language Assessment Research Society 
  • Andrew Mackenzie  
    Head of Assessment Service, British Council 
  • Keita Nakamura / Shuken Shiozaki 
    Eiken Foundation of Japan

See also