France Éducation International at the ALTE annual conference
The Association of Language Testers in Europe organised its eighth international conference in Madrid, from 26 to 28 April 2023, entitled "Language Assessment Fit for the Future". Some 300 people attended the conference, and France Éducation International presented three papers at this major event for certification bodies.
The programme was structured around the following three themes:
- Fit for the Digital Future
- Diversity and Inclusion in Language Assessment
- Implementation of Framework
Increasing demand for audits
The first presentation, given by Nick Saville, General Secretary of ALTE, Waldemar Martyniuk, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Vincent Folny, Chairman of the Standing Committee and expert at France Éducation International (FEI), gave an overview of ALTE audits.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the official use of the ALTE quality label and a growing demand for audits. Since 2007, ALTE has carried out 104 audits and 114 examination centres have obtained the Q-mark quality label for 20 European languages. ALTE's objective is to increase its audit capacity while reaffirming its values and taking into account the impact of emerging technologies. Another challenge to overcome: working on recognising the quality of language examinations, open to a diverse range of speakers, but firmly anchored in quality assessments for the benefit of candidates and institutions.
In a second presentation, Vincent Folny outlined the assessment corpus that will be used to validate the use of automated marking for written tests in the test de connaissance du français [French language test] (TCF). To do this, 1,083 pieces of written work were assessed by 55 markers from France Éducation International, and the 15,000 assessments produced by the markers were analysed and calibrated using a mathematical model (a multifaceted Rasch model). This comprehensive and robust corpus will make it possible to analyse and validate the functioning of the marking solution.
New assessment grids
The third presentation dealt with the new assessment grids for the DELF-DALF oral and written tests, which came into force in September 2022. The FEI experts, Vincent Folny and Marie Gouelleu, explained that the main aim of these grids was to improve the accuracy of the marking, by linking the score categories more closely to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Assessing performance by using precise descriptors makes it easier to distinguish between the candidates’ levels, thereby correcting the prescriptive bias of previous grids. Examiners will require time to adapt to this new assessment process, which is essential to maintaining the decentralised approach to marking that France Éducation International aims to preserve, so as to safeguard and develop local skills.