Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments

Shaping English Language Assessments
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CaMLA Attends MiTESOL in Waterford, Michigan
November 15, 2017 | By: Rachel Basse, PhD
Categories: Conferences, TESOL

On October 20 and 21, CaMLA staff met with colleagues at MITESOL 2017, hosted this year by Oakland Schools in Waterford, Michigan. The Michigan Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (MITESOL) is an affiliate of TESOL international. The conference drew over 400 attendees comprised of ESL teachers, instructors, program coordinators, researchers, and language assessment professionals.

MiTESOL attendees

From the left: Rachel Basse, Renee Saulter, Susan Haines. Not pictured: Britta Krisjanis.

CaMLA was in attendance as an exhibitor this year, showcasing our computer-based English Placement Test (EPT). We enjoyed connecting with program directors and instructors to discuss the needs of their learners and how our products could best support their programs.

The theme of the conference this year was “Promoting Equity and Excellence,” with talks focusing on a range of topics, including promoting linguistic support and resources for immigrant and refugee students, fostering mindfulness in ESL classrooms, and using technology to support learning outcomes.

Keynote speaker Dr. Mary Schleppegrell of the University of Michigan and plenary speaker Dr. Holly Hansen-Thomas of Texas Woman’s University both discussed integrating linguistic strategies and functional language to support English language learners in content classrooms.

CaMLA Assessment Developer Renée Saulter co-delivered a paper entitled “Ensuring Equity for ELLs with Disabilities,” which explored the history and challenges of administering second language assessments to test takers with disabilities. This talk examined how to adapt the content, format, and administration of proficiency assessments while ensuring consistency.

Other highlights included the presentation of results of a CaMLA Spaan research grant entitled “Promoting Equity in a Speaking Test: Face-to-face vs. Recorded Delivery.” Presented by Ildiko Porter-Szucs and Cynthia Macknish of Eastern Michigan University, this paper discussed how the delivery method of speaking tests can influence a test taker’s performance.

Overall, the conference provided a wonderful forum for language professionals to discuss pedagogical techniques, resources, and new research. Thanks to all who attended, the organizers, and volunteers!

The 2018 MITESOL conference will be held at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. We look forward to another great conference next year!

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