The Future of English Language Assessment in Learning Systems 

The British Council New Directions in Language Assessment East Asia will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, not only as a well-recognised event bringing together the language testing and wider educational communities in the region and beyond, but also as a proud part of the UK-Vietnam Season of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of British-Vietnamese diplomatic relations and the 30th anniversary of the British Council in Vietnam.

After a decade of bringing together the language assessment and learning community of East Asia to engage in discussion on key topics and to share innovative solutions to challenges in testing and education, the New Directions in Language Assessment East Asia 2023 conference looks to the future of assessment as a driver of learning and education system reform. We take a retrospective view of how the shifts in language, learning and assessment over the last 10 years are shaping the future of English and education systems across the region. We also take a step back to gain a broader perspective on the role of language testing in the teaching, learning and assessment system, and we consider a more holistic view of the integrated skills that make up communicative proficiency. The conference aims to explore questions around what English will look like and how it will be used, what broader competencies are necessary in a rapidly changing and digitally enabled communication landscape and how these can be developed and assessed, and what the potential consequences of language education policy and reform in the region could be. The three conference strands centre around these questions and reflect past shifts and future directions in the field.

The British Council Future of English exhibition, available to all conference attendees, will provide a rich context of exploration for the New Directions main themes.

We look forward to welcoming researchers, educators and policy makers to the New Directions in Language Assessment in Hanoi and to the wider UK-Vietnam Season of events in 2023. 


1. Taking a holistic view: English language, learning systems, and assessment

The aim of this strand is to take a broader perspective on assessment and its role and influence within wider systems of education and contemporary communication. In the first instance, papers exploring how assessment connects and drives teaching and learning are welcomed, particularly those grounded in local contexts of learning. Also invited are presentations of research and theoretical perspectives on the necessity and challenges of broadening the construct that we assess in response to the rapidly evolving, multifaceted and digitally driven contemporary communication context.

2. Multilingualism: Positive policy and consequences

In the context of a region that encompasses a multitude of local languages, influential regional varieties of English, as well as regional and global lingua francas not limited to English, this subtheme aims to explore how language learning and assessment policy can foster greater inclusivity and diversity within the learning system and strengthen global participation of plurilingual citizens. Of particular interest are paper proposals that showcase linguistically and culturally inclusive policy interventions and projects, or research on integration of linguistic variety and translanguaging in both teaching and assessment.

3. Assessing Young Learners: Tests and technology as learning enablers

As English language becomes a necessary skill to compete in a globalised world and is increasingly integrated in learning systems at primary and secondary levels, this strand considers the challenges around responsible assessment of Young Learners and explores the opportunities to use innovative approaches to ensure that testing supports learning as part of a holistic education system.

New Directions in Language Assessment conference in East Asia: A retrospective

Building upton our three strands, we also look at some of the key themes and drivers around language assessment in the region across the last decade – 10 years after the first ND EA was held in November 2013 at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Drawing on discussions and presentations from previous conferences, we delve into the ideas and trends that have – sometimes unexpectedly – influenced and shaped the language learning and assessment world. From localisation to internationalisation, from pandemic to plurilingualism, from Beijing to Bali and beyond, this strand reflects on the visions, harbingers and promises for the future that the New Directions in Language Assessment East Asia conference series encompassed so far. Presentations and discussions will be invited from past presenters and partners.