Sue Garton is Professor of Applied Linguistics (TESOL) at Aston University, Birmingham, UK. She has been an English language teacher and teacher educator for nearly 40 years, working with teachers from all over the world. In her current role, she teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate modules in TESOL and English language. She has published widely in the area of TESOL including The Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners, and is co-series editor of the 15-volume International Perspectives in ELT series, published by Palgrave Macmillan (both with Fiona Copland). Her research interests are in language teacher education, teaching young learners and classroom discourse.


Plenary: Assessing Young Learners: Teachers’ and children’s perspectives 

Day 3 - Sunday 29 October - 09.15-11.30

The introduction of languages into primary schools has been called ‘... possibly the world’s biggest policy development in education’ Johnstone (2009 :33) and overwhelmingly the language introduced is English. Such a rapid and widespread policy change has brought with it numerous challenges, not least in the area of assessment. In many countries, while new curricula are based on communicative competence, state tests tend to still be grammar-based, causing difficulties for teachers. Moreover, teachers are often expected to carry out classroom-based assessments without any training or support. 

In this talk I will draw on data from four British Council-funded projects to look at assessment from the perspective of both teachers and children. I will discuss how assessment is organised in state primary schools in different countries around the world,  what teachers consider to be ‘assessment’, their attitudes towards it and its effect on their practices. I will also look at what children think about being assessed, focusing particularly on young learners in Bangladesh, Malawi, Mexico and Uzbekistan. The implications for policy makers, school authorities and teachers will also be considered.


Panel chair: Assessment as learning enabler in teaching Young Learners 

Day 3 - Sunday 29 October - 13.45-15.00

With children learning English at ever younger ages, there comes a need to develop assessment that specifically targets the young learner population. Our panel of experts will discuss assessment as a learning enabler for young learners from a variety of perspectives:

Kyungia Ahn will focus on the way in which trends in assessing young learners have developed in Korea with a growing emphasis on assessment for learning and classroom-based assessment .

Itje Chodidjah‘s concern is also with classroom-based assessment and especially the importance learning objectives as determining the validity and reliability of the assessment for young learners. 

Ruth Horsfall will discuss the role of empowering learners and learner autonomy in the assessment process. She is particularly interested in how younger learners perceive the progress they make  in language learning and how seeing and understanding this progress can motivate and drive further learning. 

Jing Wei will bring a technology focus to the panel to discuss how technology can be harnessed to transform the landscape of young learner assessment. She is concerned with questions such as the use of technology to generate assessment contents in ways that were not possible previously.