Dr. Ofra Inbar-Lourie, Tel-Aviv University EALTA 2015 Keynote

Dr. Ofra Inbar-Lourie, Tel-Aviv University
EALTA 2015
Bridging the policy-practice formative assessment gap: A language assessment
literacy perspective
Ever since Black and Wiliam's seminal 1998 'Inside the Blackbox' publication and the ensuing
'Assessment for Learning' movement, formative assessment paradigms have become part
and parcel of educational assessment policies in many parts of the world. The language
testing field is also gradually acknowledging and partially embracing formative assessment
motifs, striving to create cultures where assessment 'for', 'as', and 'of' learning co-exist
harmoniously. However, contrary to these somewhat idealized expectations, reality shows
that external tests still powerfully prevail and dominate the scene nurtured by national and
international policies and standards, while implementation of formative assessment for
learning principles and practices lags far behind the declared policies.
This presentation will attempt to critically probe what may account for this discrepancy and
what has and is going amiss in the process. It will first question the robustness of the theory
and its dichotomous underpinnings, its feasibility and resilience in view of strong global and
local language policies as well as complex classroom realities. It will then suggest examining
the role of language assessment literacy in enhancing and bridging the gap between
assessment policies and practices.