Riikka Alanen, Ari Huhta, Scott Jarvis, Maisa Martin, Mirja Tarnanen: Issues and Challenges in Combining SLA and Language Testing Research
15 Issues and Challenges in Combining SLA and Language Testing Research Riikka Alanen1 University of Jyväskylä Ari Huhta2 University of Jyväskylä Scott Jarvis3 Ohio University Maisa Martin4 University of Jyväskylä Mirja Tarnanen5 University of Jyväskylä Recent reviews of research on language learning and language assessment reveal a lack of co-operation between the two fields. Combining their strengths, however, could help to address problems which are difficult to tackle from one point of view only. Yet how does such cooperation between language testers and SLA researchers take place in practice? What are the benefits for both parties and what are theoretical and methodological issues that need to be considered? In this chapter, we discuss the methodological and theoretical issues involved in doing and combining SLA and language testing research. For some concrete examples, we will draw on the CEFLING project, a study on the relationship between linguistic features of writing performance and functionally defined language proficiency levels. Finally, we will attempt to show how serious attention to good language testing practice improves the quality of the study and the validity of the findings by ensuring that the elicitation and rating of learners’ performances are dependable. Key words: second language learning, language testing, task-based assessment 1. Introduction In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in combining two rather different fields of research of second language acquisition (SLA) and language testing. At the outset, these two fields do not seem to be very far from each other;...
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