The Impact of a SIG on Assessment Literacy
A major aim of professional associations is to provide opportunities for professionals to interact with others, share ideas and develop in their chosen profession. Professional associations exist to provide specialized networking and development opportunities to a specific profession, group of individuals or field of study. To promote and support specialized research and communication, smaller subgroups within an association are often chartered or developed. These subgroups are typically known as Special Interest Groups. According to Jacob et al. (2013), association members join SIGs because they want to go deeper into a specialized content area and they enjoy networking with others who ‘speak the same language.’ The TESOL Arabia Testing, Assessment and Evaluation SIG (TAE SIG) has focused their professional development activities on an important trend in the field, that of language assessment literacy (LAL). Language assessment literacy has been a critical topic in English language teaching since the late 1990s. Unfortunately, this is mainly due to the fact that so many English language teachers are not assessment literate. In other words, many English language teachers lack the knowledge and skills to write effective language tests, evaluate the effectiveness of their tests, and use their test results in meaningful ways. The purpose of this chapter is to critically examine the status of LAL in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and report on activities that the TAE SIG has implemented to increase LAL.
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