The Aftermath of the Pandemic and (Language) Assessment

Are We There Yet?

Earlier this year, as schools around the world (of course, mine included) prepared to shift their activities and classes from face-to-face to (some 100%, others partially) virtual mode, I wrote a text¹ using the GPS metaphor, which should, then, guide the way through the not-much-traveled roads and lead us “home”. The overarching argument of this essay is that the driving forces that should calibrate/orient the GPS to take us up and down these roads are the much-known principles of assessment. Validity, reliability, practicality, usefulness, washback, authenticity, transparency and security are the cornerstones of assessment (Coombe, Folse & Humbley, 20072) and as such should guide us to a safe place (which we might call home).

Now, almost ten months into this devastating pandemic, still unsure about what the future holds, we assess the “places” we have been through, where we are and the road ahead of us. So, some questions come to mind: are we there yet? Did we take the right road/detour/shortcut? How does “home” look like now (if we are there)? What happened to “home”? If we are not quite “there”, what is this place? What lies ahead? Though I do not have the answers to these questions, I think the reflection is worth trying and so I invite you to join me in this journey.


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1 2 Coombe, C., Folse, K., & Hubley, N. (2007). A practical guide to assessing English-language learners. Michigan Teacher Training series. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. 3 Frankel, D. (2016). Collateral Beauty. Warner Bros.

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