Language Assessment Literacy: Insights for Educating English Language Teachers through Assessment

Main Article Content

Frank Giraldo


At some point, language teachers need to be engaged in language assessment in their profession. Because language assessment is such a primary task for teachers, the field of language testing is encouraging research around the knowledge, skills, and principles that are foundational for sound assessment. In this paper, I provide a definition of Language Assessment Literacy (LAL), especially when it comes to teachers, by reviewing existing models. I then discuss ongoing issues in this area and end the paper by offering language teacher educators suggestions for fostering LAL among pre- and in-service teachers. In the article, I argue that, if more LAL initiatives take place, we are collectively raising the status and nature of language assessment and its impact on teachers’ professional development.

Article Details

How to Cite
GiraldoF. (2021). Language Assessment Literacy: Insights for Educating English Language Teachers through Assessment. HOW Journal, 28(3), 78-92.
Reflections and Revision of Themes
Author Biography

Frank Giraldo, Universidad de Caldas

He works at the Foreign Languages Department of Universidad de Caldas in Manizales, Colombia. His main research interest is the interface between language assessment literacy (LAL) and teachers’ professional development.


Arias, C. I., Maturana, L., & Restrepo, M. I. (2012). Evaluación de los aprendizajes en lenguas extranjeras: hacia prácticas justas y democráticas [Evaluation in foreign language learning: Towards fair and democratic practices]. Lenguaje, 40(1), 99–126.
Bachman, L., & Damböck, B. (2018). Language assessment for classroom teachers. Oxford University Press.
Baker, B. A., & Riches, C. (2017). The development of EFL examinations in Haiti: Collaboration and language assessment literacy development. Language Testing, 35(4), 557–581.
Bøhn, H., & Tsagari, D. (2021). Teacher educators’ conceptions of language assessment literacy in Norway. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 12(2), 222-233.
Boyd, E., & Donnarumma, D. (2018). Assessment literacy for teachers: A pilot study investigating the challenges, benefits and impact of assessment literacy training. In D. Xerri & P. VellaBriffa (Eds.), Teacher involvement in high-stakes language testing (pp. 105–126). Springer.
Brindley, G. (2001). Language assessment and professional development. In C. Elder, A. Brown, E. Grove, K. Hill, N. Iwashita, T. Lumley, C. MacNamara, & K. O’Loughlin (Eds.), Experimenting with uncertainty: Essays in honour of Alan Davies (pp. 126–136). Cambridge University Press.
Buendía, X. P., & Macías, D. F. (2019). The professional development of English language teachers in Colombia: A review of the literature. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 21(1), pp. 89-102.
Butler, Y. G., Peng, X., & Lee, J. (2021). Young learners’ voices: Towards a learner-centered approach to understanding language assessment literacy. Language Testing.
Davies, A. (2008). Textbook trends in teaching language testing. Language Testing, 25(3), 327-347.
Fulcher, G. (2012). Assessment literacy for the language classroom. Language Assessment Quarterly, 9(2), 113-132.
Giraldo, F. (2018). Language assessment literacy: Implications for language teachers. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 20(1), 179-195.
Giraldo, F. (2019a). Language assessment practices and beliefs: Implications for language assessment literacy. HOW, 26(1), 35-61.
Giraldo, F. (2019b). Designing language assessments in context: Theoretical, technical, and institutional considerations. HOW, 26(2), 123-143.
Giraldo, F. (2020a). A post-positivist and interpretive approach to researching teachers’ language assessment literacy. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 22(1), 189–200.
Giraldo, F. (2020b). Statistics for classroom language assessment: Using numbers meaningfully. HOW, 27(2), 135-155.
Giraldo, F. (2021). A reflection on initiatives for teachers’ professional development through language assessment literacy. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 23(1), 197–213.
Giraldo, F. (forthcoming). Language assessment literacy and teachers’ professional development: A review of the literature. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 23(2).
Giraldo, F. (in press). Language assessment literacy and the professional development of pre-service foreign language teachers. Universidad de Caldas.
Giraldo, F., & Murcia, D. (2018). Language assessment literacy for pre-service teachers: Course expectations from different stakeholders. GiST Education and Research Learning Journal, (16), 56–77.
Giraldo, F., & Murcia, D. (2019). Language assessment literacy and the professional development of pre-service language teachers. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 21(2).
Green, S., Johnson, R., Kim, D., & Pope, N. (2007). Ethics in classroom assessment practices: Issues and attitudes. Teaching and Teacher Education 2(7), 999–1011.
Herrera, L., & Macías, D. (2015). A call for language assessment literacy in the education and development of teachers of English as a foreign language. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 17(2), 302-312.
Hill, K. (2017). Understanding classroom-based assessment practices: A precondition for teacher assessment literacy. Papers in Language Testing and Assessment, 6(1), 1-17.
Inbar-Lourie, O. (2008). Constructing a language assessment knowledge base: A focus on language assessment courses. Language Testing, 25(3), 385-402.
Inbar-Lourie, O. (2012). Language assessment literacy. In C. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics (pp. 1-9). John Wiley & Sons.
Inbar-Lourie, O. (2013a). Guest editorial to the special issue on language assessment literacy. Language Testing, 30(3), 301-307.
Inbar-Lourie, O. (2013b, November). Language assessment literacy: What are the ingredients? Paper presented at the 4th CBLA SIG Symposium Programme, University of Cyprus.
Jaramillo-Delgado, J., & Gil-Bedoya, A. M. (2019). Pre-service English language teachers’ use of reflective journals in an assessment and testing course. Funlam Journal of Students’ Research, (4), 210–218.
Kremmel, B., & Harding, L. (2019). Towards a comprehensive, empirical model of language assessment literacy across stakeholder groups: Developing the language assessment literacy survey. Language Assessment Quarterly, 17(1), 100-120.
Lam, R. (2015). Language assessment training in Hong Kong: Implications for language assessment literacy. Language Testing, 32(2), 169-197.
Lan, C., & Fan, S. (2019). Developing classroom-based language assessment literacy for in-service EFL teachers: The gaps. Studies in Educational Evaluation (61), 112-122.
López, A., & Bernal, R. (2009). Language testing in Colombia: A call for more teacher education and teacher training in language assessment. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 11(2), 55-70.
Malone, M. (2017). Training in language assessment. In E. Shohamy, I. G. Or, & S. May (Eds.), Language testing and assessment: Encyclopedia of language and education (3rd ed., pp. 225–240). Springer.
Moraes, I. T., & Furtoso, V. A. B. (2020, October 29-31). Developing language assessment literacy in pre-service teachers: Analysis of two courses carried out in Brazil. [Paper presentation]. East Coast Organization of Language Testers. Online.
Ng, W. (2012). Can we teach digital natives digital literacy? Computers & Education, 59, 1065–1078.
Pill, J., & Harding, L. (2013). Defining the language assessment literacy gap: Evidence from a parliamentary inquiry. Language Testing, 30(3), 381–402.
Rasooli, A., Zandi, H., & DeLuca, C. (2019). Conceptualising fairness in classroom assessment: Exploring the value of organizational justice theory. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 26(5), 584-611.
Rauf, M., & McCallum, L. (2020) Language assessment literacy: Task analysis in Saudi universities. In L. McCallum & C. Coombe (Eds.), The Assessment of L2 Written English across the MENA Region. Palgrave Macmillan.
Restrepo-Bolívar, E. M. (2020). Monitoring preservice teachers’ language assessment literacy development through journal writing. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, 17(1), 38–52.
Scarino, A. (2013). Language assessment literacy as self-awareness: Understanding the role of interpretation in assessment and in teacher learning. Language Testing, 30(3), 309-327.
Shohamy, E. (2001). The power of tests: A critical perspective on the uses of language tests. Pearson Education.
Stabler-Havener, M. L. (2018). Defining, conceptualizing, problematizing, and assessing language teacher assessment literacy. Working Papers in Applied Linguistics & TESOL, 18(1), 1–22.
Sultana, N. (2019). Language assessment literacy: An uncharted area for the English language teachers in Bangladesh. Language Testing in Asia, 9(1), 2-14.
Taylor, L. (2013). Communicating the theory, practice and principles of language testing to test stakeholders: Some reflections. Language Testing, 30(3), 403-412.
Vogt, K., & Tsagari, D. (2014). Assessment literacy of foreign language teachers: Findings of a European study. Language Assessment Quarterly, 11(4), 374-402.
Yan, X., Zhang, C., & Fan, J. (2018). “Assessment knowledge is important, but …”: How contextual and experiential factors mediate assessment practice and training needs of language teachers. System, 74, 158-168.