May 6, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to many ongoing inequities in education and has raised various challenges for assessing student progress in remote, in-person, and hybrid learning environments. Ensuring learners’ access to online learning and assessments remains a high priority. The myriad challenges of connecting to remote assessments and health, safety, and other considerations for in-person assessments show the complexity of assessment. At the same time, it is critical to recognize learners’ growth in proficiency and support their progress vis-à-vis attainment of the Seal of Biliteracy: equity demands that learners have access to assessment regardless of the setting in which their learning takes place.
ACTFL supports flexible approaches to access to language assessments that are consistent with ACTFL’s core values and reflect the local context and principles of effective learning. ACTFL advocates for the inclusion of all students in language learning and assessment. Therefore, we believe learners must have wide access to external assessments to ensure the representation of all students in their language learning journeys.
When in-person assessment is not a reasonable approach, ACTFL advocates for the use of non-school based assessments. While such assessments may pose difficulties for security and reliability, recent experience has demonstrated that alternate test forms, coupled with remote computer and human proctoring, can yield comparable, valid results that allow for the inclusion of more students than solely in-person assessment, recognize health and safety considerations, and provide opportunities for programs to monitor progress and attainment of language proficiency goals, most notably the Seal of Biliteracy. Test security and test taker authentication remain challenging; such issues present differently for in-person testing than for remote testing. However, approaches should reflect the importance of increasing participation and inclusion, rather than denying access based on perceived challenges to security and examinee authentication. The pandemic has shown how flexible, creative, and inclusive our field is; we should approach student assessment with the same flexibility, creativity, and inclusivity for the sake of our learners.
Approved by the ACTFL Board of Directors on May 22, 2021