Half a Century of Language Testing

The year 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Robert Lado’s seminal book Language Testing (The Construction and Use of Foreign Language Tests), the first textbook in the field of language assessment. Language Testing was written while Lado served as director of the English Language Institute at the University of Michigan.

Robert Lado's pioneering work set the stage for advancements in the fields of language teaching, foreign/second language acquisition, and language assessment. He brought attention to the second language learner and the second language learning process. Lado employed empirical methods to move beyond descriptions of predictions of learner behavior.

In honor of Lado's contribution to the field, LTRC 2011 will be devoted to significant developments in language testing in the last fifty years. Presenters are encouraged to focus on areas discussed in Language Testing such as:

  • Language testing and theories of language
  • Testing "language elements" and "integrated language skills"
  • The role of culture and values in language tests
  • Validity in language testing and standards for the critical evaluation of tests

The LTRC 2011 Organizing Committee is happy to announce the
ETS Samuel J. Messick Memorial Lecture Speaker for LTRC 2011

Dr. John Michael Linacre

Dr. Linacre is the research director of winsteps.com. He was formerly director of the MESA Psychometric Laboratory at the University of Chicago and has held many positions in academia. He has taught the principles and practice of Rasch measurement since the 1980s and authored over 200 journal articles and conference papers.

The significant influence that the work of Dr. Linacre has had on psychometrics and within the field of language testing in particular has been far-reaching. In 1989 Dr. Linacre extended Rasch models for dichotomous data, Likert scales, and partial credit data, to accommodate measurement needs of assessment situations not addressed by earlier Rasch models. To operationalize the many-facet Rasch model, Dr. Linacre also created the computer program FACETS, which is regularly used by language testers to investigate aspects of performance assessments that affect examinee scores, such as rater and task characteristics.

Conference Venue

LTRC 2011 will be held in the The Rackham Building, located in the heart of the University of Michigan’s Central Campus.

Completed in 1938, the underlying philosophy for the design of Rackham was to enhance all aspects of advanced intellectual endeavor without regard to disciplinary boundaries.

An information booklet, prepared by the architect's firm when the building opened, says:

The varieties of ways by which new knowledge arises are not limited to books, the classroom, and the laboratory. All those intellectual contacts between individuals imbued with the curiosity to find out why things are as they are offer such opportunities. The informal intercourse of minds is often as significant as the formal search...

The building thus is conceived as a center for gathering together those stirred by this fundamental curiosity to know...

In discussion rooms, lecture halls, attractive lounging and common rooms, and the reading room, the boundaries between subjects are less evident. The possibility of intellectual recreation is evident, and the specialist has opportunity to become a scholar.