Teacher preparing classwork / assessment activity
Tuesday 20 October 2020 -
18:00 to 19:00

Panel discussion: Rethinking Assessment in Plurilingual Education

We invite you to take part in our panel discussion around the role and  challenges in plurilingual education.  Our panel, Lucy Crehan, Barry O' Sullivan and Ana Llinares will provide short input sessions but panel content will be centred around the debate and questions posed by our audience. 

Our three ‘rethinking’ panels aim to start a conversation around these key areas involving all of the people with a stake in plurilingual education, and especially teachers. The panels are just the start of this rethinking process and we hope that you will join us to keep the conversation going.
Mark Levy 

Assessment plays a central role in bilingual education with students’ language progress and overall proficiency as well as subject knowledge matter needing to be assessed, usually through a combination of both teacher-created assessment and externally created assessment.

Though assessment of student learning is essential, it is not without challenges and controversy due to the integration of content and language. Questions have arisen concerning the methods and tools which are best suited to assessment in bilingual education as well as the validity and fairness of assessment tools used currently.

Other challenges include the roles/responsibilities of language and content teachers in the assessment of language and the training/resources needed by educators to effectively design assessments for bilingual education contexts and/or evaluate current assessments used.

Join us for an interactive discussion with speakers from Spain and the UK. 

Our speakers

  • Lucy Crehan, International Education Consultant: Assessment in top-performing education systems

Lucy will share insights from her journey around the world's education superpowers and compare and contrast their approaches to both summative and formative assessment. 

  • Professor Barry O'Sullivan, Head of Assessment Research and Development, British Council

Barry will explore Validity in Assessment: A Plurilingual Perspective: Validity is related to the use of test performance in forming inferences about individual test takers upon which decisions can be made that impact on them. If we are delivering tests in a monolingual or heterogeneous population the situation is relatively straightforward. However, this is not the case in many contexts. The traditional solution has been to develop candidate agnostic tests where test takers are seen as sharing a similar profile. I will argue that such a solution is seriously problematic in any testing context and even more so where the context is plurilingual. 

  • Dr Ana Llinares, Head English Department, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Ana will explore Assessing language or content? The challenge of integrated assessment in bilingual education programs.Assessment in Bilingual Education contexts is often seen as a problem by teachers. While there tends to be consensus on the role of language in the expression of content, to what extent and how language should be assessed by content teachers is still a pending issue. In this panel, I will discuss content and language integrated approaches to assessment which have been explored by the UAM-CLIL research group and in collaboration with CLIL content and language teachers. These approaches include integrated rubrics, comparative judgement and assessment for learning. 

  • Chair: Dr Victoria Clark, Global Assessments Solutions Manager, British Council.
  • Questions moderated by: Erica Balazs, Global Assessment Solutions Consultant.

Our expert panel debates are a series of expert, policy and practitionner discussions leading into our flagship anniversary conference in February 2021: Plurilingual Education: Empowering Transformational Change celebrating the British Council's 80 anniversary in Spain and 25 years of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training - British Council's Bilingual Programme. 

Lucy Crehan . International Education Consultant

Lucy Crehan

Lucy is an education explorer and consultant. She taught science and Psychology in London and completed a Masters in Education at Cambridge. She worked in schools in five 'top-performing' education systems. Her book ‘Cleverlands: the secrets behind the success of the world's education superpowers’ is one of The Economist’s ‘books of the year 2016’. Lucy also wrote a book on teacher career structures for IIEP UNESCO, and spent a year as part of a team advising foreign governments on education

Professor Barry O' Sullivan.  British Council.

Professor Barry O' Sullivan

Professor Barry O’Sullivan is the Head of Assessment Research and Development at the British Council. He has researched factors affecting spoken performance; assessing rater behaviour; assessing speaking and writing; specific purpose assessment; benchmarking and standards; and has worked on the development and refinement of the socio-cognitive model of test development and validation since 2000.

Dr Ana Llinares

Ana Llinares is Professor in the English department at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She teaches second language acquisition and content and language integrated learning (CLIL), both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She coordinates the UAM-CLIL research group and has published widely on content and language integrated learning, mainly applying systemic functional linguistic models. 
Photo © Beatriz Olalde

Dr Victoria Clark

Dr Victoria Clark is currently the Global Assessments Solutions Manager for the British Council. She leads on work with ministries of education, regional educational authorities, universities and other tertiary institutions to assess and respond to their assessment needs.  

Victoria is currently working on several projects including aligning assessment to national curricula and advising ministries of education on the role of assessment in bilingual education. 


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