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ILTA Best Article Award for 2018

Wednesday, November 6, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Michele Doyle
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On behalf of the International Language Testing Association, the ILTA Executive Board is pleased to announce the result of the ILTA Best Article Award for 2018. The Award Committee, consisting of Atta Gebril (Chair), Bart Deygers, Lia Plakans, Mikyung Kim Wolf and Alan Urmston, were able to shortlist three excellent articles that all make a unique contribution to our field in their own way.

After very careful consideration, the Committee decided that the Award should go to the following paper:

De Jong, N. H. (2018). Fluency in second language testing: Insights from different disciplines. Language Assessment Quarterly, 15(3), 237-254.

Below is the citation prepared by the Award Committee.

Nivja De Jong’s 2018 article provides a critical review and synthesis of research on fluency, an essential feature in constructs of productive spoken language use. A well-deserved recipient of this year’s ILTA Best Article Award, the paper displays brilliant scholarship and moves the field forward in valuable ways, by clarifying one of our great grey areas.

In a deep dive into related fields such as second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics, de Jong identifies salient indicators of fluency that have been connected to comprehensibility and meaning-making in spoken language use. She provides thoughtful discussions on implications from each discipline for defining and assessing fluency in speaking assessments.

De Jong’s core message is an important one: What we consider to be disfluency is as much a feature of a speaker’s language use as is fluency. She points out how hesitations and pauses can indicate turn-taking, power shifts, and individual speech patterns that make meaning out of the space between spoken words. Thus, disfluency can signal proficiency in a language despite being often characterized as the opposite.

We believe that all language testing researchers, especially those involved in the assessment of speaking, should read this informative and thought-provoking article. There is no doubt that this critical review is of value to all language test developers, raters, and the language testing community at large.

The following articles were also shortlisted by the panel, and we congratulate the authors for their excellent work:

Staples, S., Biber, D., & Reppen, R. (2018). Using Corpus‐Based Register Analysis to Explore the Authenticity of High‐Stakes Language Exams: A Register Comparison of TOEFL iBT and Disciplinary Writing Tasks. The Modern Language Journal, 102(2), 310-332.

Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., Saito, K., & Isaacs, T. (2018). Linguistic dimensions of L2 accentedness and comprehensibility vary across speaking tasks. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40(2), 443-457.

The Executive Board would like to thank the panel for their hard work and diligence in reaching the final decision and extend our congratulations to the authors.

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