The 14th BUSEL Conference

14th International Bilkent University School of English Language Conference and Pre-Conference Event (PCE) Recent Developments in CEFR

Review by Mine Bağ


The theme of the 14th BUSEL conference was “Assessment” topics conglomerating around exams being aligned with CEFR descriptors, the role of feedback to function more effectively and as feed-forward, student self assessment and approaches to types and content areas of assessment.

The pre-conference event on CEFR shed light on the historical development of descriptors and the need to refine descriptors according to emerging needs regarding functions. The area being worked on currently is the descriptors for “mediation” and its subskills ranging from cognitive to relational topic areas.

The discussion in “Focus Group 5- Using CEFR descriptors for student self-assessment” leaned towards the importance of the students’ awareness of the descriptors / criteria and their being used again developmentally and especially to feed-forward. In that sense accessibility and comprehensibility of these descriptors as emphasized in our institution proves to be crucial.

Issues raised in sessions were reliability and rater performance in assessment and thus teacher assessment literacy, factors contributing to decision making processes in specially grading spoken performance, clarity of feedback and guidance towards improvement provided by both teachers and peers, positive effects of frequent assessment and adding the elements of GAMES into assessment.

In the end, Green summed up the varying focus points as: 

Assessment AS learning
Assessment FOR learning, and
Assessment OF learning, which in fact most educational systems have always carried afore it being the main perceived function of assessment.

The trend directs us towards higher integration of assessment throughout “learning” and students’ self evaluation of “needs and progress” as well as evaluation of end results.