Assessing multilingual competence

Alexis A. Lopez, Sultan Turkan, Danielle Guzman-Orth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


We live in a globalized world in which immigration, transnational relationships, and technological developments continue to create spaces where speakers of many different languages and cultures interact. These forms of multilingual contact have compelled many areas of research to place multilingualism in the spotlight and investigate the dynamics of multilingual interactions, including how speakers negotiate language differences and how speakers develop proficiencies in multiple languages. Also in the spotlight is the need for valid measures of multilingual competence and multilingual practices. In this chapter, we focus on assessing the linguistic competence of multilingual speakers. We center our discussion primarily around the definition of the constructs in multilingual assessments and on different approaches to measure these constructs. We also highlight how the concept of multilingualism and multilingual competence has shifted; discuss current practices in multilingual assessment and works in progress; identify some challenges in the conceptualization, implementation, and interpretation of multilingual assessments; and call attention to areas in need of further research to develop valid multilingual assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Language and Education (Vol.7). Language Testing and Assessment
EditorsElena Shohamy, Iar Or
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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